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Andy Najar reportedly signs with D.C. United, Washington Spirit win, and more: Freedom Kicks for 4/16/2021

DCU brought Andy home, Sanchito saved the day, and that’s not even all of the good news we have for you today

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Houston Dynamo v D.C. United Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Some days these posts can be a little tough, especially over the past year. D.C. United struggled, the world went to hell in a lot of ways, you know the drill. Today though? Today has so many good news items, it’s a breeze. Andy Najar is apparently back in town, the Washington Spirit won, and it’s also a United gameday literally tomorrow.

Let’s get to the fun stuff:

Andy Najar signs with D.C. United, returning to his MLS roots | Washington Post
Can I get a “hell yeah” in the chat?

Najar’s probably not gonna be fit in the next few weeks, as the team is trying to make sure they build him up in a way that puts his injury problems behind him, but what’s not to like here? One of our own is back in Black-and-Red after years away, and if he’s healthy, he’s still just 28 years old, and at the peak of his powers he’s got the ability to be an outstanding option at several positions.

New D.C. United GM Lucy Rushton: ‘It really does feel like there’s an appetite for change’ | The Athletic
We’re all still excited about United adding Lucy Rushton as their new GM in a front office shake-up, and this piece gets into what she’s going to be doing, and what she’s found while deciding to take the job.

More good news? More good news!

I’m loving all the post-vaccination photos I’m seeing on the timeline, because I know that since I got my shot, I’ve been able to slowly get back to doing some modified version of things I used to do without a second thought. Glad Felipe is now headed in the same direction, and I hope y’all are getting your shots soon (if you haven’t already).

Longtime United president Kevin Payne is, per Steven Goff retiring after years leading US Club Soccer. Bill Hamid was quick to acknowledge the years Payne put in with United:

Ashley Sanchez stoppage time strike hands Washington Spirit 1-0 win over Racing Louisville | Black and Red United
The Spirit overcame a rocky start, some powerful winds, and an energetic Louisville team to notch a first win of the year thanks to Ashley Sanchez’s goal three minutes into stoppage time.

Also, after being a bit goal-shy last year, the Spirit have taken 36 shots in two games in 2021. They’re not the finished product yet, but that’s progress.

Five things about the Washington Spirit’s last-gasp win over Racing Louisville | Black and Red United
This is gonna publish at 8am, so if you got to this piece right away, the link isn’t going to work. But for everyone that gets in once it’s out, me and André Carlisle teamed up to get through some interesting points from last night’s game.

I put together a quick thread of post-game quotes last night, but here’s the one that ties this piece together:

By “notes” I mean text messages. I don’t really know where notes came from. I blame the wind.

MBFC Joins Anti-Racist Soccer Club Coalition |
Staying local, the Maryland Bobcats are the first pro club join the coalition being formed by Anti-Racist Soccer Club, a new movement to get clubs to commit to a ten-point plan to address the systemic racism that is unfortunately still baked into American soccer. It’s a great move from the Bobcats, and hopefully they’re not the only local pro club to get on board.

MLS Season Preview | SB Nation
Every MLS team with an SBN site has a preview linked to here. I wrote ours, but there’s a ton of good reading material from all over the network.

ISC statement on recent incidents regarding racial discrimination around NWSL |
The Independent Supporters Council has spoken out after two different NWSL clubs really let Black players and fans down (in different ways) right as the season has gotten going. These were avoidable mistakes, and the league can’t let them slide.

Alright, yesterday my day was eaten up by covering the United presser and the Spirit game, so I probably missed some soccer news. Get it going in the comments, and have a good Friday!