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Ramón Ábila joins D.C. United, Atlanta United names Gonzalo Pineda as head coach, and more: Freedom Kicks for 8/13/2021

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Comings and goings on Buzzard Point, new coaches, and a CCL/MLS rerun

San Jose Earthquakes v Minnesota United FC Photo by Jeremy Olson/ISI Photos/Getty Images

We have a D.C. United addition, as well as a departure, the Washington Spirit play tonight after a hugely challenging week off the field, and I have nostalgia waiting for you at the end of this post. Let’s go!

D.C. United adds striker Ramón Ábila, sends Erik Sorga on loan to VVV Venlo | Black and Red United
The big United news is that, after about a week of rumors, they acquired Ramón Ábila on waivers, adding depth up top (but also losing depth up top, since to put Ábila on the roster, they had to loan Erik Sorga to VVV Venlo). On one hand, the price tag is low: no cost on the acquisition of a player the Loons gave a $1.1 million contract, who has scored big goals at clubs like Boca Juniors and Cruzeiro. In the minutes he’s played, he’s been a moderate threat in terms of stats.

On the other hand, Minnesota came to prefer non-strikers over Ábila to lead their line, and gave him just 263 minutes. The Loons have let it be known that there were fitness concerns, which could be them covering for a botched acquisition (not their first!), or it could just be that he wasn’t fit enough for them. And if he’s not fit enough for them, he’s going to be even further away here. We’ll see how it goes. Obviously we want the seven-figure, Copa Sudamericana leading scorer striker to be who we get.

Moving on, here’s an interview with his new boss, Hernán Losada:

Extra Time did not do a full show on Ola Kamara’s scoring like I demanded on Twitter, but they did do a 21+ minute interview with Losada. I’ll take it.

Ranking all 27 MLS teams by tier for 2021 – revisited | MLSsoccer.com
I’m not entirely sure Matt Doyle has United’s tier right, based on some of the teams that are above them (specifically Minnesota, the Galaxy, and Orlando),

Deflection, PK stake Club América to 2-0 lead over the Union after first leg of CCL semifinal | Brotherly Game
The Philadelphia Union played out a familiar MLS tale in their CCL semifinal, missing two huge chances, not getting a penalty call, and being in touching distance of a viable 1-0 road loss at the Azteca, only to give away a late penalty and fall to a much more daunting 2-0 first leg deficit.

Official: Gonzalo Pineda named Atlanta United manager | Dirty South Soccer
To some extent, I guess we’ll get to see how things would have gone if United had come to terms with Gonzalo Pineda a few months ago.

2021 MLS All-Star Skills Challenge rosters headlined by Chicharito, Vela and Gignac | MLSsoccer.com
This was the part of the 2019 All-Star Game that I actually enjoyed, so this should be fun once again.

Between Two Petes | The Ringer
I was a weird, precocious kid desperate for left-of-center entertainment and access to the pop culture of adults. So naturally I always loved The Adventures of Pete & Pete, an early 90s Nickelodeon show about two brothers both named Pete and their absurdist adventures in Wellsville that featured guest spots from, say, Iggy Pop as a loving dad.

So that’s half of the nostalgia. Here’s the other, more recent half:

Have a good one!