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Steven Birnbaum is back for D.C. United, Donovan Pines gets first cap in USMNT win, and more: Freedom Kicks for 7/16/2021

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It was a big Thursday for big dudes

Xavi Dussaq / Courtesy of D.C. United

D.C. United center backs are all over the news, there are a few audio/visual Washington Spirit items for you, we’ve got a Loudoun United feature, and the USMNT won at the Gold Cup last night. Let’s get right into it:

We start with your United quote thread from yesterday’s media availability:

Click through for the whole thing. Steven Birnbaum himself said he’s “ready to rock,” which was great to hear. It’s not exactly clear where Hernán Losada sees Birnbaum lining up long-term, especially with the Andy Najar - Brendan Hines-Ike - Donovan Pines trio showing so well of late. However, with two-thirds of that group unavailable at the moment, we’re probably going to find out really soon.

Speaking of Pines, huge shout out to him for getting his first USMNT cap last night:

Hopefully the first of many for Pines, who is now the fifth United homegrown to get at least one cap for his national team (joining Najar, Bill Hamid, Michael Seaton, and Antonio Bustamante).

Dealing with condensation | Filibuster
The latest Filibuster is out, and it’s previewing Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Union with Adam Booth from the Sons of Ben podcast. I am biased but I thought it was good.

Sticking with podcasts about local soccer concerns:

The latest Plex Weather features Paige Nielsen. We talked about her injury recovery, how the Spirit are playing right now, and more. Again, quite biased, but I thought it was good.

The Spirit also put out their latest Mic’d Up video, featuring rookie Anna Heilferty:

The joke got the laugh, that’s the important thing.

Sammy Sergi on coming “full circle” with Loudoun United | Black and Red United
Hope you have time for Ryan Keefer’s piece on Loudoun striker Sammy Sergi, a local who grew up playing right down the road from Segra Field and who has overcome some tough obstacles to make it as a professional.

This is what you endure watching England as a woman: Misogyny, sexism and the constant fear of being touched without consent | The Athletic
A nightmarish depiction of what is all too common for women on game days, big or small. If you’re a male fan, this is the kind of thing you have to be active in shutting down, active in not participating in, and active in changing the culture that makes women unsafe at games.

2021 Gold Cup recap: USA 6- 1 Martinique - the Americans crush a Concacaf minnow | Stars and Stripes FC
We talked about the big Gold Cup news today already, but here’s the further details of the game in which Pines got his first cap.

Atlanta United’s Martinez training apart from the team | Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta United, what are you doing!

Laura Harvey returns as head coach of OL Reign | Sounder at Heart
Once the Olympics are over (she’s on the USWNT coaching staff), Laura Harvey will go back to where she really made her name in American soccer circles, as she’ll take over as the head coach at OL Reign. Interim boss Sam Laity will carry on until then before becoming one of Harvey’s assistants.

Let’s finish up with a check-in on Serie A:

Soccer is always, every day, weird.