Loudoun United FC play their season opener tomorrow night in Memphis, TN against Memphis 901. The game starts at 5:30 p.m., and can be viewed on ESPN+ or at the team’s official Watch Party at Ocelot Brewing.

Yesterday, the team announced the signing of midfielder Abdoul Koanda, who previously played for ASEC Mimosa in the Côte d’Ivoire. I haven’t seen any word yet on whether he’ll be available for tomorrow night’s match.

D.C. United may have their own signing news coming soon. The Athletic reports the Black-and-Red are in talks with Nottingham Forest midfielder Lewis O’Brien.

D.C.’s Leagues Cup group stage games have been announced: CF Montréal away and Pumas Unam at home.

While it looked like a sure thing two weeks ago, Bill Hamid’s move to Dundee United is off. This article is very light on reasons why, noting only that Coach Jim Goodwin decided not to bring Hamid in after the two talked this week. An earlier article said that conversation would focus on Hamid’s current fitness. Sorry for Hamid that this didn’t work out, but we’ll continue to keep an eye on his search for a new home and hope to see him at Buzzard Point in the meantime.

Side note: I cannot believe that was two weeks ago. It was in my last Friday Freedom Kicks before we launched The District Press. Feels like ages ago.

After Wendy Renard, Kadidiatou Dianai, and Marie-Antoinette Katoto of the French Women’s National Team announced they would be sitting out of the 2023 World Cup, coach Corinne Diacre was fired by the French Football Federation yesterday. Players have been speaking out about Diacre’s coaching methods and seemingly retaliatory decision-making for years, but it seems to have taken this drastic action in a World Cup year to finally force her out.

In related news, 4 players from the Canada Women’s National Team testified in front of the Canadian Parliament’s Heritage Committee about their own Federation’s lack of financial transparency and unequal funding, in addition to the disrespectful way they feel they’ve been treated personally. During the hearing, the players revealed that former Canada Soccer president Nick Bontis referred to Christine Sinclair’s description of the players’ complaints as “bitching” and that the Federation views the women’s friendlies as optional, compared with the men’s games in preparation for the 2022 World Cup.

Finally, we HAVE to talk about this leaked Portland Thorns kit. It might be the ugliest jersey I’ve ever seen.

ByAnnie Elliott

Mostly writing about the Washington Spirit

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Matt Glad

Never seen O’Brien play, but he apparently cost forest $10 million last year. He was highly rated at Huddersfield. If Rooney is committed to this hybrid midfield I’m guessing he replaces Durkin. Otherwise? No idea.

justis107

The dude scored in a premier league game. That certainly qualifies him to play on the field in my book. Durkin I think needs time to regain his confidence because he’s stringing together bad performances.

Matt Glad

Yea I really like the move. I’m more sympathetic towards Durkin. He’s 100% being played out of position. He hasn’t been terrible, in my opinion. He just hasn’t been what you need in that position.

Sunspot

I wasn’t paying as much attention during the second half, but Durkin looked ok in the 1st, offensively. He got some crosses off and was involved. Defensively, he left Najar out to dry. Some of that isn’t on him either. If he’s being asked to pinch in, he doesn’t have the recovery speed to get back when the ball gets turned over (and Columbus sliced us open as soon as they got the ball back). Our fullbacks have a lot of work to do honestly.

Will Nelson

For O’Brien to come here, how many international slots do we have free currently? Or will we need to trade for one?

JoeW

We currently have 2 international slots free.

SweetBuck

From what I’ve seen, DC currently has 2 open Senior Roster positions and 2 unused International Slots (which both are mostly due to Rodriguez being on the season-ending injury list and Morrison being excluded)

justis107

Still space for that championship or bundelisga 2 level CB that I’m hoping for! Doubt it will happen, but one can dream.

jmauro2000

I’m less worried about roster spots and international slots than if this will be a DP or TAM signing. And if it’s DP does that mean Taxi might be out for the year?

justis107

If it’s a loan, then I’d assume we only have to pay the rest of the wages for his current season. If that’s the case then i don’t think they need to figure out DP status until the summer.

justis107

@author just a heads up that the CAPTCHA seems to be triggering every time I post a comment. Figured I’d give the feedback. Not a major nuisance but I’d assume it only needs to verify me the first time I try to comment in a given session. It wasn’t doing this a week ago.

JoeW

Annie, what a juicy post with a ton of important stuff.

On Lewis O’Brien: from what I read it’s a loan with a possible purchase. This could be a steal. The story is that his transfer paperwork was submitted late, appeal not granted so the team that wanted him can’t have him and the team that transferred him as moved on and he’s not on the official roster so he can’t play. So he’s desperate to find a club where he can get PT. We are apparently outbidding Atlanta and Columbus for him. He’s a versatile midfielder who’s mostly box-to-box but can be an A-mid, outside mid, defensive mid and even a shuttler/wingback if need be.

And with DCU sending personnel to France and Portugal, I don’t think we’re done adding personnel.

On Portland’s kit–I totally agree with you. If you haven’t been to Portland, their nickname (because of an incredible “Rose Test” garden) is “The Rose City.” What a crappy job they’ve done of utilizing that. instead, they produced a visually cluttered, ugly mess of a jersey. They say that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. Well, this jersey is what you get when it’s designed by a committee–ugh!

Glad to hear about the French Women’s coach getting the boot. Now Canada needs to get their act together. It’s unforgivable that the CWNT players haven’t been played in a year–who does that?

Sorry to hear about Hamid. Since he’s been working out with Loudoun, I find it hard to believe it’s purely a conditioning thing. Maybe there are some lingering physical issues with his recovery? Because I find it hard to believe that if he was healthy (even if not match ready) you wouldn’t have at least one team in MLS throwing money at him. So my speculation (and it’s total speculation) is either there is some continuing physical issue and he’s not 100% back. Or there was some condition Bill placed that DU said “nope–not going to do that.” Anyway, if Big Bill wants to play, I’m sorry to hear out this played out and wish him success hooking up with another side.

And for the Leagues Cup we go to Mexico City (altitude and air pollution–yeah not!) and make a visit to Hernan’s gang in Montreal. Given their start, you have to wonder if he’ll still be their head coach by July. I hope they give him a decent chance–they certainly haven’t given him the roster to do much at this point.

Brendan Cartwright

Trying to comment for the first time…

Just from checking out some highlights, O’Brien looks like he’s a ball winner, and someone that’s able to keep the ball on the dribble. I don’t think there’s an analog on the team currently, but likely the Ravel replacement. This looks good for a number of reasons. 1) He’s played in the Premier League. 2) He’s young! 3) United is making a smart acquisition for a player that has obvious talent but had an unfortunate transfer mishap that might have otherwise precluded United from signing him.

He might not stay past this year, but as long as we keep making some moves like this, I feel good.

As for scouting in Portugal and France, I’m hopeful that they’re going for a center back, but I know that Rooney has talked about needing a backup striker to replace Miguel Berry. So that seems more likely what we’re looking at. If we can get a youngish European player that can also pitch in with some goals (a more consistent Nigel Robertha?), that’s a great thing.

A bit of a bummer to hear that Greene and Garay are being loaned back to Loudoun, but I guess just keep developing.

Brendan Cartwright

Sorry, it’s Samake and Garay going on loan to Loudoun. Greene will stay up with the senior club, although it remains to be seen when he’ll make his debut. With Samake going down, I think that should open up a third international slot, at least while Samake is out on loan.

PapiShmpoo

I need to see Greene play, he was definitely playing above his level in USL and can play both flanks of the defense. The kid has speed and it looks like he has gotten much taller since his debut at Loudoun.

Kerry Hess

Even though I knew the Michigan weather conditioning had worn off within one season of moving to Maryland, it wasn’t until our season opener this year that I really had to convince myself that I am no longer comfortable at near-freezing temperatures. I layered up, sure, but 30-40 minutes into a half really lets that cold seep through.

Tomorrow’s match is looking to be much the same in terms of cold. I’m heavily considering wearing a snow suit in 30+ degree weather, something Michigan me would have laughed at. As I look upon the Chico Stand and see the rare shirtless supporter, I aim to be toasty. As D.C. United extends the Rooney curse against Orlando with some nonsensical late-game magic, I aim to have function in my warm legs with which I can jump in joy.

Talonesque #

I guess this is just a comment where I defend Nigel Robertha from perceptions of “inconsistency.” Because he didn’t score in two starts? Rooney gave him a run out at his preferred position, CF, to see if he’d gel with Benteke. To my mind, this might not be working out cuz Benteke requires more of a second striker partnership to unlock his best level, and in hindsight, that’s probably Taxi or TKD. That doesn’t mean that Robertha has played himself off the field in two appearances, especially since the last one, we had absolutely no control until Columbus gave up on the press and just sat on their lead after squandering multiple gaps they should have exploited.
Robertha is still useful if Benteke needs a rest, a sub, or gets injured, and TKD should probably be his partner till Taxi returns, I just don’t think people are being rational with their criticisms.

Last edited 8 months ago by Talonesque #
Brendan Cartwright

Robertha has nine goal contributions in 37 games (roughly one every four appearances). He’s done that in 1800 minutes (once every 200 minutes). It’s fairly decent. You’d obviously want a little more from the guy, but he hasn’t been dire or anything.

JoeW

I’m not a Robertha hater. I think he’s got an intriguing mix of technical ability and physical assets (speed and height). But I don’t see him as a Benteke sub. He’s just not very good with his back to goal so he can’t play the target role well. And he’s also not good at distributing the ball as a target man.

Fischy

Robertha is about Estrada level. He scores occasionally, but doesn’t seem to make the club any more threatening in the attack. Estrada was better in front of the net, Robertha maybe quicker and better as a hold-up player, but little comes of that. Need better than that.

O’Brien transfer is odd. Goff saying the loan only to summer window (grain of salt here — pretty sure that’s how Estrada deal was first reported). Makes some sense sinnce he’s just in limbo in Europe and he could help DCU even as a stopgap (fingers crossed for him that he stays healthy, if he’s looking for a transfer in the summer). But his price tag is really high for MLS for a guy who has very few goal contributions — his G+A numbers average to less than 1 every 6 game — but he does other stuff to make a team better. I’m just wondering if there’s room in a center midfield for his skills and Klich (and maybe Canouse, depending on formation). Somebody has to score or deliver assists on this team.

Last edited 8 months ago by Fischy
Will Nelson

Jeremy Garay and Gaoussou Samaké headed to Loudoun on season long loans. 2023 DCU 3rd round draftee Aidan Rocha has signed with Loudoun as well.

PapiShmpoo

I wonder how good of a chance the O’Brien loan (if it happens) can turn into a permanent transfer. It seems to be a 3-4 month loan with no transfer but I hear Blackburn is looking to scoop him up also.

Matt Glad

Yes, according to FootballInsiders, it’s a season-long loan, but O’Neil has the option to end the loan once the summer window starts. I would hope DC can convince him to stay the season, but it at least gives DC more time to find a permanent replacement between now and the summer.

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