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Washington Spirit ownership split, MLS transfers, and more: Freedom Kicks for 8/31/2021

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All is not well at the local NWSL concern

Kelley Piper / Black and Red United

Good morning! It’s Tuesday, something that I feel is vaguely true but that the calendar says is definitely true. We have some major Washington Spirit news to get to, and D.C. United videos and plaudits, plus other MLS news from out west. Let’s get right to it:

Co-owners of NWSL’s Spirit fight for control after abuse allegations against coach | Washington Post
Some great reporting here reveals that the Spirit’s ownership group is at odds, with Y. Michele Kang looking to purchase a controlling stake in the club from Steve Baldwin, the current managing partner/CEO. There’s a lot in here, including more notes on when the club was apparently aware of the abuse allegations against Richie Burke before hiring him, and a claim that Baldwin was ready to sell less than three weeks ago only to change course.

Spirit Fans Are Going To Be Heard One Way Or Another | Defector
Meanwhile in the stands, here’s the close-up reporting of what was going on as supporters were threatened with expulsion from the game over a banner urging Baldwin to sell the team. What was a banner that I can tell you I did not see clearly from the press box, has become a story in a major outlet, and now we’re talking about it here.

Meanwhile the local fallout related to the Spirit continues, as former assistant coach Tom Torres — previously named the head coach for Northern Virginia FC’s newly-announced USL-W team, even after The Athletic reported inappropriate comments at Spirit team functions — will apparently not hold that post going forward:

OK, that’s a lot of heavy news for this time of day. Let’s get a palette cleanser in here:

Looking forward to all this old school DCU video coming out in the near future, both for my own nostalgia and for the newer fans to get to see some of the old days for the first time.

Team of the Week presented by Audi: FC Dallas, Portland Timbers make splash in Week 22 | MLSsoccer.com
Yordy Reyna made the bench for the MLS Team of the Week, but I’ve come to quibble with the coach selection. Portland got a big win through grit and good fortune rather than coaching ingenuity; they were lucky the Sounders were just a bit imprecise with several late corners, at the least. By comparison, United crumped Philly up and tossed them in the garbage can. I haven’t seen every game from the weekend, but I’ve already seen at least one coach who deserved the nod here more than Gio Savarese.

Anyway! I’m with Bill Hamid when it comes to the weather:

Postgame Pontifications: PNW Experience exceeded all reasonable expectations | Sounder at Heart
Out in Seattle this weekend, the Sounders and OL Reign had a doubleheader against the Portland Timbers and Thorns at Lumen Field, setting the single-game NWSL attendance record. But I’m glad that folks up there, and not just Megan Rapinoe, took time to make mention of the obvious: why the hell did it take this long? It was by all accounts a great day in Seattle, and hopefully not just a one-off.

Houston Dynamo FC part ways with General Manager Matt Jordan | The Striker Texas
After years of being hapless — one playoff appearance since the start of 2015 is hapless — and amid a 15-game winless run, the Houston Dynamo’s new ownership has made a move, relieving GM Matt Jordan of his duties. Hard to blame them, as Houston has had bad rosters, little serious academy success, and no real transfer success either. Fun fact: Alberth Elis, the name you might be thinking about when it comes to Dynamo transfers, cost about $1.5 million more to bring to MLS than Houston got when transferring him to Boavista. That was despite the Dynamo following the familiar process of buying at a young age and selling before Elis hit his prime years (he’s 25 now).

Fenerbahçe announce transfer agreement with LAFC for Diego Rossi | Angels on Parade
A club that’s better at that process appears to be very close to another outgoing move, with Diego Rossi on a plane to Istanbul. We’ll see if LAFC sets themselves up, but losing a player of Rossi’s caliber after the transfer window here closed is going to be a blow to their playoff hopes.

Alright, that’s it for me. Have a good one!