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USMNT sends Weston McKennie back to Juventus, NWSL Championship details, and more: Freedom Kicks for 9/7/2021

The tension around U.S.’s trip to face Honduras went up again

El Salvador v USMNT Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Good morning! We’re approaching D.C. United’s return to play after what feels like an eternity but was actually one week off. The Washington Spirit are back in the news for what are thankfully more normal soccer reasons, there are more details on how the NWSL’s championship game will be played at 9am Pacific, and the USMNT...well...let’s just get to the news.

How many points will it take for the Fire to make the playoffs? | Hot Time in Old Town
Not so much United news, but a reminder that right now, the Black-and-Red are in the last playoff spot in the East. Personally I think they’re far more likely to move up than to fall before this whole thing is said and done, but for the time being teams are going to use DCU as their measuring stick.

Karina Rodriguez Named to Mexico National Team Roster | WashingtonSpirit.com
Spirit defender Karina Rodriguez has once again been called up by Mexico. Unless the game against the Portland Thorns — still currently unscheduled and unresolved — ends up falling between scheduled games on 9/12 and 9/26, she won’t miss any NWSL action during the international window.

Don’t be surprised if we get more call-ups for the Spirit’s other internationals. That could be six more players, or it could get up to like a dozen if a couple of coaches start to expand their pool a bit.

Orlando Pride withdraw bid for NWSL championship, to be hosted in Portland | Orlando Sentinel
Portland hosting the NWSL championship game has caught a lot of complaints. Personally, while a game on turf is not ideal, the far larger concern is the 9am local kickoff time. It’s just not a set-up for pro soccer, much less the championship of what’s supposed to be the world’s best league. Playing in Orlando would have lessened this, but noon is still also a bad time, and Florida’s struggles with Covid-19 make it a difficult sight for what is a league-wide event. They also opted out for business reasons, which is another factor: the host is carrying a lot of extra weight for what might be a low-revenue day for them.

But also, is this NWSL’s fault? To some extent, no. As we know from MLS, if the broadcast partner says jump, the league says how high.

Here’s the good news about Portland in November: I priced out a trip just in case I opt to go, and a four-day trip on non-trash airlines, renting out literally a townhouse less than two miles from Providence Park, came out to under $700.

United States national team sends Weston McKennie back to Juventus after protocol breach | ESPN
Man. I feel for people that are desperate to get out into the world, I really do, but it seems like Weston McKennie really biffed it here.

I’m probably going to avoid any USMNT tweeting tomorrow, because people are already in full panic mode as is.

USA vs. Honduras, 2022 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying: Scouting Honduras | Stars and Stripes FC
If you want to know what’s going on with los Catrachos before tomorrow, this is your go-to read.

Over at Audi Field last night, Maryland took the Battle for the DMV 2-1, and the winner was a straight-up banger:

We Need to Talk About Qatar | The Players’ Tribune
Finland captain Tim Sparv wants to keep the attention on Qatar’s abhorrent record on how immigrants and guest workers are treated. Great piece, not just about what’s going on in Qatar, but the privilege so many of us have in our lives.

Michael K. Williams, Emmy-nominated actor who brought charming menace to ‘The Wire,’ dies at 54 | Washington Post
Michael K. Williams passed away yesterday, and while I understand the urge to refer to Omar Little and The Wire, one thing I always noticed with him was a consistent reputation of doing work — real work — for his community and organizations that needed help. The world got a little dimmer yesterday.

That’s it for me. Hope you all have a good one!