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USMNT beats Jamaica, D.C. United signs Nigel Robertha, and more: Freedom Kicks for 3/26/2021

There’s a ton of news today, including the Spirit getting gifts

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Jordan Small / Courtesy of Washington Spirit

Let’s see, what do we have today...D.C. United signed a new forward, it’s also a preseason gameday, the Washington Spirit received a statue and did at least one podcast...oh, the USMNT played too? Alright, I think we have enough raw material for Freedom Kicks without me telling a story about a terrible drinking game or some other dumb thing I did. To the links!

D.C. United signs forward Nigel Robertha from Levski Sofia | Black and Red United
It was on, it was off, and then Robertha scored seven times in five games, so it was back on again, and now it’s done. How are we feeling about this one, folks?

Next up, fan service that I can get behind:

It’s early days, obviously, and we haven’t even watched his version of United play yet, but I think Hernán Losada might share my “send the GK up on stoppage time corners while losing in league matches” aggression.

I haven’t had a chance to listen to the latest Zee Soccer Podcast (it is literally next in the queue, so by the time you read this I probably will have mowed through it), but I’m into the topics they mentioned here.

Armchair Analyst: Each MLS team’s breakout player candidate — and when to watch them |
I love Matt Doyle’s choice here, and by my own record-keeping and based on all competitive games, he’s right about the positional issue. Canouse has 27 games as some kind of central holding midfielder, but he has a combined 29 games played as a defender (14) or injured/suspended (15). There are 3 sub appearances in there that could shift things, but we’re going based on starting lineups here.

Ugh, this might be a new spreadsheet now.

So yeah, play Canouse as a DM, let’s do this thing.

Today’s game between the Uniteds D.C. and Loudoun seems like it’ll be really cool, but there won’t be a stream. Whether it’s the team making a choice or if it’s MLS requiring an unrealistic broadcast standard for preseason games (this has happened in past Florida preseason trips), it sucks! We’re in an MLS discussion void outside of nerd sites like ours, and mysterious preseason games do not help.

Anyway! On to something that in my opinion does not suck, I put out the latest episode of Plex Weather, this time with Aubrey Bledsoe:

This was pretty fun, as we got into how she’s approaching this season with a new tactical plan and with a change in terms of coaching, but also baking — I literally bought cinnamon rolls tonight because of this podcast — and the issues with the inequality in the NCAA basketball tournament.

Staying with the Spirit, the Japanese Embassy and Smithsonian held a ceremony yesterday involving Kumi Yokoyama and Saori Takarada:

This cherry blossom statue will be at Segra Field this season, as the embassy gave it to the club as a gift. I love it, and this is a reminder to the local clubs to do cherry blossom kits.

FIFA, D.C. organizers meet virtually to discuss area’s 2026 World Cup bid and FedEx Field | Washington Post
I would love if the men’s World Cup comes to our part of the world...but it should be at RFK. I cannot be talked down from this position, RFK forever!

TFC veteran Nick DeLeon throws down hammer at COVID-19 | Toronto Sun
I did not enjoy this interview!

Sounders unveil ‘The Jimi Hendrix Kit’ | Sounder at Heart
I like the idea of a Jimi Hendrix kit a lot. I’m not sure I like purple with orange trim and gold accents. But the Sounders generally go for gaudy rather than plain, and I think most MLS teams would do better with that approach, so I can’t complain too much the times it goes awry (and only sort of awry, this isn’t the Crew’s horrific 2016 away).

‘They’re like tech stocks’: Why MLS team valuations have gotten so high | The Athletic
I personally feel that people are making huge bets on the 2026 men’s World Cup being a catalyst that I just do not think is realistic, but my money advice for everyone is: Don’t take my money advice!

Sergiño Dest, Brenden Aaronson, Sebastian Lletget shine bright in 4-1 USMNT victory | Stars and Stripes FC
Dest’s first goal was a banger, and after an otherwise kind of blah first half, the USMNT put it together to thump Jamaica.

Abby Erceg and Denise O’Sullivan re-sign with Courage |
After losing three world-class players up their spine (Crystal Dunn is in Portland now, while Sam Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper are playing for one of the two NWSL-caliber teams in England, a.k.a. Man City), the Courage has moved to lock down some crucial central players for the next few years.

The hidden treasures of the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame archives | The Athletic
The things Pablo Maurer and Matt Pentz found in boxes in this piece are astounding. A murder mystery by Pele? A Shrimp King? Yes, and yes.

Jessica Walter Dies: Emmy-Winning ‘Arrested Development’, ‘Archer’ Actress Was 80 | Deadline
Unfortunately we have to end on some bad news, as Jessica Walter passed away on Wednesday. Few people in Hollywood could match her record of turning every line reading into something special.

This is a very long Freedom Kicks, so I’m done. Be well friends!