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D.C. United preps for FC Cincinnati, Washington Spirit news, and more: Freedom Kicks for 3/4/2022

Three? That’s the magic number.

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Nikita Taparia

Good morning! I woke up and found that I’d left myself completely out of the top breakfast item on my list today, and short of eggs for my back-up plan, so we’re off to a banner start. D.C. United and the Washington Spirit both have things going on that are more important to you than my own breakfast woes, so here we go:

Three things about D.C. United starting the year off on the right foot against Charlotte FC | Black and Red United
It was a little late in the week, but me (the person who caused the delay) and Ryan got our thoughts out on the Black-and-Red’s season opener. And now, you can put it in the rear view and think about game 2...which is tomorrow.

Here’s a thread from Twitter as Hernán Losada and Brendan Hines-Ike talked about what’s to come in that trip to FC Cincinnati:

Esta es la nueva oferta de la MLS por Joao Rojas | Bolavip
The latest from South America on United’s reported pursuit of Ecuador winger Joao Rojas (the young one...we might have to call him Joao the Younger or something) says that they’ve upped their offer to a fairly significant degree.

Marco Etcheverry “El Diablo,” Elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame | DCUnited.com
Marco Etcheverry, the icon, is in the National Soccer Hall of Fame. It’s old news but listen, if someone posts about El Diablo, I’m gonna share it.

2022 offseason transfer grades for all 28 MLS clubs | MLSsoccer.com
United got a passing grade from MLS dot com on their offseason moves...but only just. But with the Rojas thing still going and Taxi Fountas possibly showing up earlier than planned (thanks to Vitesse knocking them out in the Europa Conference League, btw, that might speed things up), a grade at this point is arguably incomplete.

Washington Spirit Re-Sign Kelley O’Hara to One-Year Deal | WashingtonSpirit.com
No big shock here, but the Spirit did tie up their biggest roster loose end, signing NWSL Championship-winning goalscorer Kelley O’Hara to a one-year contract. O’Hara had been an allocated player previously, but with NWSL moving away from that system, Washington had to reach a deal with her.

Here’s a fun interview with another Spirit defender, as Sam Staab talked about her offseason and what the Spirit want to do in 2022 with the good folks at Attacking Third:

Important to note that this includes Staab’s position on cows, which is something I think we should make into a DC soccer tradition. Hamdi Salihi did not want a cow near him, but Sam Staab? She’s pro-cow.

Ashley Hatch: ‘We want the USWNT to be overwhelming for the other team’ | The Guardian
Ashley Hatch is doing so well with the USWNT (3 goals in 6 caps, and all of them within six minutes of stepping onto the field) that she’s doing interviews about what the USWNT is trying to be as a team. You only get those questions when you’re starting to get ensconced.

MLS anonymous team executive survey: Best and worst teams, owners, rules, underrated players and cheating around the league | The Athletic
Some really interesting results in here, including some absolutely bonkers takes from MLS decision-makers.

USWNT to play pair of April friendlies against Uzbekistan | Stars and Stripes FC
The USWNT was going to play at Audi Field, but there was no deal, so they’re going to play Uzbekistan in Columbus and Chester, PA instead.

Retired Chicago Fire Soccer Player Desperate to Get Family Out of Ukraine | NBC Chicago
Former United midfielder Dema Kovalenko was born in Ukraine, and it’s gut-wrenching to hear his anguish at staying in touch with family members who are having to spend their time in a Kyiv bomb shelter with no real way to help them.

Let’s wrap up with a little ancient history. De La Soul’s incredible 3 Feet High and Rising, a landmark in hip-hop in so many ways. I could write a whole thing, but I just did write a whole thing, so I’ll just put the record on: