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Cascadia angst, team naming conventions, big stadium news, and the week in games populate this early week edition of the LINKS.
It was once again a wild week in Cascadia, beginning and ending with Seattle's scoreless draw in Vancouver. The Whitecaps are kicking themselves for leaving three points on the table, especially after the opportunity Camilo Sanvezzo had in the waning minutes of Saturday's game. "The playoffs appeared, time froze, angels sang". Instead, the tie sees Vancouver only two points up on red-hot FC Dallas. The reaction to the result has been as frantic in British Columbia as it was here. While the Sounders were fortunate that attempt on goal drifted wide, their failure to win with a nearly full starting eleven was a double whammy for the two cups the club is still in contention for; The Cascadia Cup and playoff seeding for the MLS Cup.
A win would have kept the squad a point behind Salt Lake (a team that currently holds a tie breaker) for second place with a game in hand. It also would have kept Seattle's Cascadia destiny in their own hands. Now, even if the Rave Green win this coming Sunday in front of a predicted 67,000, there will be much hand-wringing and hoping that the Portland Timbers do not manage their first road win of the season when they visit Canada on October 21st.
But for that late October game to matter, the Sounders have no choice to take care of business against the Timbers this weekend. And that message has been made clear to the players. From the postgame quotes, Michael Gspurning: "We have to win, no excuses we all know this and all week we will be focused on this game on Sunday."
Portland's Sunday wasn't exactly excellent either. A controversial PK was awarded to their opponents in DC United, who converted to take the lead in the 58th minute. Paulson approached the officials after the game, which ended in a 1-1 draw, and was seen yelling at them just before nearly being pelted with a water bottle from the stands.
If Seattle had managed wins each of the last two weeks, they'd be in a very serious conversation for the Supporter's Shield, now that San Jose has dropped points to Dallas in a 3-3 tie (punctuated by a tying goal in the 95' courtesy of everyone's favorite [fill in the blank]). In this alternate universe where The Daily Show is on at 8:00 instead of 11:00 and no one in sports has ever heard of the word "lockout", the Sounders would be at 54 points with a game in hand on Supporter's Shield leaders San Jose and KC with 58 each.
It has been a tough weekend for Chicago. First they lose a tough game to Kansas City (a game that had Eastern Conference champion implications), then they lose one of their late season sparks to national team play for Uruguay. Yes, our old stick Alvaro Fernandez is off to help his countrymen at a rather inopportune time for his club. At least they have a TV show named after them. You'll see all sorts of commercials for it during the Fire-Red Bulls game on NBC Saturday afternoon.
...Wait, what do you MEAN the show has nothing to do with the club? Who in their right mind was like "lets make a tv show about a sports team named after a disaster. Next season, we can do a show called "San Jose Earthquakes", an earthquake survival show. Followed by 'New York Jets', a show about... ooooohh"
Columbus continued to make their case for a seat in the East's game of Musical Playoff Chairs, taking out the Philadelphia Union 3-2. It made the Union's chances of making the playoffs "zero" after only being slightly higher than zero the rest of the year.
The Colorado Rapids did Seattle a Pike's Peak-sized favor by drawing the LA Galaxy 1-1 out in the mountains. Drew Moor tied up the game six minutes after the Galaxy got on the board, preserving a single point lead over the Soudners for the Los Angeles Beckhams of Carson.
Real Salt Lake wasn't as generous, laying an absolute smackdown on Chivas USA in their 4-0 romp. Show of hands: Who wants the Sounders to play Salt Lake in the MLS Cup Quarterfinals? I didn't think so. There hasn't been much separating the Royals, Galaxy, and Sounders over the course of the season (especially since the All-Star Game), which is the subject of this article from RSL Soapbox.
Houston's Dynamo downed New England's Revolution in "The Least Surprising Result of the Week". Far more interesting is the lead picture for the linked article. Is Boniek wearing his pants backwards? Another question: How powerful are the Dynamo? By definition, very powerful.
In "The Second Least Surprising Result of the Week", New England made mincemeat of an already moribund Toronto club. Heh, that's a joke. It was actually New York that picked on Toronto, a team that is "at the point of death" (the definition of "Moribund"). Look, it's hard to make these games worth reading about, okay? Less funny than the above joke has been the Toronto FC season, which has still been an unfunny joke. A team that entered the season with some actual promise for once has fallen flat on its face.
Extra Extra! Orlando still working to build soccer stadium to lure MLS! Orlando, paradoxically, is old news in the stadium front. The NEW news is that something might finally be happening in New England, as word is out that Brian Bilello is working to build an 18-21,000 seat soccer stadium on the old Wonderland Dog Track. Great capacity, and great location; the proposed site is very close to the downtown core, significantly more so than Foxboro. Of course, as with any stadium proposal, there is opposition, mostly from City Council and traffic concerns. Sounds familiar. Supposedly, those working on the stadium are aiming to have the team playing in such a new building by 2015. That ALSO sounds familiar. The ball is in your court now, District of Columbia.
Perhaps I am the only one perturbed by it, but I have always found it weird that Japan rarely sees representation in the FIFA video games. While not one of the top leagues, Japan's J-League is thought to be on par with MLS, and Japan is the epicenter of the videogame world (while the Seattle area would just be a secondary tremor). As with all things in such times, it is a matter of money.
I can't possibly write something that properly sums up this article about a gay athlete in Major League Soccer, so I just encourage everyone to take a look.
Finally, FIFA has named the cities that will be hosting World Cup games when Russia takes the stage in 2018.