Major Link Soccer: Cascadia Final '12

Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The hype is approaching dangerous levels. Be sure to wear your safety goggles and update your apocalypse survival kit in case the worst happens.

Well, it's almost here. Sunday will mark the end of Seattle's 2012 Cascadia campaign. And, for better or worse, it will be one of the top three highest-attended MLS matches in the growing history of the league. It will also be one of the most-seen soccer matches in the world this weekend, more than any in England and most of Europe, and eyeballs will be plugged in when the game is broadcast at 6 pm real time on ESPN.

This isn't the only Washington-Oregon brother-sister fight of the weekend. Far from it, in fact. Saturday will see the University of Washington football team travel to the set of Animal House Eugene, Oregon, to face off with the second-ranked team in the nation, the Oregon Football Ducks. That rivalry has a bit of history. But before that, Washington State University will head to Corvallis to take on the Beavers. May the Cascades erupt in anticipation.

The Sounders aren't making national waves only with their attendance numbers. This whole vote thing seems to be gaining traction with the national media, many of whom I should point out are angry, suffering sports fans themselves.

The narrative for the Chicago Fire after falling in Kansas City over the weekend was that they would coast into the second or third spot in the Eastern Conference and end up playing New York. At least, that's the narrative I wrote. (Wasted three hours on it, never to see the light of day...) But this week, the Fire lost and lost badly to the Philadelphia Union, in a 3-1 debacle that puts DC United well within striking distance of that third spot.

Unlike Chicago, Kyle Beckerman isn't afraid of the Wild Card round. Sorry Kyle, but there is only one Honey Badger, and he is the KING of not caring.

I've always known that Canadians were jerks. They're good about hiding it, but they showed their true colors in their midweek match with Chivas. Vancouver managed to knock THREE teams out of the playoffs in their 4-0 win over the other LA team. Camilo made up for his blunder against Seattle by scoring a goal and assisting in the other three.

It may be hard to believe, but winning can contribute to the number of fans that come to games. That is the subject of this USA Today article (note the new logo) that focuses their blue period dot on Kansas City and San Jose, who are filling their 18,500 and 10,500 seat stadiums with regularity.

For as much as it feels like MLS is growing, there are still the occasional reminders of the place of our league in the world soccer pecking order. We'll know we have really gone places when we don't have to worry about our 16 year-old soccer prodigies signing in Germany, rather than on a domestic club. But for now, "We got a lot of calls from MLS, but it was way less money than Dortmund was offering."

We thought it was bad when the refs were just out to get certain teams. Now, not even THEY are safe from the wrath of the striped neon yellowed blood reded whistle blowers, as an English official has been arrested for hacking into a colleague's account. Perhaps if they spent the time "learning those computer boxes" instead on improving their craft, they wouldn't consistently be the least liked members of society. That might be a little harsh, I'm just saying that if I could push a button, and one referee would get a permanent shock collar, I'm not sure if I would need the added incentive of a million dollars.

It's a shame owners can't be voted out, right? Then the Mariners would be under the glorious control of Mark Cuban (in my dream world) and Merritt Paulson would be skating on thin ice down in Portland. In a slightly related note, Paulson was fined 25,000 dollars for his anti-refereeing tweets (he would LOVE to receive a button).

In this article, or rather in its headline, the question is asked "Why isn't MLS like Europe." One would think that would be a rhetorical question. After all, one is a soccer league, and the other is a continent. And, if we pretend to not be smart alecs for a half-second, another handful of reasons would be the history, the money, the proximity, the culture, and the interest. The article focuses on depth and intensity, and does a good job of it. Regardless, MLS isn't Europe almost by nature.

Former Sounder Herculez Gomez is only 30, yet losing playing time at Santos Laguna. So even though Gomez has made inroads with the USMNT, he may be looking for a new club sooner rather than later.

Real Madrid's president has successfully made it difficult for anyone to do his job in the future.

Don't forget to tune into the nationally televised New York-Chicago match at 12:30 Saturday. NBC needs those eyeballs! Sweet, precious, eyeballs.

And finally, Michael Gspurning is a bum. That's not me implying or saying it. I love you Michael! But I guess some people don't realize how awesome you are.

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