Happy Friday, everyone!

New event, same result: D.C. United ousted by Union in Leagues Cup (Washington Post)
The Black-and-Red did fight Philadelphia Union to a 0-0 draw and lose on penalties, so this headline feels a little harsh.

D.C. United sign Panamanian National Team defender Éric Davis (D.C. United)
D.C. United sign Panamanian forward José Farjado from Club Atlético Independiente (D.C. United)
DCU making moves! This news may be old to those of you who watched the Leagues Cup game last night and saw Davis make his first appearance. Both players have signed contracts that run through this year, with options for 2024 and 2025.

The Big Story Day 15: Morocco and Colombia advance, Germany eliminated (The Equalizer)
The group stage of the World Cup is all wrapped up, and there have been some big surprises, including Germany’s elimination. Can’t wait to see what happens next. The knockout rounds kick off very early tomorrow morning.

USA vs. Sweden, 2023 World Cup: Scouting Sweden (Stars and Stripes FC)
The USWNT play their next game on Sunday morning, and they’re in for a tough one. Find out more about their longtime rivals, Sweden.

Minor league teams have the best names. Where is this energy in the big leagues? Anyway, the District Press staff had a field day with this Grade A team name (HT: Sarah), and I thought you all might too.

Retired guy joins English soccer investment party (Pro Soccer Wire)
I find this trend of American celebrities buying British soccer teams kind of weird. Do they know there are teams in the United States? Where they live?!? Anyway, Tom Brady is now a minority owner of Birmingham City.

Hey Spirits episode: Rain delay, first time goals, and our World Cup boundaries
With André off covering the World Cup, I am editing the podcast for the first time. So if the audio sucks, you know who to blame.

Both Loudoun United and D.C. United had midweek games, so there’s just a Spirit Challenge Cup match this weekend. I will be taking the opportunity of a lighter soccer weekend to go to Annapolis. Hope you all have fun as well!

Washington Spirit vs. Orlando PrideFri., Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. ETExploria StadiumParamount+

ByAnnie Elliott

Mostly writing about the Washington Spirit

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The irony with Brady investing in an English team is that there isn’t much business opportunity compared to an MLS team. The Premiership teams all either break even or lose cash on an operating basis. The valuation appreciation is smaller too. It’s more of a vanity purchase.

Meanwhile, MLS teams seem to operate on a small cash positive operating basis (although it’s hard to tell as the lines between the league and the teams are blurry and the owners own both the teams and the league) and the valuation is appreciating pretty quickly as you’d expect for a league that is still in its growth phase.


To be fair, Birmingham City are an underperforming club from England’s second biggest city who haven’t been in the premiership for over a decade. The complete waste of public money that is HS2 will get you from the middle of London to the middle of Birmingham in about the same time as it takes to get from Metro Center to Dulles on the metro. The consideration for 45.6% of the club was supposedly only something like $7million. Newcastle United meanwhile were just sold for close to half a billion.

Unless something catastrophic happens – which isn’t unheard of in the English lower leagues obviously – I’d say it’s a pretty decent investment.


I’m so unused to nuance in comments sections that the sentence on HS2 threw me for a loop. I wasn’t expecting the fiscal criticism to be followed so closely by a clear description of the project’s benefits.

Totally with you on Brady’s investment—investment around new infrastructure generally makes good sense.

Bryan McEachern

He can write off travel.


Well played!

I took the Metro from Bethesda to Dulles not so long after it opened — and track work had just begun, requiring getting on a shuttle bus to bridge the gap…and a very long ride home on a Sunday night (after a MUCH delayed flight) waiting for a bus and then waiting for train to leave (Metro operators were waiting for 20 minutes for the last shuttle bus of the night…and I was wondering if I’d be able to catch the last Red Line train). All of which is to say that the Dulles train would get more ridership if it were faster…and no rider would think it was a waste of tax dollars.


I took the Metro from my house in downtown Silver Spring to Dulles Airport on Tuesday morning. It was nice. Way better than taking a taxi even if it’s a little bit slower. It was very relaxing and very reliable. I saw a lot of people boarding it at the airport station, quite a few for when I got there at 8am on a Tuesday. Way better than fighting rush hour on the beltway in a $120 taxi trip.

Not a waste of tax dollars at all. It’s faster than it takes to get from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station (the Tokyo counterpart to Union Station is named “Tokyo Station”) For reference, Narita is Tokyo’s counterpart to Dulles; it is a large post-war airport built far, far outside the city because the older pre-war airport (DCA in our case and Haneda in Tokyo) didn’t have any room to expand flight capacity.


edit – I just saw that Tokyo has recently expanded Haneda so it’s now comparable to Narita. There are now directs from Dulles to Haneda where there were only direct flights ten years ago from the East Coast to Narita because Haneda did not have the capacity to handle domestic flights, flights to other east asian countries, and to the East Coast. So not a perfect analogy.

Let’s go with how long it takes to get from JFK to let’s say Grand Central/Penn Station on the Skytrain/Subway. It’s similar as the time it takes to get from Dulles to Metro Center.


Yeah the issues with HS2 are whether the extra time taken off is really worth the cost when London to Birmingham is already a decent line and the fact that they decided not to extend it further north where it might have greater benefit. It’s still pretty cool that you will be able to get almost the same distance as DC to Philly in less than an hour via public transport and for getting to soccer it’ll be fantastic.

And just to say, for other commenters, this wasn’t at all a dig at the metro, which I’m a big proponent of. Just an easy comparison for time.


Yep–a lot of big news. I’m with you Annie about the headline for the Nation’s Cup being a bit harsh. DCU was the better team in a very tactical and well-played game where both teams did an excellent job of frustrating each other. I thought how DCU used Asad and Hopkins was very clever by Rooney, utilized their skill sets well, and gave Philly lots of first half fits. Frankly, I found it kind of puzzling why Curtin would target Pines–I think he’s consistently been our best CB this season. To go after him rather than Hines-Ike or Williams–I don’t get it. But clearly they targeted Pines. I also thought it sucked that we were basically listening to Philly announcers on the Apple TV broadcast—I’ve got to get used to tuning in Dave Johnson.

And it’s a huge development about Germany going home. They were truly one of the contenders for this WC. And while the WWC has gotten more competitive, it’s still not as even as the men’s. So to see a major force like Germany go home (and the US women qualify by about 4 inches) is big stuff.


They targeted Pines because that worked last season. I’m surprised that Coach Curtin didn’t recognize that Pines wasn’t the problem, that the problem was that DC United used a system that made it vulnerable to weak side overloads. Pines was usually 1 on 2 in those games last year.


It nearly worked for Philly. Pines was beaten badly and the ball did wind up in the back of the net — waved off because the attacker fouled Pines as the 2 battled for position chasing the ball. Maybe Pines would’ve been able to clear it, or maybe not. We’ll never know. All of which is to say Pines has proven to be pretty vulnerable to Route 1 attack. You shouldn’t be surprised to see teams going after him.


I would say the chances for Pines being able to clear the ball were 70% on his favor. Correct call by the ref. He was close enough and with his long legs, he would have gotten there if he was not pulled down by the Philly player. The other 30% takes into account bad luck and Pines propensity for Bambi on ice mishaps. But, yes, Pines can have games where he looks brilliant and others where you are like covering your eyes to avoid the horror. He’s improved a lot this year, maybe next year, he’ll develop into a consistently good player.

David Rusk

I’m with Rooney. I thought that DC United played one of its best matches. Total turnaround from last season. Penalty kick shootout is always a crap shoot.

Ryan Hunt

I wasn’t able to watch the game, but I’m pleasantly surprised that we were able to hang in so well. Finishing remains an issue that I’m not sure Pirani can solve by himself but here’s hoping.

Overall the time off will be beneficial to let us bring in the new guys, get healthy, and refresh legs. The biggest let down of Leagues Cup for me was Roberthas inability to grasp his opportunity and the fact that Fletcher didn’t get an extended runout in any of the games. I know Fletchers not quite ready for prime time, but I wanted to see how he fit next to Benteke.


Fletcher has had some runouts previously and has not impressed. He’s still young and very raw. I think this fanbase seems something “special” one time from a home grown and immediately they are anointed as the next Andy Najar or Kevin Paredes. The sad fact is that most these guys don’t pan out. Look at Yow and Nyeman. Both transfered to second division Belgian teams for the equivalent of a bag of balls. Yow is now injured, but hardly made the bench last year and Nyeman is way down the depth chart at RSL. Fletcher and Greene “might” be good some day, but they are still young and smallish for the positions they play. We’ll see. OTOH, spending time in Loudoun clearly benefited Hopkins who looks quicker both mentally and physically since he returned. With Fajardo coming in, Fletcher should go down to Loudoun and play regularly, same with Greene. Samake can be the depth behind Davis and Santos because sending him to Loudoun won’t make him any better than he is.

Matt Glad

Is it me or does DC seem to hold
Into to it’s young players for maybe too long and aren’t good enough at developing them? I remember that Nyeman spent preseason with Dortmund and they may have low-balled DC on a price for him, but seeing so many roster spots occupied by long-term projects that either aren’t developing or DC just isn’t paying attention to is frustrating. Didn’t Fletcher also spend preseason with a European club? Why not just establish yourself as a seller of solid youth talent (ala Dallas) so your players can actually have growth during their careers?


I disagree. It’s not so much that DCU holds on to youth players too long. In fact, we’ve lost guys like Bryang Kayo. When Hamid was a youth, we had another GK who instead went to Porto.

The larger issue is that youth usually haven’t gotten PT (unless we were really bad and Najar or Parades was better than most of our veterans). We didn’t do a good job attracting youth to our academy, we got a late start with LU, we have been slow to promote and then play/develop our youth. And because (until the last two years), we’ve been a team on a budget, we were forced to add youth to the roster (they just didn’t play).

I agree that we could be a seller of talent. But we’re not there yet. We’re not Philly (or Dallas), clubs that sell 1-2 players to Europe every year and also have 2-3 youth players graduate to the senior roster (and then some of those players are sold overseas in 2 years). Philly really is the model on this for us.

I remember Kevin Payne talking about how he saw DCU eventually being a club where we had 7 starters from our academy, 1-2 starters acquired via the draft or within MLS (ie: someone else developed them), and then 2 guys who we’d purchased from overseas and either were big names or filled really critical roles.

Ryan Hunt

I’m not arguing that Fletcher is at the level of Najar/Paredes at this age, they were special talents and deserved heavy first team opportunities. I do question the value of keeping him with DC right now instead of loaning him down to Loudon. Very few young players make the leap from prospect to impact player without decent playing time. Nyeman and Yow, in my opinion, were both stunted in their growth by pulling them up from Loudon too soon.

They also suffered from not really having a “best” position identified yet (and sometimes a players best position doesn’t fit the system a coach is using). A problem which Hopkins and Fletcher have also suffered from. Hopkins recent loan down seems to have given him both more confidence and a better grasp of what role he can fill on the team. I’m hopeful that Fletcher can be given a similar opportunity of Rooney doesn’t think he’s ready for time, and it seems likely that Rooney doesn’t based on his sub selections.


We did more than “hang in.” We caused tactical problems for Philly. DCU was the better team.

And yes, Robertha is someone who–on paper–should be a huge asset. Tall, fast, quick, pretty decent technical ability, enough time in MLS so adjusting to the league/travel/culture shouldn’t be an issue. But he’s never put it together on the field. With Taxi out (and probably gone), he’s got a real opportunity and he’s failing to seize it. Unlike TKDP.

Ryan Hunt

Good to know how we did! Like I said, I didn’t watch the game so I was just going off the result.

Will Nelson

The US Eagles (Senior national team 15s for both men and women) Men’s team begins its summer tour this weekend with a game against Romania in Bucharest. They’ve played Romania 9 times since the first match against them in the 1924 Olympics. The US record against Romania is 7W 2L 0D. This is the first Rugby World Cup warmup match for Romania.

After playing Romania the Eagles will travel to face Portugal in Algarve on the 12th and then travel to Tbilisi to face Georgia on the 19th. The Portugal match is being regarded as a revenge match as the 16-16 draw between the teams last November saw Portugal advance to the Men’s Rugby World Cup and the US knocked out.

Of note is that the Men’s Rugby World Cup this fall will be the first without a team from North America competing.

Normally August would be what in Int’l Rugby Union is called a Regulation 9 Window where club teams are required to release players to play with national teams. However, with the Rugby World Cup this fall this August is not a Regulation 9 Window so clubs aren’t required to release players. For the US those players currently in season haven’t been released. So the roster named for this tour by interim head coach Scott Lawrence is young and MLR heavy.


Last edited 3 months ago by Will Nelson

Glad to see/read that we didn’t get slaughtered as I predicted. I wasn’t able to catch the game, hopefully I can get my stream to work today.


Here’s the highlights of last night’s game in Chester:


Looks like some decent moments, highlights and performance by many.


I think it’s worth watching the entire game if you’ve got that access. Fascinating chess match between the coaches. I thought Hopkins did a lot of really good stuff. Davis impressed me in limited minutes. I think we’re looking at Klich transitioning to more of a box-to-box midfielder (which he’d be superb at).


Not sure where to put this: Athletic and Post are reporting that Taxi and DCU are parting ways. DCU is going to terminate the contract. That frees up a substantial amount of budget BUT we can only sign players who are out of contract.

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