Major Link Soccer: CJ Sapong Grabs Goal In Homecoming, Kris Boyd Loves the Cold & Rain

Well with First Kick over the weekend the Major League Soccer season though we'll have to wait for our season opener as we've still got #BeatSantos Fever, don't forget the viewing party and scarf party on Wednesday.

It's Monday, therefore it's time for some links!

MLS says it's not the NASL - latimes.com
The North American Soccer League should have been entering its prime when it expired after 17 years, its life support mercifully unplugged after the 1984 season. An autopsy was never performed, but the suspected cause of death was greed, which fueled unchecked expansion and led to rosters chock-full of imports. Major League Soccer kicked off its 17th season this weekend appearing to be in the pink of good health. But the lessons of the past are never far from mind.

For Portland Timbers' Kris Boyd, playing soccer in cold and rain is a dream come true | OregonLive.com
"I didn't play on a grass field until I was about 10. I always played on concrete or on what we called red ash," said Colorado midfielder Jamie Smith, who is from Scotland. "We played soccer on the street. When a car came along, everyone had to pick up their coats and jackets, because those were the goalposts. Everyone got off the street and the car would drive past and then we were back on the street."

Back in his hometown, C.J. Sapong scores a dramatic winning goal - Goal.com
"It was amazing, a dream come true," he said. "To see all my friends and family in the stands cheering for me, to see people that are cheering for D.C. cheering for me, it's an amazing feeling."

New coach, new players, different outlook
"I think everybody at the club needs continuity now," [Martin] Rennie said in an interview this week, after watching his squad prepare for today's season opener against the Montreal Impact. "There have been changes and adjustments and there's plenty of proof to show that when you have the same people there for a while, you can really build something. That's what I would like to do."

Impact unconcerned about offence entering maiden MLS season
"When I said we needed more strikers, I didn’t really check the depth of our strikers at the time. But I think we do have a pretty good strike force," said Ricketts, who will be part of Montreal’s inaugural starting 11 that will take the field at Bell Pitch at BC Place as the newest of 19 teams in North America’s premier league.

"Personally, I still feel we need one striker that you know when he touches the field, (the opposing) defence will gravitate toward him. I think we still need that presence," Ricketts added. "But I think that with what we do have we are capable of getting any job done."

West Texas A&M product Arnaud embraces change in MLS career | Amarillo Globe-News
"There are certain chemistries and understandings that you get with people when you play with them for a long time," Arnaud said. "In Kansas City, the staff has been together with the players for a long time, so you know what to expect. "As a group, we don’t necessarily have that. But the good thing is that everybody knows we’re all in the same boat. We know it’s going to be a challenge but the intensity, the attitude and the way we’ve been working every day has been positive."

De Ro no diva: United star wants to lead team's revival - SOCCER - Sporting News
"I’m going to do a lot of praying," De Rosario told Sporting News this week when asked how he’s going to handle the year ahead. "I’ve put a lot a thought into it. That’s why I go away (during the offseason), to sit down and kind of set my goals and put everything into perspective with a clear mind."

Changes in place, Union ready to start MLS campaign
The Union are hours away from opening their 2012 Major League Soccer season, with 13 fresh faces collected during a newsworthy offseason. It's a group the technical staff believes will vault the club past last season's 11-8-15 record and its inaugural MLS Cup playoff berth. During the Union's inaugural season CEO and managing partner Nick Sakiewicz said it would take "at least three years to build a championship team."

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