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USMNT qualifying roster, Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid, and more: Freedom Kicks for 8/27/2021

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D.C. United pre-game quotes & a look at NWSL’s troubles too

Martinique v United States: Group B - 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Good morning! We’re back to a double dip on Buzzard Point this weekend, with D.C. United playing the Philadelphia Union tomorrow, and the Washington Spirit hosting the North Carolina Courage on Sunday. Both games are big, against teams that are ahead of our sides in the standings. Here’s hoping we go two-for-two this time.

First up, some quotes from United’s pre-game media availability yesterday as compiled by the folks at Tried and True:

If you’ve got some time tomorrow, sign up here to help with the United Night Out tifo planned for the game:

The Spirit’s Jordan DiBiasi is one of the NWSL players to sign this letter calling for immediate humanitarian protections to be granted to Afghanistan’s women’s soccer players:

Gregg Berhalter names 26 players to USMNT World Cup qualifying roster | Stars and Stripes FC
Gregg Berhalter named 26 players to the USMNT squad for this upcoming international window, which will include a frankly silly three games.

For United, recent or current injuries have hampered all four of the players that might have a claim on any of these spots. Among Losada’s comments to media yesterday were the fact that Paul Arriola’s hamstring injury is not long-term, but was just enough to push him out for this upcoming game against Philly as well as the international break. Donovan Pines (foot) is going to use the break to build his fitness up, while Bill Hamid is still out. Russell Canouse is thankfully back, but it’s hard to make a case for the USMNT after just barely returning from an ankle injury.

United’s call-ups for this window are Edison Flores (Peru), Junior Moreno (Venezuela), and Andy Najar (Honduras). Good news here: the Black-and-Red have no games in the window, so the trio will depart after this game against Philly, and be back before the September 11th game against the Red Bulls.

Several incidents point to same question: Is the NWSL protecting its players enough? | Goal.com
Good piece from Seth Vertelney detailing a recurring theme in the cascading off-the-field problems in NWSL, which is that the league and its teams have let their players down too often in a year that’s supposed to be one where it’s taking a step forward.

BREAKING: PSG Expected to ACCEPT Real Madrid’s new bid of €180 million for Kylian Mbappe—report | Managing Madrid
The international transfer market, summed up: A team that cited financial reasons for trying to dismantle the existing structure of the game in Europe is trying to spend €180 million to acquire a player who could direct most of that transfer fee to himself if he just waits one year, when he’ll be a free agent, from a team with virtually infinite money due to their ownership by the sports investment arm of Qatar (the folks that brought you World Cup stadiums built by what are effectively enslaved workers)

So anyway I don’t want to spend more mental energy on Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, or Kylian Mbappé. I will return to having some energy for Mbappé at a later date.

Has Ronaldo Agreed Terms With Manchester City? | Bitter and Blue
Reports: It’s over between Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo | Black & White & Read All Over
On a very similar note, terrible man Cristiano Ronaldo is I guess moving from the Juventus Brand to the Manchester City Brand. Did you know Twitter caps the number of terms you can mute? I found this out last year, and cleaned out a bunch of old mutes, but I bet I’m gonna hit that cap again soon!

Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy charged with four counts of rape | The Guardian
Manchester City suspended Benjamin Mendy after police arrested the defender on charges of rape and sexual misconduct.

Maryland men’s soccer edges out No. 18 Charlotte, 1-0 | Testudo Times
Maryland’s men’s team, with fans at Ludwig Field for the first time in nearly two years, took down Charlotte, which is something I endorse!

The Terps men’s and women’s teams are a combined 4-0-0, which I also endorse! Never gonna lose again!

Pacific FC upset Whitecaps to advance to Canadian Championship quarter-finals | CBC.ca
The Vancouver Whitecaps, already placed in the quarterfinal stage rather than the semifinals of the Voyageurs Cup (with multiple Canadian Premier League teams ranked ahead of them) due to past stumbles in the tournament, fell 4-3 in a game they never lead to the CPL’s Pacific FC, who are under the leadership of former Whitecaps defender Pa-Modou Kah.

And that’s it for me. I read that today’s forecast includes “oppressive” humidity, so enjoy your day as best you can, and make time for something cold and refreshing.