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Michele Kang makes Spirit ownership power move, MLS Superdraft recap, and more: Freedom Kicks for January 12, 2022

By gawd, that’s Michele Kang’s music!

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Chicago Red Stars v Washington Spirit Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Holy cow, what a Tuesday. Yesterday saw some wild news around the Washington Spirit, so we begin there:

Michele Kang set to gain control of Washington Spirit voting interests after wooing other investors - The Athletic

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:

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.

This power struggle will continue to play its way out over the next few days, but as of right now, all hail the Kang.

MLS SuperDraft 2022: D.C. United selects Sofiane Djeffal, Alex Nagy, and Skage Simonsen - BRU

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.

USMNT eligible forward Folarin Balogun to join Middlesbrough on loan - SSFC

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.

Sporting KC record signing Alan Pulido “more than likely” out for 2022 - MLS

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.

Letter from U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone - U.S. Soccer

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.

MLS champions NYCFC to play CONCACAF Champions League ‘home’ match in L.A. - ESPNFC

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.

Iheanacho nets winner as Nigeria sink Egypt - BBC

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:

Finally, some departures from the D.C. United staff. First, Zach Thornton is headed to the Houston Dynamo:

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.