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D.C. United focused on fitness, Washington Spirit prepare for NC Courage, and more: Freedom Kicks for 4/9/2021

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New construction at Audi Field? Could be!

Jordan Small / Courtesy of Washington Spirit

Good morning! I’m having a weird one as I write this, as the vaccine aftereffects are manifesting a little oddly. I almost fell asleep very early by my standards, and then when I went to brush my teeth, I managed to reinvigorate myself to some extent, which is why I’m writing this last night rather than early this morning. Nothing severe, just a little strange, and I’m glad to have my second shot in my arm.

Onto the soccer!

DC United step onto the scales as new era unfolds | USSoccerPlayers.com
Charles Boehm gets us started with a look at some of what Hernán Losada talked about in his media availability, which is to say D.C. United’s collective fitness levels. There’s a note in here about United having some fancy equipment, and the focus on player weight and body fat percentages is a big demand (that Marcelo Bielsa fans will not be surprised to hear about).

Meanwhile, whenever we actually to the point where we can safely have a crowded stadium, we might see some fascinating new developments over by Gate A.

Moving along, the tomorrow in question below is in reference to today, which is now:

We got way into the weeds on DCU’s outlook this year, so definitely give the show a listen.

And now, an appropriate transition between topics!

I’d love to see more mutual support between United and the Washington Spirit, so this photo of Moses Nyeman in a Spirit shirt? I’m on board.

Washington Spirit Sign Chinyelu Asher, Camryn Biegalski and Cali Farquharson | WashingtonSpirit.com
With five players away on international duty ahead of their Challenge Cup opener, the Spirit signed three national team replacement players. They’re familiar names, too: Farquharson played for the Spirit for four years from 2016-2019. Asher, who is a Jamaican international, has trained with the club multiple times and hails from Silver Spring and played for the Spirit Reserves as well. Biegalski is new to the club, but played against the Spirit for the Chicago Red Stars last year.

Speaking of those internationals, Saori Takarada played 90 minutes in a 7-0 win over Paraguay (apparently at center back), while Mariana Speckmaier made her senior national team debut for Venezuela.

There’s even more Spirit info, as yesterday was the first pre-game media availability of 2021:

That’s where the short thread begins, but this also touches on what NC Courage coach Paul Riley thinks of the Spirit as well.

Crew dominate Real Esteli 4-0 in Champions League opener | Massive Report
The Columbus Crew trounced Real Esteli in Nicaragua in CCL play yesterday. I know there’s not much of a perception of Nicaraguan clubs being able to compete with MLS, but Esteli over the years has a ton of one-goal losses against MLS and Liga MX teams. 4-0 at their place is a seriously impressive result.

Olympique Lyonnais, Barcelona to join NWSL teams in summer tournament | Washington Post
I don’t get excited about these summer friendly tournaments — they’re not incentivized with either money or meaning in a way that elevates them above friendlies — but I’m glad to see some attempt to get the world’s top clubs playing each other. Until FIFA gets on the ball and starts a women’s Club World Cup (which, FIFA...we could do that this year, guys, let’s get moving!), it’s better than nothing.

Alright, normally I go on longer, but yesterday I drove to Baltimore, got vaccinated, drove back and did three different media conference calls on multiple platforms, and chipped away at a DCU piece that hopefully I can get published today. This sounds like whining, but what I mean is that I didn’t see very much else from the world of soccer today. Let me know in the comments what I missed!