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D.C. United and Washington Spirit news, CONCACAF unveils changes to women’s qualifying, and more: Freedom Kicks for 8/20/2021

We’re about to have a very busy weekend

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Kelley Piper / Black and Red United

Good morning! It’s Friday, we’ve got all of our teams playing at home in the next three days, and that means I’m gonna be busy. Let’s get to it:

Talking Soccer With Zach Thorton | Baltimore Sports and Life
We start with an interview with D.C. United‘s goalkeeper coach Zach Thornton, who talked about his playing years and the transition to being part of a new coaching staff after this past winter’s changes.

Washington Spirit Announce IntelliBridge as Front of Jersey Sponsor for Remainder of 2021 |
I’ve gotten plenty of questions about the front-of-jersey sponsorship situation with the Washington Spirit, and all I knew was that the team was probably willing to risk going sponsorless rather than lowering the price tag, so it’s likely that this brought in a good deal of money.

On the other hand, plenty of Spirit fans are not exactly thrilled about a homeland security/law enforcement/defense contractor on the kit.

In less ambiguous news, Spirit captain Andi Sullivan is working with Set The Expectation, a group dedicated to preventing sexual assault and domestic violence:

Mansueto, Heitz talk about what the purchase of FC Lugano means for the Chicago Fire | Hot Time in Old Town
Are the Fire (still bad despite supposedly big changes) equipped to run a second team in another, very different league? This will be interesting, as it’s the first time this sort of close partnership has started with the MLS side rather than some multinational conglomerate setting up an American outpost, or whatever you’d call Joey Saputo’s methods with Bologna and the Foot Boys in Montreal.

MLS summer spending analyzed: In a depressed global market, the league bought more and younger than usual | The Athletic
Relative to the rest of the world’s belt-tightening after a year of lost revenue, MLS is actually spending money.

Concacaf to launch revamped W Championship and new W Gold Cup |
CONCACAF has changed things up for its women’s tournaments. As with all things CONCACAF, it is very complicated (check the link for the myriad infographics), but the point is that there are more games for lower-level teams, which is good. Not exactly pleased that one tournament in 2022 serves as qualifying for the 2023 World Cup as well as the Paris Olympics, but that’s the deal.

And those are all the links I have, so I’m gonna stop. See you on Buzzard Point this weekend!