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Monday Freedom Kicks: Catch Up On A Busy Weekend!

In honor of freedom and the guys and gals who kick a little round ball for club and country, we have your morning Freedom Kicks. Get up to speed on all the soccer happenings that caught our eye on this jam-packed weekend.

How many times in a row can we have Beckham on our Freedom Kicks cover photo?
How many times in a row can we have Beckham on our Freedom Kicks cover photo?
Michael Regan

The Super Bowl Big Game may be over, but American soccer is just starting to get cranked up with MLS preseason in full swing and both senior national teams playing over the weekend. Here's your morning tour de links, with all the latest soccer happenings from around the globe. It was a busy weekend, so let's get right to it.

Four Things That Will Make or Break D.C. United in 2014 | Soccerly
The guys over at list the four biggest factors they believe D.C. United's season hinges on. Do you agree?

World Cup: USMNT's Chris Wondolowski "lets work do talking" as he makes case to Jurgen Klinsmann |
Wondo was wonderful. I'm a fan. I hope he makes the team in Brazil.

ASN article: Player Ratings: United States 2, South Korea 0
Do you agree with these ratings?

Interactive USMNT Player Ratings
If you don't like the ratings above, crowdsource your USMNT ratings here.

Report: USMNT to base pre-World Cup camp in Northern California, send-offs vs. Nigeria & others |
Details of the USMNT's final preparations before the World Cup emerge, including a game in Harrison, New Jersey.

ASN article: Sydney Leroux's Late Strike Lifts U.S. Over Canada
Canadian soccer fans really, really do not like Sydney Leroux (and that might be putting it mildly). Born and raised in Canada, Leroux represented (and captained) our neighbors to the north at the youth level, and then switched her allegiance to her father's homeland. Fortunately for us Americans, she is now the next big thing in American women's soccer, and all she seems to do is score lots and lots of goals, including the one that beat Canada on Friday night.

Stars and Stripes FC Crest Contest: Design a new U.S. Soccer logo - Stars and Stripes FC
Our friends over at Stars and Stripes FC have a challenge for you: "We are asking you all to design a new crest for U.S. Soccer. It will not be on a jersey or a shirt and U.S. Soccer and Nike will almost certainly ignore its existence, but it will still be cool. Also, I don't know if you've heard of this thing called the internet, but it's pretty popular and being internet popular is important so you'll want to enter this contest. Oh, the winner will also get a $100 gift certificate to World Soccer Shop. That's cool too, right?"

Seattle Sounders claim former Chicago Fire midfielder Marco Pappa via allocation |
Seattle took Pappa, and now Toronto sits #1 in the allocation order. D.C. United is now #4. Is it possible the Black-and-Red will get a shot at a quality allocation player this season?

USMNT alum Clint Mathis joins the Chicago Fire as assistant coach | US Soccer Players
The Fire didn't get Pappa, but they did get Mathis. Will there be mohawks?

Why MLS keeps expanding | US Soccer Players
This article doesn't explicitly answer the question of why MLS keeps expanding (hint: the answer involves dollar signs and geographic coverage), but it is an excellent rundown of the expansion landscape today.

Beckham-Miami deal one step closer; local visit plans revealed - Soccer | Fútbol -
Speaking of expansion, there will be a big announcement in Miami on Wednesday. The Miami Herald reports David Beckham has exercised his option to buy a Major League Soccer franchise, and they have additional details of the deal. Will Beckham now be the only MLS owner doing underwear commercials during the Super Bowl Big Game?

Manchester United, City and Liverpool to play in summer US tournament | Football |
Details of the 2014 version of the International Champions Cup have leaked at The Guardian. This time, it appears no MLS teams will participate, but big teams from England, Italy, Spain, and Greece (yes, Greece!) will be here in the States after the World Cup for the tournament.

Premier League Preview: Despite Mourinho’s claims, title hopes on the line when Chelsea visits Manchester City | ProSoccerTalk
In case you hadn't heard, there's a little soccer game from England on NBCSN this afternoon.

As always, use the space below to talk about these or any other soccer topics on your mind.