Happy Thursday, everyone. The USWNT take on Colombia tonight, so before we get set to watch the ladies take the field, we start with a preview:

USA vs. Colombia, 2023 Friendly: What to watch for (SSFC)

The USWNT have a 27-person roster, including several Spirit players. I’m intrigued by the overall matchup as well as who could see the field.

WATCH: Red Bulls run over Charlotte FC in Wild Card rout (MLS)

The New York Red Bulls destroy Charlotte FC and Sporting Kansas City win on penalties over the San Jose Earthquakes to advance to the best-of-3 1st round of the MLS Cup Playoffs

USA midfielder Johnny Cardoso set to join Real Betis (ESPN)

USMNT midfielder Johnny Cardoso appears to be headed to Real Betis in the summertime from the Brasileiro.

Speaking of the USMNT, this sparked some debate online today. Who you got: 2014 USMNT or 2023 USMNT?

Barcelona apologize over deleted Vinicius Junior ‘clown’ post (ESPN)

Once again, a Spanish team makes Vinicius Jr. the subject of something disrespectful. Unbelievable that this keeps happening.

Josef Martinez is leaving Inter Miami. Do you think D.C. United should pursue him this offseason?

Sadio Mané set to buy French club Bourges Foot 18 (ESPN)

Sadio Mané is taking ownership of a 4th division French club. Pretty cool to see players investing in the game while they’re still playing.

Steve Birnbaum puts together a great piece for The Players’ Tribune on his work with DC Scores. Birnbaum, our captain, and the heart of this team.

Wayne Rooney has been the coach of Birmingham City for a couple of matches now, and so far things are…not going well.

Meanwhile, Ben Olsen is loving life in Houston, and he’s saying thank you to the Dynamo fans in a truly Ben Olsen way.

Oosa Oosa Oosa Ah!

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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Well, I don’t know if it was Ben’s idea or a PR gimmick by someone in marketing by the “Beers on Ben” deal rings so true to my sense of who Ben Olsen is as a person and organizational rep. What a class act he is. I’m so happy to see him succeed in Houston.

I think the answer on Josef Martinez is that it depends on who the coach is and what system we play. That said, I personally think he’s past it and we shouldn’t be interested in him.

The two wildcard results were consistent with what I expected–Charlotte can’t defend and KC is on a roll.


I think my feeling on the Josef prospect is that he’d be a DP, no, but if he’d be TAM or lower, then sure why not. I think I’d rather the team get a young DP so they can actually use all 3 of the allowed U22 spots, which they wouldn’t be able to do if Josef comes in as a DP. But if he’s willing to take a pay cut and be a TAM player, then I think he could actually help get some goals


From what I’ve read from Atlanta folks, he physically can’t do what he was once capable of. So I’d pass on him unless he was coming in as a backup on a modest salary… he’d definitely be an immense upgrade over everyone we’ve had on the bench in a long time. He can score, just not move as well as he used to.


He could absolutely get some goals–he’s still a dangerous guy in the box. But he doesn’t defend, he doesn’t win balls, he’s not fast, he’s not a good distributor. He’s a good acquisition for (a) the right price and (b) the right system. For us, I can’t see starting him next to Benteke. So while it’s a little unclear what our system will be next year, I just don’t see Benteke and Martinez starting next to each other.

Last edited 1 month ago by JoeW
Bryan McEachern

A poor fit. You nailed it.

Brendan Cartwright

Josef Martinez is maybe the fiercest competitor over the last five years in MLS. He scores goals and lets nothing stop him.

Except maybe time and and injuries. He’s only 30, but he scored only 7 goals last year while making $4.3 million. That’s half the production of Benteke for about the same cost. For the price, I think we can do better.

Bryan McEachern

You can manage my portfolio.


Josef Martinez is leaving Inter Miami. Do you think D.C. United should pursue him this offseason?

Depends heavily on the GM and then the coach. Without those it’s hard to impossible to answer this.

Talonesque #

I think the answer would be, no, cuz the question is who do you play centrally, Martinez or Benteke. I’d much rather have Benteke up top at this point, and Martinez does not share.


So, I know we half expected this with Garber’s comments this summer, but it appears to be clear that MLS is exploring how to either limit or completely get out of participating in the US Open Cup. There’s a survey on their MLS Center Circle fan survey site about the tournaments that MLS Clubs participate in, with several questions that are only questions you ask if you are trying to see how negatively people would react to withdrawing from the tournament. Questions like (and paraphrasing because I went and submitted my answers before copying) ‘How do you perceive the quality of soccer in the US Open Cup’ and ‘Would you still watch if MLS sent second team players to the Open Cup’ and ‘Would you still watch if MLS didn’t participate.”

I’m not surprised, just disappointed, I guess. It’s very much in line with our other discussions around corporatization and impersonal attitudes of soccer clubs across the board. It clearly interferes with their view of the money-makers that they are trying to construct out of Leagues Cup, etc., at the expense of history, tradition, clubs outside of MLS, etc.

Brendan Cartwright

Ugh. I’d much rather keep the US Open Cup than Leagues Cup, but MLS doesn’t have a hand in the Open Cup. And I’ve already been watching my team send second team players to that tournament.


The MLS gets the revenue from the Leagues Cup. They don’t get anywhere near as much from the Open Cup and Open Cup gate and concessions is usually poor as well.

I see from an economic standpoint why they’d prefer the Leagues Cup.

I think the bigger issue with the Open Cup is the league needs fewer regular season games and they don’t want to do that so they’re looking for some way to get out of the Open Cup to cut games.


Not a fan of US Open Cup, it’s never caught my attention. I think the USSF needs to do a better job at marketing this tournament. I would watch when it was on ESPN+ but this year I wasn’t sure where to watch. It needs to be more accessible and especially when USL League 1 teams enter. It wouldn’t bother me if we had less involvement or no involvement but it definitely needs more attention.

Last edited 1 month ago by PapiShmpoo

Goff is reporting that Pines is considering leaving DC, with interest in Europe or through free agency in MLS. There doesn’t seem to be any animosity – his agent says we’re in flux and haven’t engaged in talks since the summer.

I’m not sure on his prospects in Europe, but I can see him thriving under a stable coaching staff.

Brendan Cartwright

The way I was reading that is that Pines (or more specifically, his agent) is keeping all options open for maximum leverage. Which is totally his perogative. And United has had some discussions, but nothing too serious lately because they need to bring in the GM and coach. And that makes sense too.

I’d love to have Pines back. I think he’d be happy to return, too. Just depends on what the plan for the club is.

Ryan Hunt

It would be a shame if he left. He made some good progress this year – maybe Brillants influence? – and I think that with a vocal leader next to him then he could be MLS Best XI. All the skills are there, just needs to work on concentration and consistency, both of which a Ryan Nelsen type player could help a ton with.

That said, Pines is absolutely right to explore options. There’s no guarantee the next coach will rate him because….well….


Martinez? Hard pass, he’s done. Even Messi couldn’t resurrect his career. As for Pines, he is a disaster with the ball at his feet. At 24, I just don’t know if any amount of coaching can fix that in an environment like England or Belgium where the emphasis is always “win now.”


Just saw on Twitter that Teddy KDP scored a (late) winning goal for the USYNT in the PanAm games (I think that’s what they’re called). Good to see both KDP and Hopkins doing well out there

Brendan Cartwright

Teddy KDP scored the winner against Honduras in the Pan American Games. The guy just keeps building. Great stuff from him!

Brendan Cartwright

Diego Restrepo just announced that he’s leaving the club. The only coach left is Fred Brillant, who recently gave an interview saying that Wayne Rooney had promised to take him with him to whatever new job he got, then went to Birmingham with Pete Shuttleworth and Carl Robinson but didn’t talk to Brillant.

This is all good for the new coach, having a clean slate to bring in his own assistants (except for maybe Fred). We also need to assume that ownership will approve the coach’s picks.


I really do hope Fred sticks around. Part of me wants to see him get a shot at head coach, but I think he could make a really good long-term assistant too (kinda like a new Ashton)

Brendan Cartwright

He’d at least be a good anchor to the institutional knowledge and United’s past. The one thread that doesn’t make it an absolute clean slate.

I don’t think he’s ready for the head coaching shot, but I’d be fine having him as an assistant again. He’s always represented the club well (although that interview was with an NYCFC interviewer).

Bryan McEachern

Fred is a keeper, I mean a fullback, I mean a good assistant coach…

Will Nelson

The draw for Men’s Rugby World cup 2027 is going to be a year and a half before the tourney in January 2026.

The draw will divide the 24 participants into six pools of four teams each. This will see the draw made before regional qualifiers have ended. It will be a draw of two worlds. On the one hand, the twelve automatic qualifiers from RWC 2023 will be there by name. On the other hand, Regional qualifiers will be listed as Africa 1, Europe 1, Europe 2 and so on.


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