Happy Thursday, everyone. I’m up early to travel to Nashville, where D.C. United takes on Nashville SC this weekend. While I get some breakfast, here’s a recap of yesterday:

The USMNT were big winners over St. Kitts & Nevis last night in the Gold Cup, winning 6-0. It’s the largest Gold Cup victory ever for the USMNT.

Declan Rice: Arsenal reach agreement to sign West Ham midfielder in £105m deal (BBC)

Declan Rice is off to Arsenal, with West Ham getting bushels of money in return.

Washington Spirit sign Mariana Speckmaier and Jordan Thompson as National Team Replacement Players (DP)

With so many players heading to the Women’s World Cup, the Washington Spirit bring in Mariana Speckmaier and Jordan Thompson on national team replacement contracts.

Joint statement FC Bayern Munich and Qatar Airways (Bayern Munich)

Bayern Munich is ending its partnership with Qatar Airways, and they will have a new sleeve sponsor this coming season.

Tata Martino named Inter Miami CF head coach (MLS)

Tata Martino has taken over as Inter Miami head coach, and will have Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and who knows who else to manage very soon.

Italy bans players wearing No. 88 in antisemitism campaign (ESPN)

Italy is taking a step to cut down on antisemitic visuals, banning the number 88 (because of the number’s significance for Nazism) from being worn by players in Italian leagues.

MLS Academy Rankings (U.S. Soccer Collective)

The Philadelphia Union have the best academy in this rankings. D.C. United? They’re 16th.

Columbus to host 2024 MLS All-Star Game (MLS)

Lower.com Field will be the host of the 2024 MLS All-Star Game. Ours is gonna be better.

MLS released their Captain Americana pre-match tops yesterday. Here’s what D.C. United’s looks like:

Finally, the USWNT has already won an ESPY. They are winning the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage for their fight to bring pay equality to U.S. Soccer.

Enjoy the day, everyone!

ByDonald Wine II

Donald Wine has been a soccer fan since he first kicked a ball as a kid. He moved to DC in 2007 and quickly joined the soccer scene, helping to establish the DC chapter of the American Outlaws and serving as one of the capos and drummers for over a decade. He is currently the manager of Stars & Stripes FC, but this community is where he got his start, and he continues to contribute to anything DC soccer related for this site because he enjoys it so much.

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David Rusk

Way to go, Donald! With your peripatetic ways (following USMNT and USWNT and DCU all over the globe) you never fail to put up Freedom Kicks.

Bryan McEachern

Second! No pun intended, DW2!!!!!

Brendan Cartwright

For those wondering, “88” is associated with Nazism because H is the eighth letter, and “HH” stands for “Heil Hitler.” One of those things I learned during the previous administration that I wish I had remained ignorant of. Or, I wish they were all actually fans of Hector Herrera.

Talonesque #

Thanks for clarifying this, I was afraid I was going to explain it, I found out the meaning a few years ago while doing a reading for an anti-fascist theater event. Learning about that kind of thing makes you want to take a long shower.

Kerry Hess

Personal opinion: I just can’t see 88 as anything other than Dale Earnhardt Jr’s number. In retrospect, I also think of some football players (Tony Gonzalez). Worse yet for me personally (*looks at profile picture*) are those who insist 14 is a white supremacist number.

I just want to see nuance on this subject rather than the downright ban of numbers because some people misappropriate them.

Last edited 5 months ago by Kerry Hess
Talonesque #

If you’re looking for nuance in this particular situation (that number in Italy), don’t. There is none, there is none.

Kerry Hess

I wrote a big paragraph on Italy specifically, but deleted it for brevity. I admit that Italy and its history with fascism and their famed mustache man neighbor is a different beast entirely. They may very well be right to ban the number there.

I don’t see it stopping in Italy/Europe though. Considering its niche use as a hate symbol in America, it’s easy to see a ban coming here as well, and I’d rather we not escalate the symbol to the status the bigots want it to be. If players think it’s a hate symbol, they won’t wear it. If they want to wear it because it’s simply their number, perhaps emulating an athlete they admired growing up, let them. If they or fans wear it as a symbol of hate, well then they have bigger problems to worry about because it’s real easy to ban individuals for doing so.

Talonesque #

Let’s just agree that it should be banned in Italy.

I will say, I have no connection with the number, and think it’s a strange one for a soccer player to choose, at best. I don’t know enough about NASCAR or the Earnhardt family to comment on whatever is going on there, but don’t see a reason to defend this particular number from more widespread bans.

Last edited 5 months ago by Talonesque #
Kerry Hess

Story about the Earnhardt Jr #88:

Jr ran the #8 car until 2008 when he changed race teams. He wanted the #28, but the owner of that number wouldn’t give it up. That left him with #38, #88, and #81. Jr went with #88, the same number his grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt, had used in his career.

It’s strange, typing out #88 reminded me that Dale Jarrett, another NASCAR Hall of Famer, also famously drove the #88.

Talonesque #

I’ll go ahead and assume innocence on the part of those in NASCAR who have used the number prior to this moment.

If those who have used it couldn’t be persuaded to change it if that number became a more culturally toxic feature of the sport, assuming it isn’t already, and a ban was put forward, then they’re not worth defending. That’s a hypothetical in this case, because a ban hasn’t been suggested for NASCAR, but if I were you, I wouldn’t want to be associated with the people who would come out in support of 88.

Last edited 5 months ago by Talonesque #
Kerry Hess

Here I go defending NASCAR fans (and all sports participants) for continued use though… Car numbers are huge in NASCAR culture, and not just because they literally are large on the car. The numbers themselves are trademark symbols with which to identify. As drivers retire, those numbers race on, and in the eyes of fans, following the number can sometimes be like following a sports team itself.

The #3, #24, and #43 cars today famously have fans because of Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and Richard Petty. Tony Stewart revived the #14 in the sport in honor of his racing hero, AJ Foyt, who raced the same number. NASCAR’s most popular driver, Chase Elliott, famously drives the #9 that his father drove (also most popular driver at the time).

While soccer fans may get a tattoo of their sports team logo, NASCAR fans get tattoos of their favorite racing numbers. Imagine the fury of having the #88 tattooed on your arm because you adore (again… a most popular driver at the time) Dale Earnardt Jr, then all of a sudden, society tries to attack that number on your arm, calling you a Nazi or white supremacist. It’s not a hate symbol. It’s a race car number. The inability for many to separate those two ideas appears foolishly obstinate.

For that reason, I refuse to let society casually try to ban numbers. There needs to exist some context when looking at a number. It can mean something different to everyone, and is far too broad of a thing to ban because some idiots chuckle thinking they found a subtle way to support bigotry. The most insulting thing we can do to these idiots is continue our daily lives using their “symbols” (numbers) without any care in the world for what they think it means, because what they think it means doesn’t matter. They’re insignificant pathetic worms of a dying ideology. Let the ideology and its perceived meanings to symbols die with them.

Talonesque #

Fighting anti-semitism being casual, yep, done here.

To suggest that you think the ideology is dying shows where you’re level of interest is at when it comes to fighting this, and that NASCAR numerology is more important, just, yep, I’m officially not there with ya.

Last edited 5 months ago by Talonesque #
Kerry Hess

Banning a number does nothing to fight anti-Semitism. Indeed, done here.

Will Nelson

Nick Miller of The Athletic makes an argument that Nottingham Forest should try and keep O’Brien: https://theathletic.com/4645012/2023/06/29/lewis-obrien-forest-premier-league/

I don’t think O’Brien stays when his loan ends on July 16th. He wants to go back to England, and have a longer go at the EPL. I really hope DCU finds a way to keep him, because I don’t think we have a ball carrying midfielder to replace him.


I think you are right that he’s gone and I will be sad to see him go, but he’s been such a joy to watch that I can’t help but root for him to go places in England if that’s his goal.

Brendan Cartwright

Goff is reporting that the club is trying to extend his loan, but they basically admit they don’t have any leverage. So they should be trying to find someone to fill his role in the transfer window. The good news is that Rooney is saying Gylfi Siggurdson is not on his radar.


That is fantastic news re: Siggurdson.


First, if O’Brien didn’t want to stay, there would be no discussion of extending his loan. I think he likes it here, likes the PT, likes Rooney. And he’d be fine with extending the loan the rest of the season.

Second, it’s not his call. It’s Nottingham Forest. And I’m guessing it will be last minute. They’ll see who they can add (and if that makes O’Brien surplus). Or see if there are any takers for him. And that’s a shame.

Brendan Cartwright

Kind of a bummer to see that mediocre assessment of DC’s academy. Particularly with the focus on older players, the balance of the roster needs to come from academy players, and those academy players need to perform.

Durkin and Najar have come good. Pines has turned a corner this year. Ku-DiPietro has impressed this year, though we’ll see where his ceiling is. It’s nice to see three of the top five prospects already on senior club contracts, but Akinmboni, Fletcher, and Hopkins have been mostly inconsistent. We’ll see what the club’s plans are with Gavin Turner (I kind of expected them to sign him before this season) and Ignacio Alem.

Hopefully we can see the academy as a whole rising up this ranking. As they note, this area is quite talent-rich, and we’ve all kind of lamented in the past that that talent isn’t getting efficiently funneled into the DC system.

Will Nelson

Its the DC area is anything efficient or that makes sense allowed? Joking aside, yeah were rich in terms of youth talent, but there’s not really a drive here in the states to go pro in soccer. If you’re talking the big 4 American Football, Baseball, Hockey, and Basketball, then yeah there’s a big push for kids to want to go pro.

Talonesque #

I’d also argue that DMV traffic also is rather daunting for those trying to get their kids into the area.

Brendan Cartwright

It’s really impressive that the Durkins commuted from Richmond. And hopefully the team starts investing in Maryland or the Baltimore area soon, since getting from there to Loudoun is A TREK.

Kerry Hess

As a Germantown commuter to Sterling… I curse Potomac and the greater regional powers that be for there somehow not being a bridge between the American Legion Bridge and… Point of Rocks, Maryland.

Bryan McEachern

As race car addict, how do you survive? (I agree, a low yield bridge connecting 28 to Maryland would make terrific economic sense. The region has grown legions in my lifetime)

Kerry Hess

How do I survive? One word: Audible.

I’ve also really enjoyed driving north to use the Point of Rocks bridge. The Virginia portion of the drive is inconsistent, but driving through farmland, especially in Maryland, is infinitely more preferable than being parked on the Beltway every day, even if the Beltway might still save me 10 minutes.


There are 2 pr 3 constituencies in Maryland that put the kibosh on any discussion of another bridge. As powerful as the development lobby is, rich residents in Potomac really don’t want a highway there, and environmentalists generally agree that the push is backed by sprawl-loving developers. So they are a tough combination to overcome. Then there’s the BWI lobby which is also powerful. The airport fears a direct bridge to Rte 28 would be too tempting for Marylanders and push them to use Dulles over BWI


Agreed. Quite simply, this needs to be a really big priority for DCU. If you’re owners who aren’t willing to spend big bucks, then you need a Philly-level academy that is selling a player to Europe every year and every 2-3 years selling a player for really big bucks. That’s how you get the money to go sign a couple of big-name, big talent DPs.

My understanding with Gavin Turner (and I may be wrong) is that the club wants to offer him a first team contract but he won’t sign at this point–trying to keep his options open. Thus the comment in the review of he needs to decide what is future is.

Ryan Hunt

Two years ago I thought that Garay was going to break out for sure. He had great ball control and composure with a decent passing range. Since then he hasn’t really improved at all and might have even regressed. Add in that Nyeman and Yow didn’t pan out (for us at least, they’re both young and I hope they come good) and we’ve had a fair amount of busts lately.

I’m not particularly worried right now, if two of Akimboni/Fletcher/Hopkins/Greene can make the leap to squad depth then we’re in decent shape, but I think that prospects need to see our homegrowns getting more shots at meaningful minutes in order to make our academy more attractive to them. Williamson was probably our biggest academy moss so far but there have been others as well.


The DCU academy has been pretty awful. There’s no depth — witness the generally poor performances in Academy competition. The top cut of players has been thin and mostly mediocre. You actually missed maybe the best product in Kevin Paredes — but it’s thin. He’s the only national team calibre player since Bill Hamid over a dozen years ago. Pines might end up at the fringes, but probably not even that. Najar was barely a DCU Academy product, here for a very short time before signing. Williamson turned into a player, but was only at DCU for a year or so…

Lots of room to improve. Getting natinoal team level is kinda flukish, but the Academy should at least be turning out one or two solid MLS-level players each year. Ku-Dipietro, maybe Greene or Fletcher might get there out of the current crop. Turner would seem to be good get if they can, as would be Alem.

Talonesque #

So, on a positive note, the USMNT showed signs of life against an admittedly pretty amateur Kitts and Neves.

Reynolds, Busio, Mihailovic, Jalen Neal, and Jones all looked like upgrades to the players they replaced, or at least were quite promising. Feirreira showed that he’s quite dangerous against a low quality backline from CONCACAF, as his intelligence and ability to finish quickly often undoes them. Particularly this first three I mentioned were highly impactful, loved Busio’s passing and Mihailovic’s dominance, and want to see more. Reynolds is just better than Yedlin.

Some are criticizing Zendejas for his selfishness on the ball at times, but honestly, can’t blame him. I think he’s good enough to be an A-team squad player, but he knew this was a game he needed to prove something, and was desperately searching for a goal. I maintain that he’ll be a good combination player with the A-squad performers around him, and that last night wasn’t truly indicative of what he could bring.

Lastly, agree with those that call for Slonina to get run outs over Sean Johnson, but there was literally nary a save to make all game.

Talonesque #

Also, just want to say congrats to Declan Rice for rightly showing the value of a quality defensive midfielder at the highest level. I’m unsure any player should be sold for over 100 million, but given the cost of attacking players, that midfield foundation is worth it.


Right there with you. Too many teams continue investing in the flashy wingers and forwards hoping to reach the next level, when spending some on the spine of the team would raise the level of everyone. And even then there was a trend for a few years where the “D” in DM was devalued, with guys who could make a pretty pass getting the minutes.

Will Nelson

2 DCU Players on the 2023 MLS Next All-Stars Eastern Conference roster: https://www.mlssoccer.com/mlsnext/news/rosters-for-2023-mls-next-all-star-game-presented-by-allstate

Ignacio Alem and Graham Jones

Will Nelson

2 Old Glory DC players have been called into the 2023 Eagles XVs (US MNT XVs) Camp:
Jack Iscaro as a Loosehead Prop (2 caps) and Collin Grosse as a Backrow (yet to be debut). https://eagles.rugby/news/mens-eagles-camp-roster-selected-for-summer-assembly-in-charlotte-2023629

Will Nelson

World Rugby Women’s Shape of the Game conference concluded in LA last week: https://eagles.rugby/news/world-rugby-womens-shape-of-the-game-conference-concludes-in-los-angeles-2023624

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