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Friday Freedom Kicks: DC United cherry blossom kit, USWNT games, and more

It’s heeeeere

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2023 SheBelieves Cup - Canada v United States Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It’s the Friday before a long weekend, and we’ve got some good news to discuss!

Photos: DC United unveils new cherry blossom away jersey (WTOP)
They’re finally here! DC United released the new cherry blossom kits at an event last night. The official versions are a little too subtle for my taste — I’d like to see the blossoms pop more from a distance — but I’m a big fan of the pink detailing and the little branch on the back of the neck.

Mallory Swanson all but ensures World Cup spot in USWNT win over Canada in She Believes Cup (ESPN)
The USWNT handily beat rivals Canada 2-0 in their first match of the She Believes Cup, with Mallory Swanson scoring both goals. Playing under protest in the midst of a dispute with their soccer federation over lack of transparency and unequal treatment, Canada struggled to get into the match in the first half and had few chances throughout. The win puts the US in first place in the tournament, while Brazil are in second after their 1-0 win over Japan yesterday afternoon.

The She Believes Cup continues this Saturday when the U.S. face Japan at 3:30 p.m. EST. I’ll be watching in person in Nashville and hoping, as always, for some United Spirit goals. All four of the Washington Spirit players on the current USWNT roster saw playing time in last night’s match, and Andi Sullivan in particular had an excellent game.

This is great news for anyone who can’t (or doesn’t want to) add yet another streaming service to their home budget. Not to mention the impact having a game on in the local bar can have on growing the sport’s popularity. I hope US Soccer and HBOMax take note!

On Frame: The impact of Pelé’s visit to Howard University (The Athletic)
In the first article in a series of articles on iconic soccer photos, Pablo Iglesias Maurer tells the story of the soccer legend’s visit to Howard and the 1971-74 soccer team. Beautifully written and well worth a read.

Black History Month: Cat, Cat, Cat (SSFC)
Donald Wine’s Black History Month series continues with a profile of present and future USWNT superstar Catarina Macario.

Finally, the Black and Red United staff have an announcement of our own coming up:

We’re so grateful for all of the support you’ve already shown us during a time of uncertainty and are excited to share our next steps with you, so keep an eye out for more information!