Major Link Soccer - Seeking Success Against Sporting Edition

Hello Sports fans.  Err....I mean Sounders fans.  It's a beautiful weekend in the Sound and Sporting Kansas City, the sacrificial lambs of MLS, are coming to visit Quest/Century Link Field.  They'll be playing a Sounders team coming off a bit of rest and hopefully fired up to get a big win after a disappointing tie against arch-rivals Portland Timbers.  I would insert some Wiz jokes here, but they've moved on from that eminently mock-able name.  At least they were always good sports about it.   

Seriously though, you have to feel some sympathy for Sporting.  The team was in the play-off hunt last year, broke ground on a new stadium and lined up Omar Bravo as their first designated player.  You could feel the momentum building.  Then the team fell flat on their faces to start the season.  Listening to Ted and Trent Talking Touches podcast over at our sister blog the Daily Wiz really puts the rough injury patch that the Sounders are experiencing in a bit of perspective.  The Sounders have done a decent job of adjusting to the loss of Steve Zakuani and O'Brian White.

Timbers Follow in Sounders Footsteps: Ives Galarcep took an opportunity this week to talk about the expansion Portland Timbers in comparison to the Seattle Sounders inaugural year in MLS.  I'm all for comparing the Timbers in light of the awesomeness that is the Seattle Sounders.  Unfortunately, Ives does not find our little brothers to the South wanting in comparison.  Nope, I can't say I approve of that!  

Arghh...I can't wait until July 10th.  More links from around the league after the jump:

USMNT U-20s Fall to France: The US Men's U-20 National Team fell 2-1 to the French to end their mini-camp in Europe.  The camp was a chance for mostly European based players on the U.S. squad to get some practice time together under Tab Ramos.  Ramos was filling in as lead coach at the camp until a replacement can be found for recently departed Tomas Rongen.  Conor Doyle scored the only goal for the stars & stripes off an excellent free kick by Kelyn Rowe (match highlights are here).  In an earlier game the U.S. and France battled to a 3-3 draw. 

More FIFA Backlash: The summer of discontent is about to start over at FIFA headquarters.  England's football association plans to abstain from voting in the upcoming FIFA presidential race and the USSA may vote separately from Jack Warner and the rest of CONCACAF.  It makes sense considering there's really no lesser of two evils between Sepp Blatter and Mohamed Bin Hammam.  Meh.  All these idiot tales from international soccer's leading lights are full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.  Everyone welcome the new king, same as the old king.

Beckham Out Again: No, it's not another royal wedding.  This time it looks like Beckham will miss another regular season game to attend a 'testimonial' game to his friend and former Manchester United teammate Gary Neville.  I had to look up 'testimonial' games since they aren't a tradition here.  Frankly, it sounds like the EPL version of the retirement watch with the proceeds going to Neville's charities.  I'm sure Bruce Arena and the LA Galaxy front office would rather Becks just sent a card and a check.  Moving on to a player that gives a crap about the club that pays his salary....   

Donovan Not in Talks with Roma: Landon Donovan recently rejected rumors that he was in talks with AS Roma.  The legendary Italian club was recently acquired by American Thomas DiBenedetto who has made it clear he wants to bring in one or more American stars to play for the team.  Previous reports indicated that AS Roma was preparing to offer a hefty $14 million to MLS for the rights to Donovan.  In addition to Donovan, AS Roma is rumored to be pursuing DaMarcus Beasley, Juan Agudelo and Sacha Kljestan.

Henry Injured Again: NY Red Bulls star Thierry Henry picked up a swollen knee in last Sunday's 3-2 loss to Chivas USA.  The striker will miss Saturday's game against the Houston Dynamo.  It's a tough blow for a striker who was finally starting to heat up and show the form many expected when he came to the U.S.  Henry also debunked rumors that Robert Pires may be coming to the U.S. for the MLS retirement special. 

Vegas Dreams: Las Vegas has dreamed of hosting a big-time, professional sports team ever since I was a wee-little lad growing up in the Nevada desert.  The dreams continue.  The current idea floating around the overly-conditioned, gleaming marble halls of power in Sin City is to build a giant three stadium complex able to host football, basketball, hockey, baseball and yes, even soccer.  Don Garber, sensing an opportunity to increase franchise fees, has been in touch with the development group about bringing a franchise to gleaming capital of capitalism.  Vegas will eventually land a pro-sports team, but I doubt it will be the 20th franchise in MLS.

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