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Ricardo Pepi moves to FC Augsburg, Steve Cherundolo new LAFC head coach, and more: Freedom Kicks for 1/4/2022

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The USMNT’s number 9 has swapped Texas for Bavaria

FC Augsburg signs Ricardo Pepi Photo by Stefan Puchner/picture alliance via Getty Images

Good morning! I am “back problems from shoveling” years old. D.C. United is gonna be making a bit of news today, while Ricardo Pepi’s move to Augsburg took up most of my timeline yesterday (though I missed a lot of the action due to my power being out due to the snow...did you see that it snowed???).

It snowed yesterday!

Speaking of United, we’re expecting some news later this morning, with the club seemingly set to announce a permanent transfer for Brendan Hines-Ike, who spent 2021 here on loan from KV Kortrijk. That’s good!

We’re getting more of a picture of what United’s preseason might look like, with their previously reported trip to Palm Springs, California likely to involve this LA Galaxy preseason tournament:

Prayers up for some streams! Please teams, have mercy on us lowly wretches that just want to watch you play soccer.

FC Dallas transfers Ricardo Pepi to FC Augsburg | Big D Soccer
USMNT striker Ricardo Pepi is off to the Bundesliga with FC Augsburg. It’s a massive move for him, and it sounds like Augsburg expects him to be a starter ASAP, so that’s good too. The challenge for FC Dallas? Prove to their fans and the league that they have goals other than sales like this, because you know which MLS team finished near the bottom of the table and just got much worse on the field? Well, friend, it’s FC Dallas, the team that just lost the USMNT’s starting #9. You can’t put $20 million on the field.

LAFC go for the known — and unknown — with Steve Cherundolo | Angels on Parade
This is going to be a really interesting situation, because it’s not known just how good Steve Cherundolo is as a coach of a pro team that is not thinking about development only (his Las Vegas Lights side in USL last year was among the youngest in the league).

Official: Dynamo hire Paulo Nagamura as new head coach | Dynamo Theory
This one’s also interesting, as longtime MLS midfielder Paulo Nagamura has moved from Sporting KC’s USL affiliate to the Houston Dynamo. The Dynamo were terrible last year, but with new ownership, maybe there’s a platform to become a better side?

My wishes for the NWSL in 2022, a defining year for the league | Just Women’s Sports
There’s Washington Spirit in here (with the ongoing dispute over the team’s ownership going past a league-announced soft deadline that never seemed to have any particular meaning, how could there not be?), but there are two other calls here I want to make sure I’m underlining: first, preseason starts exactly four weeks from today, and the CBA talks have been extremely quiet for a while now. That could be good — CBA negotiations through the media have never been a good signal across the sporting landscape — but four weeks is not a lot of time!

Second, a call for CBS to take over the production side of broadcasts. Between poor stadium microphone settings leaving crowd noise low enough to make it seem like preseason, camera angles that leave fans with too little information, and a never-ending use of zoom close-ups on individual players while the ball is in play, the experience of watching NWSL is just nowhere near where it needs to be for a domestic league that has the highest standard of play in the world.

Alright, that’s it for me. I need to sleep so my back isn’t ruined forever. Have fun with your possibly snow-bound Tuesday!