Holy cow, what a Tuesday. Yesterday saw some wild news around the Washington Spirit, so we begin there:
Michele Kang was able to bring some investors together to get an equity group that now controls 52% of the Washington Spirit, effectively shutting out Steve Baldwin and Bill Lynch. The letter that she sent to the NWSL’s Board of Governors was the ultimate power play:
New: Per a source, here's the full text of a letter sent from Michele Kang to the NWSL's Board of Governors, claiming that Steve Baldwin "no longer has control of the team or the ability to dictate the terms of any sale." pic.twitter.com/AUk7UHAfPz— Molly Hensley-Clancy (@mollyhc) January 11, 2022
However, there’s still concerns around whether the Board of Governors will accept this, as they may not consider the new minority owners properly vetted.
Frankly I have no idea what the NWSL's vetting process looks like, or if one even exists, in any official capacity. Same for MLS; it's tough sometimes to know whether leagues are secretive of their business processes or just careless/incompetent.— Pablo Iglesias Maurer (@MLSist) January 11, 2022
This power struggle will continue to play its way out over the next few days, but as of right now, all hail the Kang.
The MLS Superdraft took place yesterday, and D.C. United was fairly busy in the later rounds. After trading out of its first round pick, they were able to select Sofiane Djeffal, Alex Nagy, and Skage Simonsen in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Maryland Terrapins midfielder Ben Bender was the #1 overall pick in the draft, taken by Charlotte FC.
Folarin Balogun is leaving Arsenal FC to head to Middlesbrough on loan. The USMNT-eligible forward will hopefully get some more playing time in an effort to develop.
Alan Pulido has a knee injury and according to Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, it’s one that will end his 2022 season before it begins.
U.S. Soccer is saying that the USMNT and USWNT are not agreeing to one pay structure in their collective bargaining agreement negotiations, with Cindy Parlow Cone saying that talks are progressing more with the women. In a teleconference, she also spoke on her candidacy for re-election as U.S. Soccer president, saying she was the “right person” for the job and not her challenger, former president Carlos Cordeiro.
NYCFC will have to have their first Concacaf Champions League home match 2,800 miles away from their regular home of Yankee Stadium, as they will play their home leg against Costa Rica’s Santos de Guapiles at LAFC’s Banc of California stadium on February 23rd.
In arguably the biggest match of the group stage at Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria handed Egypt their first group stage loss at the tournament since 2004. In other action, MLS legend Kei Kamara led Sierra Leone to arguably the biggest surprise so far by holding Algeria to a scoreless draw. Sudan and Guinea-Bissau also had a scoreless draw, with Guinea-Bissau missing an 82nd-minute penalty that would have won it.
In other D.C. United news, here is the update on the Ola Kamara trade rumors:
Latest on Ola Kamara interest: One MLS club, maybe a second, and a Middle East club. If DCU trades or sells, they'll have to find another starting striker soon. So far, it seems, the offers aren't tasty enough to relinquish the 19-goal scorer.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) January 12, 2022
Finally, some departures from the D.C. United staff. First, Zach Thornton is headed to the Houston Dynamo:
Source: #DCU goalkeeper coach Zach Thornton has departed the club and accepted a job as the Houston Dynamo's new GK coach. Great get for Houston, IMO.— Pablo Iglesias Maurer (@MLSist) January 11, 2022
And, there were a couple more departures as well as a new addition:
Whew, that was a lot. Hit the comments and discuss the news of yesterday and today.