Happy Friday, everyone! Summer is almost over, and with our U.S. soccer seasons winding down, there’s not a lot of news to share, but here’s what I found:

USWNT legend Julie Ertz played her final soccer match last night, in a friendly against South Africa that the U.S. won 3-0. The team tried their best to get Ertz one of her classic header goals but settled for a Lynn Williams brace and a great finish by Trinity Rodman.

It’s a big weekend for USWNT friendlies: Sunday’s game will be Megan Rapinoe’s last international match.

Gabriel Pirani made the Team of the Matchday bench after his goal against Atlanta United. Ben Olsen also earned a nod for his team’s performance on Wednesday.

Messi talked retirement (no plans yet), Copa America, and the next Men’s World Cup, as reported by Pro Soccer Wire.

Although Rubiales and Vilda have left RFEF, Spain’s Women’s National Team is still fighting for change. In advance of today’s match against Sweden, Alexia Putellas and Irene Paredes spoke about the federation calling them into camp, despite their previous statement that they were boycotting the National Team until changes were made, effectively forcing the players to play.

The NWSL is off this week for a FIFA window, so here are the details for D.C. and Loudoun United games this weekend. Have a good one!

Loudoun United FC vs. Louisville City FCSat., Sep. 23 at 6:30 p.m. ETSegra FieldESPN+
D.C. United vs. NY Red BullsSat., Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. ETAudi FieldApple TV

ByAnnie Elliott

Mostly writing about the Washington Spirit

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Appalling stunt by the RFEF. And so many people think this is just about “a kiss”–they don’t get about how the Spanish women have been pushing for progress for over a decade (and the RFEF) has shut them down, banned or blacklisted players. And now this stunt (calling them up last minute). Some of the players were overseas (clubs outside of Spain), heard about the call-up via the media, had to make their own arrangements to get to the camp.

Ertz was a beast. Just amazing range, judgment, ball-winning capability. Very rare to see a CB or DM who got “stuck in” so frequently yet picked up so few cards. We’ll see better players technically. But I’m not sure the USWNT will ever see a player with this mix of attributes ever again.

Kudos to Pirani. And also Benny. Boy Houston looks good–and they aren’t really that talented.

Bryan McEachern

Ertz was incredible. Total Hall of Fame caliber. Few in the world have her impact on the game, nor the consistency.

Brendan Cartwright

I’m in Hawaii and it’s 3:30 in the morning, but I just got here so I’m still on Eastern time, and just thinking about what DC can do to improve itself next year.

Goalkeeper – seems set. No notes. Miller was pretty good (though we may want to scale back the wandering), and Bono has really impressed. Even the staff seems high on Zamudio at 3.

Fullbacks – The teams seems to play better when Najar is on the field, but as always, he’s not very durable. Ruan has been a good pickup. He’s not consistent as a crosser, but he’s picked up six assists in 20 games. And he brings speed which this team often lacks. On the other side… Eric Davis has seemed pretty decent, but he’s also old. Pedro Santos has mostly just seemed old. There’s a wild card in Mohanad Jeahze’s return. He never looked special, but the team was pretty high on him when they sought him out. I guess it’s mostly just gravy if he comes back and does well, because the team didn’t really miss him. Would love to see Jacob Greene getting some more time, but I think he’s more comfortable on the right.

Center backs – Goff reports that they’re talking with Pines on a new contract, and that’s good. He’s had a career year, although he still seems to have an issue with not making a confounding play. Birnbaum will be back, and he’s been fine. Williams has been really good, and Hines-Ike has returned from his injury. Matai Akinmboni is waiting in the wings, and I’m seriously considering buying a Hayden Sargis jersey so nobody forgets him. I think we’re pretty good here, although if we decide that we want to move to a three back system, it would probably be a good idea to have one more guy.

Defensive midfielders – Canouse has been quietly excellent all year. If he comes back next year, he’s got a shot at moving into the top 10 of games played by a United player. Durkin… has been pretty good. He tries hard and gamely moves all over the place, and he occasionally gets a nice goal. I think this is an area to try and improve. Weirdly, Jeremy Garay is one of the more veteran guys on this squad, and yet he’s totally MIA.

Central midfielders – Gabriel Pirani seems like a guy whose loan we should really try to make permanent. He’s not a jaw-dropping midfield maestro, but he connects well, and you can see a lot of the potential. If he can grow and be increasingly productive, then we can use our DP slot somewhere else. Speaking of DPs, we’ll list Mateusz Klich here. I always feel like I want a little bit more out of him, but he’s got as many assists as Hany Mukhtar, and more than Riqui Puig. He’s getting older, and plays a ton of minutes, but I suspect he’ll still be good next year.

Wingers – Does this team even really have wingers? Teddy KDP maybe? Jackson Hopkins? Yamil Asad? Cristian Dajome? This might be where we should get our DP. Give the team a wide threat, and if they can also cross into Benteke, so much the better. I think Ku Di-Pietro needs to become a foundational piece of the team next year, and hopefully Hopkins can take a step forward too.

Striker – Benteke looked past it last year, but has been much better this year. There’s no target man like him in MLS. He’s a gravity well, and the focus of United’s offense. He’s winning balls at an elite rate, but his finishing has always been kind of dicey. He’s got 10 goals, but also plenty of bad misses. He’ll be here again next year, and be the focus again, for better or for worse. Because he’s such a gravity pull against opposing defenses, the rest of the team needs to take advantage of that. And United needs to find a striker that he can play with. He never really meshed with Taxi, but Taxi was at least a good goalscorer. Fajardo and Robertha are other big bodies, but just aren’t seeming to really contribute much. Kristian Fletcher is doing some nice work with the Swansea academy side, so hopefully he can be an option next year.

So, what do we need to do? I mean it’s mostly off the field stuff like hire a GM, shitcan Dave Kasper, and figure out if Rooney’s going to be our coach or somebody else. On the field, purchase Pirani, get our impact third DP (on the wing?), and coach up the kids. We have a decent amount of cash coming off the books, and if we can get some international signings that are contributors (instead of invisible like Robertha, Jeahze, Ravel, etc), we could have something. Not a title contender, but… something.

Ryan Hunt

The most important thing will be to establish the GM/coach so we have a general idea what formation to build towards. I’m going to assume either a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 so I think this is along the lines of what we should be aiming for:

– Gk is fine. Not great but other spots need more work.

– At CB we should only keep a max 2 of Birnbaum/Williams/BHI. All three are getting older and two of them have struggled for fitness. Ideally we keep one, bring in a stud CB to partner Pines/mentor Matai.

– FB will mostly depend on if they think Greene can develop and if Jeahze will be a contributor. If yes to both of those, then I think we’re fine.

– CDM needs a backup to Canouse at the 6 spot. Durkin should be Klich’s backup/super sub as an 8. He looks better there as opposed to being the deepest midfielder.

– CAM should be Pirani starting with Hopkins as backup instead of Asad. Hopkins has looked way better when played centrally as opposed to out wide.

– Wingers will partially depend on Rodriquez returning. If he looks good to go then we have him, KDP, and hopefully a new DP as the players there. Need one more for depth ideally, but Fletcher might provide it.

– Striker needs someone pushing Benteke. If we lose on Saturday then we should really focus on trying to see if Fajardo or Robertha can fill that role.

Players I definitely don’t want back next year: Santos, Samake, Dajome, Robertha. These are mostly concerned with injury/age/wage factors.

The roster is in better shape than last year, but it still needs 3-5 good players coming in. Especially if the youth isn’t ready to step up.

Brendan Cartwright

I forgot about Rodriguez. I never saw how long his contract was for, so if he’s around next year anyway than I guess see what he can do. But we need an addition besides just getting him back.

The roster overall is better, and Wayne has certainly put his stamp on it. But it seems like getting the players Wayne wants isn’t always a good thing. There’s just a lot of wasted spaces. Paying Ravel, having to cut bait with Taxi, losing O’Brien and Palsson, Rodriguez and Jeahze gone to long term injuries, and then none of the homegrown prospects progressing besides Ku-DiPietro. Asad and Robertha are there to… do stuff?

Injuries and underperformances happen. But if we can find a way to minimize those, get some better production from a couple of those roster slots, we could be a much more fun team.


I think you guys are being way too harsh on Asad. While he isn’t what he used to be, I find him more useful than Robertha. At least Asad tries to pressure and hassle and he can provide quality passes from time to time, and unlike Fajardo, in Wednesday’s game he actually had one of his shots on goal. Granted it was at the keeper but that is much better than Fajardo missing badly, though he’s a forward and scoring goals is supposed to be part of his job description. But I will say this, I’m puzzled as to why Rooney refuses to give Hopkins at least 10 minutes a game. In the last three games he played for the team, he was decent.

Ryan Hunt

Oh I’m fine with Asad as depth. He can play multiple positions and is on a cheap deal.

If he can get his fitness sorted then he might be able to push for a starting role, he’s got the soccer iq and ball control to do it, but he needs the team around him to do most of the running if he starts right now and I’d rather have a winger with some speed.


This has essentially been my view of Asad. He’s becoming more of an NDL/Ulises Segura type that can just be thrown pretty much anywhere on the field and you’ll get a “fine to good” performance out of him. Generally not gonna light it up, generally not gonna screw it up. He also really seems to love the team (not really something we see a ton of) and generally seems like a good locker room guy. At his price point, he’s valuable to have


Same here. He shouldn’t be getting as many minutes as he has been – if not for injuries and departures he might stay on the bench more. It doesn’t seem like any of the young guys other than Ted are in Rooney’s plans, so maybe we’ll have a veteran that can do his job.

Bryan McEachern

1) Enjoy Hawaii
2) We have simply never filled the Arriola vacuum, wing play is tepid. Invest here.

Will Nelson

So Instant Replay took a look at the called off PK. Apparently the offside was on Hines-Ike. He starts in an offside position and ends up challenging for the ball along with Pines thus offsides and play is dead. Though Wiebe thinks if it wasn’t offside for that then it was handball against Atlanta and a PK. https://youtu.be/sek7okFtEc4?si=vViG3DUHxy2mPDt3

Last edited 2 months ago by Will Nelson

I replied to Jason Anderson when he brought up this play during the game, but my thought on it was that, while the decision to overturn the penalty may have been the “correct” call, and I can acknowledge that, the fact that it took 2 VAR checks and several minutes to come to that conclusion means that it was not clear an obvious. If you have to look at 6 different replays and stills of it and it still takes you 2 or 3 minutes to figure it out…it should just stand as called


I was one of many booing as the ref continued to exam the VAR screen. Certainly, it couldn’t have been a clear and obvious error.

I haven’t seen the replays, but I believe the crux of the offside rule is whether the team gained an advantage in some way. If Hines-Ike attempted to play the ball but it in no way affected what any defenders did, I think it might a bit gratuitous to waive off a goal.

Will Nelson

Unfortunately, it looks like Hines-Ike backed into the defender between him and Pines who was also challenging for the ball.

Brendan Cartwright

Mateusz Klich and Chris Durkin both have 9 career assists with DC United. Who will get to double digits first? No better time than against the Red Bulls!


Someone in the Goff gamer was trying to argue that Klick doesn’t do anything for DCU that Durkin can’t do. I think that statistic pretty much speaks for itself given the different length of tenure. 92 games and 67 starts and 6060+ minutes for Durkin. 28 games and 27 starts and 2360+ minutes for Klich.

Brendan Cartwright

Apparently Audi Field has been the easiest place for opponents to get points in all of MLS over this season and last year. It makes some sense from last year, since we were the worst team in the league. But it’s another area that needs to improve. Wayne’s strategy to get into the playoffs after the last Red Bulls game was to “win our home games,” and we’re 1-1-2 at Audi since then.

Some would say the key is calling it Buzzard Point. Others would just say that along with improving the roster, improving our home form would go a LONG way to making the team competitive again.

David Rusk

Since Audi sponsors several MLS-wide trophies and competitions, visiting sides must feel more at home in “Audi Field” than elsewhere. All the more reason to call our home pitch by its true, soccer-gods given name of “Buzzard Point.”


I mean, imagine the terror in the hearts of opponents as they prepare to resist DC United’s pressure at Buzzard’s Point!

Michael Carter

Hines-Ike lucky indeed. Has not looked good, outside of some crisis defensive moments, with Birnbaum and Williams out. Might be better suited playing him as part of a back three.

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