Top of the morning to you all! I’m completing the switch Annie and I had this week due to our travel schedules, and I’m glad it worked out where both of us were able to give you the good stuff on these Freedom Kicks. Yesterday had some real notable news worth sharing, so here we go:

October USMNT roster announced by Gregg Berhalter (SSFC)

Gio Reyna is back on the USMNT squad after he and Gregg Berhalter mend fences. Also, in DCU circles, Kevin Paredes is back on the squad.

MLS announces nominees for 2023 Year-End Awards (MLS)

Lionel Messi was nominated for MLS MVP AND MLS Newcomer of the Year. I’ma let y’all handle this one.

Lionel Messi named to Argentina squad for World Cup qualifiers (ESPN)

Speaking of which, Messi is back on the Argentina squad despite not having played in a few weeks.

Morocco and Spain battling to host 2030 World Cup final (ESPN)

Morocco and Spain want to host the 2030 World Cup final. Only one of them can. It will be interesting to see which one will get the chance, with Morocco having a chance to becoming only the 2nd African nation to host a World Cup final.

PSG quartet land suspended bans for offensive chants (BBC)

4 of PSG’s players engaged in an offensive chant directed at Marseille, with the chant including homophobic lyrics. Those players were suspended for a game, while the supporters section at Parc des Princes must be vacant for a match.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone! Vamos Spirit tonight!

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 don’t think that even a win does too much to salvage United’s season tomorrow, but I’m just trying to remember when the last time was that the team faced a “must win” game and actually got the job done? Against Philly in the 2019 Open Cup?

Will Nelson

2013 USOC?

Brendan Cartwright

That was definitely the most “must win” game. But they also beat New England in a play in game in the playoffs, so I’d count that. But needing to get into the playoffs? Or beating a crummy team to secure home field advantage? Or beating a crummy team in general? Or beating a team on shorter rest?

It just doesn’t happen very often.


I feel like DC has a habit of doing the exact opposite. This year is a great example. Steamrolling Cincy at home and also putting up a good fight in Cincy? Unexpected at best. Getting demolished by teams beneath the playoff line that either havent won in like 2 months (Austin) or have scored like 7 total goals all season (NYRB)? Also unexpected. Its like they’re better at games they should have no business winning

Will Nelson

Its like they play up or down to the opponent for the most part this year with a couple of exceptions. The Chicago Fire beat down is one and the other one I can think of is the 3-0 win over Charlotte back in April.


Versus Orlando in 2018. The one with the Rooney assist to Acosta. Might be the last I remember.

Brendan Cartwright

That whole second half of the season in 2018 was pretty much must win, because the road trip to start the thing had gone pretty abysmally. And damned if United didn’t put together one of its most entertaining stretches of soccer in its history, and win all the games it needed to!

Right up until the playoff game against Columbus, when Rooney and Acosta both couldn’t convert PKs, before DeLeon blasted his into lower orbit.

That’s still the only MLS playoff game at Audi Field, and its sixth season as a stadium is winding up tomorrow.

Bryan McEachern

Spain and Morocco duke it out for the World Cup final hosting rights. Spain pays more lucrative bribes and is awarded the final. Not to ever fail to recognize economic opportunity through diversification, FIFA announces considering Madrid or Barcelona as the host stadium for the ultimate match…..


If Spain hosts it’s going to be in Madrid. There is a lot of animosity towards Barcelona and Catalonia at the national level.

Spain should be a no brainer for the finals, but my guess Morocco will use other channels to make it interesting. Morocco’s largest stadium only seats 45,000 which Madrid has two that seat double that.


I can’t wait to go to the DC United game tomorrow and have fun! I think it’ll be a good game. Let’s play soccer and worry about points later. And hopefully finish a chance or two.

Even if DC United misses the playoffs, it’s been a big improvement over 2022. I am hoping that Coach Rooney gets another year to keep building. I also hope that GM Kasper moves into anther role. My guess is that is what is holding up announcing a new deal for Coach Rooney. I think he wants to replace Kasper with someone of his input. He is rightfully disappointed with the mid season signings. Nobody in that group that is a second finisher to distract the opposing defense from Benteke. It is the one thing DC United lacked after losing O’Brian to the loan and Fountas to him being a racist asshole. It was not addressed at all and it’s a big part of why so many winnable games ended as draws, sinking the season.

Brendan Cartwright

If I don’t go to the game tomorrow – and I doubt that I will – this will be the first season since 2007 (maybe 2006) that I haven’t seen a game in person.


Morocco and Spain want to host the 2030 World Cup final. Only one of them can.”

Turns out that wasn’t accurate.


I think they mean the final game of the tournament.


I’m resigned to DCU missing the playoffs. I think the team plays hard. But the last month it’s been pretty clear that we needed to perform and that hasn’t happened. I”m mystified by how the defense has suddenly become so incompetent.

Regarding the WC, what a mess. Canada is going to get an automatic bid and right now, their FA is a joke. The idea of a WC that is simultaneously in Uruguay, Spain, and Morocco–that makes a mockery of the idea of a central base. We go from Qatar to instead–3 continents? I know, I know–2026 has the US, Mexico, and Canada. There could be some ugly travel there. But at least it’s 4 time zones.

I’m torn about Messi being nominated for MVP. Clearly he turned around Miami’s season. But he could end up playing less than 10 games in league competition and Miami fails to make the playoffs.


2026 isn’t too bad for travel if they do it right. I’m assuming adding South America is to knock the whole confederation out of bidding for 2034.

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