Good afternoon everyone, and sorry for the late Freedom Kicks today. In the past 48 hours I have been from San Jose to DC to San Diego back to DC and am now in New Orleans for a family reunion. I need a Cajun coffee with extra Sazerac (I don’t even know if that’s a real thing, but I hope it is).

Panama beats United States in shootout to reach Gold Cup final (ESPN)

I was at this match last night, and this is what happens when you decide to play with fire twice in a row. Jesus Ferreira is on his way to a Golden Boot, and Matt Turner did his best to keep the USMNT in it…but in the end, they couldn’t get the magic on penalties again, and Panama books a deserving trip to the Gold Cup Final. They will meet Mexico, who beat Jamaica 3-0 last night.

The All-Star Game is next week, and Metro has apparently released some special event Metro cards to mark the occasion:

FIFA offers free Women’s World Cup tickets amid poor NZ sales (ESPN)

The Women’s World Cup starts next week, and despite tickets costing as low as $14, FIFA is upset at ticket sales for the matches in New Zealand. So, they’re offering up to 20,000 free tickets to hopefully encourage people to fill up the stadiums.

FIFA ban Ronaldo’s Al Nassr from registering new players (ESPN)

Al Nassr is already getting registration bans. This one is because they owe Leicester City €460,000 plus interest because they failed to pay for a transfer back in 2018. They can’t register new players until that debt is paid.

Finally, the Annapolis Blues are in the NPSL Mid-Atlantic Conference championship game this weekend, and they’re hosting it at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Best of luck to the Blues as they go for a title in their first season.

Alright, back to catch up on work. Discuss everything in the comments!

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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Brendan Cartwright

I wouldn’t have really thought it was possible to do all that travel in 48 hours. You are making George Clooney’s character in “Up in the Air” envious, Donald!

Will Nelson

Panama was the better team last night and deserved to beat the US. They had several goals in regulation called back for offsides.


Their “goal” was offsides too

Will Nelson

Interesting read in The Athletic about the effects of changes to UK work permits affects MLS and other leagues in the US:
Also noted in there is that MLS has been moved from Band 4 up to Band 3, which is the same band as Brazil’s Seria A as Argentina’s Primera Divsion.

Talonesque #

I know a lot of people would say “subscribe to the Athletic,” but could you say what the changes are? Is it good or bad? I’m trying to really limit non-essential subscriptions from my plate




As is often the case with immigration/work permit related issues, it’s both good and bad, with a heavy dose of complicated. The driver for the change is fall-out from Brexit. Because England is no longer part of the EU, free movement of employees is no longer allowed. As a result, players the English teams buy from Europe have to meet the point-based criteria to be able to play in England. Therefore, lower division European players likely won’t have the ‘points’ necessary to play in England (not likely national team players, the leagues they are in garnering fewer points to begin with, and other criteria).

The result is, on the negative side for MLS, that some of the non-European sources of talent that MLS has found success recruiting in the past – will find that English teams might provide more competition in bidding for that talent, since they are likely to have accumulated more work permit points. The article mentions Latif Blessing as their example, I’m sure we could come up with others.

On the positive side for MLS, and as noted with MLS moving up a band, English teams might be even more likely to pay for MLS talent than in the past. The work permit issue is slightly easier than in previous years and there are more talented young players that might be worth an investment to buy.

The article doesn’t get into the specifics of the point system (and I don’t blame them, it’s an article on its own and probably a long one at that), so it’s hard to say exactly how much impact is out there, but scouts quoted are saying that they’ve noticed a shift in people sniffing around players.

Hope that helps.

Talonesque #

It does, quite grateful for the description. Sounds extremely complicated.

Talonesque #

I can’t give a truly expansive take on the Gold Cup loss to Panama, cuz I only watched most of the first half before passing out (tried watching late on record). When I went on YouTube for my nightly podcast listen to fall asleep, first image was the result. Ah well. So, my overall take from fast forwarding the rest to see the goals and the PK’s is this:

Panama deserved to win on the principle “may the best team win.” Their A team was clearly better than this depleted squad. To his credit, Jesus Ferreira truly wanted the occasion and stepped up to the plate consistently- hopefully this is more than a confident purple patch and he can continue to contribute as a false 9 option- but frankly, no one else really did in the more difficult games. Jones at left back is a valuable backup, and largely kept his head. I think there are some role players who will step into gaps as subs for the A team, like Busio, maybe Mihailovic. Sands maintained his stock. Neal is one to watch for the future. Cowell is a burly sub. But none of these players except Jesus really latched onto the chance.

I think Vasquez is a truly limited forward in terms of passing and dribbling, and likely falls down to Daryl Dike status on the depth chart.

The US did well enough in this game to maybe squeak through undeservedly on penalties, for Panama’s sake, Roldan’s lame suckitude on at final pk was fair. Mihailovic, Busio, and Luca de la Torre hopefully mean he never makes the senior squad again. I know it’s not his fault for getting called up, I despise watching him.


Kudos to all that travel–I’m impressed. And good catch on the Metro fare card. It’s almost worth it for me to go get one (even though I already have two permanent ones). And yeah, Panama deserved to advance–they played smarter, looked like a veteran team out there.

Look, I want the US to win everything it enters. But here’s the deal: the number of competitive, meaningful, “this counts” games that the USMNT will play between now and the kickoff to the WC you can probably count on two hands and maybe a foot (maybe). It’s a good thing for your young guys to know what it’s like to trail in an elimination game. Or to go to PKs–heck, that’s good experience for Turner! Maybe only 2-5 guys on this specific Gold Cup squad make our WC team. But this was a valuable experience for them. I’m not heart broken over our elimination–not because I don’t care. But because that loss (and how we lost) was valuable preparation for the WC. And between now and the WC kickoff, that needs to be the first and most important question for every USMNT game, result, player, tactics, and decision: does this help us for the WC?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x