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D.C. United vs. Charlotte FC preview, MLS 2022 kicks off tomorrow, and more: Freedom Kicks for 2/25/2022

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Inter Miami CF v DC United Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Good morning! D.C. United plays in around 34 hours, the Washington Spirit have a preseason game tomorrow as well, and we’re gonna be busy! Look for our official SB Nation Preview in a little while, and a very big interview that is, if I may, a must-read if you care about the District’s top-flight men’s soccer concern.

Before all that though, here’s the news:

Interview with Alex Andrejev | Filibuster
The latest Filibuster is out for everyone (subscribers got it early!), and we talked to Charlotte FC beat reporter Alex Andrejev about all things CFC. Feels good to be talking about upcoming opponents.

Júnior Moreno has said his goodbyes after four seasons with United, ahead of a yet-to-be-announced trade that will see FC Cincinnati acquire his MLS rights for $425,000 in total GAM (spread over two years). Our best wishes to him going forward, outside of March 5, October 9, and any possible Open Cup meeting.

Steve Goff made the long trek out to Leesburg for United’s first open training session in over two full years. Here’s the thread of updates:

I intend to get out to a few of these over the course of the year, but realistically it’s not going to be an every-week thing. We’re talking about 4 hours of driving for me in total (or maybe down to 3 hours 15 minutes if I take the toll roads, but then the cost starts to become a problem), plus however long training is on that day. I’m thinking about solutions on this front, so stay tuned.

D.C. United Hire Diego Restrepo as Head of Goalkeeping | DCUnited.com
United made an off-field move official, hiring Diego Restrepo away from Austin FC to take over for Zach Thornton, who was hired away by the Houston Dynamo this winter. Restrepo is a name you might remember if you’re cursed with United brain worms, as his penalty kick saves knocked the Black-and-Red out of the Open Cup in a game at the Plex years ago.

Ranking all 28 MLS teams by tier for 2022 | MLSsoccer.com
Matt Doyle’s got United buried down at the bottom of his fifth tier, with only the four teams in tier six below the Black-and-Red. I think his concerns aren’t off base, but rather are simply being overstated for United in a way that isn’t being applied to other teams. Putting it on the record: they belong at least one tier higher.

Bite-sized previews, for a full-sized 2022 season | Sounder at Heart
My fellow SBN Old Dave Clark did an old-school SB Nation thing and tried to do a preview about every single MLS team. There are so many teams now!

One big question for every MLS team on the eve of the 2022 season | The Athletic
I’m not saying Jeff Rueter is wrong here (I have this same question in my head for United), but the number of places I’ve seen a version of it point to an early narrative forming around DCU.

Se sumaría a Michael Estrada: El DC United quiere fichar a otro ecuatoriano | Bolavip
This headline is a bit of an odd one, as it’s not really an article about Michael Estrada. It’s not clear if this is a rehash of the Joao Rojas rumor we reported on a while back, or if things are still going on that front, but that’s what the topic really is here. United has until over two months to make a deal in this transfer window (which closes May 4).

Defend the Declaration from FC Charlotte: Tale No. 25 | Tales From Buzzard Point
The Tales From Buzzard Point are back for 2022, and on their own site. Read up on the definitely very real and not fictional issue of an MLS expansion team trying to steal the Declaration of Independence.

The NWSL’s CBA journey through the eyes of three player leaders | Just Women’s Sports
Claire Watkins did a great job telling the oral history of the NWSLPA and the path to its first-ever CBA. A must-read.

(Is it inappropriate here to throw in the last episode of Plex Weather, where Tori Huster talks CBA with me? Well too bad, I’m doing it.)

Elsewhere in MLS:

Are the Houston Dynamo going to be...kind of serious now? Maybe?

And...that’s all I have, and given the work that has to go into those articles that still have to come out, I’m gonna stop here. See a bunch of you on Buzzard Point tomorrow!