Hello, it’s Friday! Lots to read and talk about today, so let’s get going.

Loudoun United FC sign veteran midfielder Drew Skundrich through 2025 (LUFC)
After a season with Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, Skundrich is returning to the DMV to play with Loudoun for the next two. This is also big news for Spirit fans, as Skundrich is married to midfielder Andi Sullivan.

Rob Vincent joins First Team coaching staff (Riverhounds)
Another former DCU player, Rob Vincent, has been hired as an assistant coach by USL Championship team, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.

Linehan: Gotham FC misses its moment with fans despite NWSL Championship win (The Athletic)
NJ/NY Gotham FC has come under a lot of criticism by responding to their first Championship by planning exactly no celebrations with their fans. It’s a little reminiscent of the Spirit’s lackluster response when they won a few years ago, but at least they had the excuse of an ongoing ownership battle.

Is the USMNT starting to phase out MLS players? (Pro Soccer Wire)
Seth Vertelney takes a look at the number of call-ups of MLS players to the US squad over the past couple of years and notes a potentially concerning trend.

USWNT midfielder Sam Mewis shares update on her knee injury (Just Women’s Sports)
Mewis’s return to professional soccer continues to look unlikely. Very sad for such an incredible player.

That’s all for now, but there’s lots coming up next week, including NWSL free agents becoming free to sign with new teams on Monday and Thanksgiving on Thursday! Have a good weekend!

ByAnnie Elliott

Mostly writing about the Washington Spirit

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I spent almost the last 2 hours trying to comment on the Washington Post article about the T&T game but couldn’t their website to accept it on any of the 3 browsers I tried. Frustrating.

I guess I’ll attempt to carve my message on this tree over here and see if someone reads it while wandering throught the woods…

I watched Telemundo’s double feature of Argentina v Uruguay followed by USA v T&T.

Late in the 1st game Uruguay showed how deadly a counterattack can be when Messi was dispossesed dribbling at the top of the penalty area and – about 2 touches later – Darwin Nunez was running onto a thru ball and bearing down on Argentina’s goal to beat Emiliano Martinez with a hard low shot thru the legs. 0-2 at Boca Juniors stadium and the game was over.

Trinidad & Tobago does not have any players of that caliber. Gregg Berhalter should have noticed that T&T was going to defend from a deep bunker and adjusted his tactics by halftime at the latest. There was no reason to stick with a 4-3-3 lineup when the opponent is down to 10 players and only occasionally attacking with a single player.

While the US completely dominated possession, that rarely led to threatening scoring opportunities. Antonee Robinson, Serginho Dest, Musah and McKennie and a central defender – any could have benched for the tactical benefits of a pure attacking dribbler that could take on and beat multiple defenders. Get a good dribbler to the endline to lay a pass back to a supporting runner for a hard onside shot on goal. Take more shots from outside the area to loosen up the defense. Those are the typical ways of breaking down a bunker. The US players tried the mid-range shots but Berhalter should have put more pure attackers on the field earlier to break T&T’s bunker.

Aaronson and someone like Luca de la Torre would have more useful at that point than some of the more defensively skilled players. We will need them greatly when facing someone like Holland or Mexico but should sacrifice defense for offense when facing an opponent that is purely defensive.

Pepl’s flicked near post goal was very nice. ARob did well taking his shot that deflected off the defender. And Gio Reyna’s goal followed a very nice passing sequence. But the US shouldn’t have to wait til the final 10 minutes to look dangerous.

Kevin Paredes has plenty of upside and is still improving but at this point isn’t yet better than an “old” MLS vet like Paul Arriola or Jordan Morris.

Late in the game, but before the goals, Tab Ramos said the US team looked “stuck and boring” compared to when the same team was coached by BJ Callaghan. Estancado y aburrido – if I recall correctly.

Talonesque #

The USMNT game was a relief by the end, but tense as all get out for the vast majority. T&T ran out of steam down to ten men (no controversy on the double yellows, both were reckless on McKennie). Still, the team did not break down the opposition well enough, at least till Pepi deflected in a fine shot.

Tillman had a dreadful game on the wing, and our boy Parades marginally missed out on making plays he’ll make in the future. Balogun is a classy talent, but needs to adapt his game to be more than a run in behind off the shoulder player. The score line was good enough, the play for most of it less so.

Bummed I’ll likely miss the FS1 match between France and the U17 boys, but will hopefully enjoy seeing it after I get back from a trip. For those that can see it, 7 AM tomorrow morning (Saturday) on FS1!

Brendan Cartwright

The Colorado Rapids have hired Chris Armas as their coach. I really feel for Rapids fans. They’ve been through a lot, and so for their sakes I hope Armas works out. But mostly I’m happy that United won’t be hiring him. Now, that certainly doesn’t mean United can’t screw up their coaching hire, but at least they won’t screw it up this way.

Talonesque #

Poor organizations gonna poor.


I know how that ends, DC is going to get him fired again.

Brendan Cartwright

Fingers crossed.

Brendan Cartwright

Jose Fajardo scored a really nice goal for Panama last night against Costa Rica. Right now, United has three kind of big, kind of energetic forwards on its roster to play off Benteke. There’s Fajardo, Nigel Robertha, and Erik Hurtado (who just had his 32nd birthday). Having three is pretty redundant, and there’s a good chance that all three aren’t on the roster anymore.

Robertha has actually scored the most goals, and can (sort of) play wider. But he’s the most expensive, and he takes up an international slot. He could possibly get a green card before next year, but he’s also had a hard time staying healthy, and even when he’s gotten playing time, he has never looked super dangerous.

Fajardo has good energy, and had a goal or two that were called back for offsides. He’s been much better with the Panamanian team than he’s looked for United. He would definitely take up an international slot.

Hurtado is the cheapest option, and domestic. He had a nice goal against Montreal in Leagues Cup, and I think he had another one against NYCFC that got called back for offsides.

Of these three, which – if any – would you want to see return? Or should United try and find another big, energetic striker to go along with Benteke? Or ditch that approach altogether and lean more on guys like Ku-DiPietro and Kristian Fletcher?


None of the above.


The Premier League has learned from well from the NCAA* of all places with the punishment of Everton. Even though Man City has 115 of the same violation that Everton has one count of.

* The old canard about NCAA punishment was “They’re mad a Kentucky’s violations so they gave Cleveland State probation so everyone knows they’re serious”.

Brendan Cartwright

Goff is reporting that Ally Mackay from Nashville is the new GM for DC. Nashville has historically been good at finding players within MLS and hit a home run with Hany Mukhtar as a DP signing. Their other DPs (outside of Walker Zimmerman) have been pretty shitty.

Mackay was probably third on my personal preference list out of him, Tall of Columbus, and Moreira of Orlando, but he’ll likely be fine. Glad to have him in place, and we can start building the team.


Hope they get moving here. Contract decisions for options are due in 5 days.

Brendan Cartwright

Goff confirms earlier reporting that Kasper will move to an “advisory role,” and Mackay will report directly to ownership. That’s better than the situation Rushton got, but Kasper still needs to – at minimum – get the Chad Ashton treatment where he’s “reassigned” and then just never heard from again.


Pablo is reporting that “advisory role” is the same one that Olsen got. Ashton got the same thing as well. Basically still being paid until the current contract ends, but no real roll in the operation.

Ruston really got the short stick when she was hired. That should have happened with Kasper, but for whatever reason it didn’t.

Will Nelson

I still think Kasper had dirt on the owners.


I really think that Levien, who is absolutely clueless about soccer, is entranced by anyone from the UK when it comes to soccer. Look at his recent hires: Rushton, Mairs, Howe, Robinson. Given the roster constraints of MLS, I would be looking at someone with deep knowledge of CA and SA or even Africa. The “value” talent is not in Europe generally, and certainly isn’t in the UK.


Well I forgot the biggest dud — Wayne “Be Braver with the Ball” Rooney.

Talonesque #

Well, the group decider against France for the u17’s looks to be a pretty substantial disaster. Two players get yellow card accumulation, Hall their best cb came on as a sub and made a bone headed red card pull down in stoppage, and Medina their best creative presence in the midfield is limping. 14 minutes of stoppage time, so not great rest. As the match ticks down, looks like France will win 3-0, and that means the u17’s play Germany in the round of 16.

That last bit strikes me as patently unfortunate, the bracket looks to be littered with teams weaker in quality than the Germans, so… yeah. It’s not looking like a long run.

Brendan Cartwright

An obvious-in-retrospect thought hit me last night. United has been interviewing all these Assistant GMs… but when was the last time they employed an Assistant GM themselves?

Will Nelson

The USA Men’s Eagles XVs closed out the year with a dominant victory over Spain in the final of the La Vila International Rugby Cup. The final score was 42-12. It was also the final international match for the captain of the Men’s Eagles Nate Brakeley who’d announced that he was retiring at the end of this tour of games that ended today.

It was messy by both teams at the start, but as the game continued the Eagles settled down. With as many mistakes as we made early we were fortunate not to be playing one of the tier 1 countries who definitely would’ve punished us for them.


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