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Jesse Marsch named Leeds United head coach, FIFA and UEFA suspend Russia, and more: Freedom Kicks for 3/1/2022

We’re finally free of February’s dreary clutches!

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RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

No intro, got some D.C. United stuff here, let’s charge into these links!

Let’s start with Bill Hamid making the MLS dot com Team of the Week, with Michael Estrada getting honorable mention:

Hamid had a good game, and had under-the-radar success with the ball at his feet, but I hadn’t really thought he was going to get this kind of recognition due to the lack of Charlotte chances. Glad to see the nod here.

On the other end of the spectrum, Lucho Acosta is already having to tweet about leading FC Cincinnati to be better after they opened the season with a debacle:

United should be able to beat Cincy without having to be at a 10 out of 10 this weekend, but it does feel like they’ve at least got to prepare for a highly motivated Lucho.

Eddie Pope on uniting against racism and intimidation in youth soccer |
United legend Eddie Pope in his own words, on his career and his experiences with racism and discrimination while also watching soccer’s growth. It’s an important reminder that progress isn’t always (or even often) linear, or guaranteed.

Angel City FC defender Sarah Gorden suffers knee injury | Angels on Parade
Bad news for Angel City FC, who just lost Sarah Gorden for what sounds like the first few months of the NWSL season. Former Spirit defender Paige Nielsen is about to have surgery this week as well, leaving ACFC without two of their projected starting defenders.

U.S. Soccer announced the dates and times for the second round of this year’s Open Cup. Locally, here’s what that means:

The Maryland Bobcats will head up to Pittsburgh for a daunting match against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on April 5. The Richmond Kickers have a slightly more complicated scenario: they play April 6, but the time and venue both hinge on whether Lynchburg FC or Northern Virginia FC advance from the first round. It’s 6:30 at City Stadium if the former goes through, or 8pm at the Virginia Revolution Sportsplex in Leesburg if it’s Nova advancing.

Marsch must make an immediate impact to ensure Leeds’ dramatic switch works out | The Athletic
Jesse Marsch is replacing Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds, which is a tough assignment because a) Bielsa departs despite being beloved by Leeds fans, and b) the team itself is only 2 points clear of the relegation zone, having played two more games than Burnley (who sit 18th right now). They’ve given up 60 goals, more than anyone else in the Premier League. And based on the general perception in England of there being no Americans who have even seen one soccer game, he’ll have to fight a perception battle as well.

So...I guess, good luck, Jesse!

U.S. Soccer announces refusal to play Russia as FIFA suspends Russian teams from play | Stars and Stripes FC
U.S. Soccer said they wouldn’t play Russia in any competition due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It wasn’t an impending thing, like some European national teams had to deal with, but still better to move early on something like this and take a stand.

FIFA and UEFA suspend Russian squads from soccer competitions | Washington Post
Of course, only a few hours later FIFA (and UEFA) said Russian teams are suspended from competition. That’ll impact their senior women’s and men’s national teams, blocking them from playing in the European Championship on the women’s side and the playoff stage of World Cup qualifying for the men, and it will also result in Spartak Moscow being dumped out of the Europa League.

And that’s that. Hopefully we’ll have some United thoughts later today, but until then, it’s gonna be nice out, try to go see the sun if you can.