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D.C. United, Washington Spirit news and notes, plus more: Freedom Kicks for 2/23/2021

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Get caught up on local soccer, and say au revoir to Daft Punk

Lo Zoo di 105 concert Photo by Marco Piraccini/Archivio Marco Piraccini/Mondadori via Getty Images

Good morning! Apologies for missing out on Friday, but I’m back and I have some things to talk about. We don’t have a ton of local soccer news to get into, but that doesn’t mean that we have no D.C. United, Washington Spirit, or Loudoun United items to start off with.

But first, nostalgia:

The “Firestarter” musical sting, the kits, the players, RFK, United getting what appeared to be a full minute on a local TV news broadcast...the good ol’ days!

That said, I did see a commercial for Danita Johnson on ABC 7 on Thursday morning, so set your DVR or actually watch live.

MLS free agent Match Game: Finding the best landing spots for the most eligible unattached veterans | MLSsoccer.com
Kei Kamara to United? This is just a speculation piece, so don’t get it twisted, but I think the man’s gotta play for every team he possibly can before he calls it a career, and he’s never been a member of the Black-and-Red. United will have Edison Flores, Ola Kamara, Yordy Reyna, Erik Sorga, Griffin Yow, Adrien Perez, probably Kimarni Smith, and possibly Nigel Robertha vying for time if we’re talking about a two- or three-man front line, but none of them have Kamara’s experience or aerial ability.

I’m not advocating for Kei as a starter on this team, but he’d be a completely different sort of forward from what we’ve got, and you fine folks know how I feel about having a range of options up top. Just one worth thinking about this not-all-that-wintry morning.

From A-listers to political titans, the NWSL’s biggest new players are in the boardroom | Washington Post
We have a few quotes from some of the many new Washington Spirit owners, and how investment league-wide is going up.

Speaking of, here’s a holdover news item that I was going to mention Friday:

You know how in MLS we see teams make hires from the league office, and they see instant success? Think instances like Ali Curtis or Tim Bezbatchenko. Well, here’s the Spirit doing something similar on the business side, hiring Lindsay Barenz (a major player in the league’s thus-far successful partnership with Twitch) to head up business operations. I don’t know sports business, but this seems like a good move.

Staying with a little Spirit news, I should hopefully have another episode of Plex Weather out by the time I’m doing Freedom Kicks again. In the meantime, first round pick Tara McKeown is the Pac 12 player of the week:

The most important offseason in New York Red Bulls history...but probably not | Once a Metro
A real deep dive into the thought process behind what is a pretty thorough (and pretty far from complete) rebuild of the Red Bulls.

I only listened to this yesterday, but I knew it was going to be good, and it was in fact good:

André won’t want me to say it, but he’s killing it elsewhere just like he is here at B&RU. I also know he’s got another story here coming up pretty soon.

Familiar face returns to OL Reign as new team psychologist | Sounder at Heart
I love this story: former Seattle Reign player Mariah Bullock is now current OL Reign team psychologist Dr. Mariah Bullock. While most teams won’t end up having a doctor in the exact field among their ex-player list, looking after mental health is a path more teams in NWSL and really all of sports need to follow.

A24 To Produce And Finance Ari Aster’s Next Pic ‘Disappointment Blvd.’ Starring Joaquin Phoenix | Deadline
Ari Aster? A24? Sold, I don’t even care if this is a movie about me and my own specific personal failings.

Just, if it is, cut me in on the deal, OK?

Daft Punk Break Up | Pitchfork
I thought on on one hand that this wasn’t a major surprise. Random Access Memories came out nearly eight years ago, and their tradition of dropping a surprise live album in years ending with a 7 didn’t happen in 2017. The signs were there that they were done.

But on the other hand, of course I’m a mess. Daft Punk hit my ears for the first time during a crucial period where I was sorting out whether I was going to tailor my tastes to fit in or just like whatever weird thing I was into, and they’re right near the top of the list when it comes to influences that pushed me to stay true to my actual interests. They were early help for both Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry’s creative filmmaking, they are basically the template for so many other excellent electronic acts to follow. I told myself they were probably going to hang it up, but I also thought maybe they had one more surprise on the way.

I could go on, but I see the word count over 800, so I’ll shut up and play the hits: