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U.S. men start Olympic qualifying off with a win, D.C. United preseason news, and more: Freedom Kicks for 3/19/2021

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We’re just trying to have some fun

MLS: D.C. United at New York City FC Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning! I was not around a computer all that much yesterday, but we still have some D.C. United news, a welcome piece of Washington Spirit news, and the end of the Lucho Acosta-to-Cincinnati saga.

But let’s start with the vital stuff first:

Look, this may be more goofy and fun, but goofy and fun are both very important. I especially appreciate that Russell Canouse made a genuine effort to mimic Landon Donovan’s expression.

With a new coach at D.C. United, Julian Gressel hopes to rediscover his old ways | Washington Post
Julian Gressel is hoping some offseason study and the change in system mean a lot more on the stat sheet this year.

Down in North Carolina, the content team did it again with this video from training:

Dynamic Duo? Brenner and Acosta partnership has potential for FC Cincinnati | Cincinnati Soccer Talk
Lucho Acosta has signed with FC Cincinnati, which means a) United got a huge amount of GAM, and b) we’re gonna have to watch him play in blue and orange.

Now, is Cincy going to be good? Unless they make several defensive moves, no, not even close. But I think they’re dangerous for DCU, since Lucho is probably going to be at his best in those games.

About a full month after they thought she’d be getting into town, the Spirit have Julia Roddar in the states. She’ll get a chance to settle in up here for a few days before joining training for the first time once the team gets back from Florida. They play Orlando tomorrow in their second-to-last preseason game.

In Spirit players who are still a little ways away from actually joining the club news, Tara McKeown scored twice for USC last night in what turned out to be a 2-2 draw with UCLA. The second goal was some finish:

Going back to Lucho’s new club for a second, here’s where they’ll be playing:

Seems nice. It’s no RFK, but it’s fine I suppose.

USA U-23 vs. Costa Rica, 2020 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship: United States opens tournament with victory | Stars and Stripes FC
It wasn’t even close to pretty, but the US men’s Olympic team started qualifying off with a crucial win over Costa Rica. One issue on the day: David Ochoa had to make a ton of saves, which he might not have had to make if they had taken Donovan Pines, just saying!

Seriously though, I saw the Fire enough times last year to know that Pines is better than Mauricio Pineda, who started this game. It’s good for United that he’s in camp, but from a purely competitive standpoint, his omission is one of several issues with this Olympic qualifying roster.

My American Dream | Players’ Tribune
Catarina Macario on all the work that went into how she ended up coming from Brazil to make it to where she is today.

NISA announces spring season schedule | NISAsoccer.com
This isn’t the start of the season for the Maryland Bobcats (that comes in the NISA Legend Cup, which starts in a little less than a month), but it is the heavier share of their games in the first half of 2021. They’ll play eight games in May and June, with all four home games scheduled for the Maryland Soccerplex.

Let’s wrap up with some excellent content:

Anyone else ever end up with a family photo where your head is floating, disembodied, above other people? Or is that just me in some family photos from sometime in 1998, and now Crystal Dunn?

And with that, we’re done. Have a good weekend!