Major Link Soccer: The Lower Division Edition

Jul 11, 2012; Tukwila, WA, USA; Seattle Sounders FC fan Jordan Brownfield holds a fake US Open Cup trophy after the Seattle Sounders FC defeated Chivas USA at Starfire Sports. Seattle defeated Chivas USA 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

Another game at Starfire, another rousing victory. Yes, as bad as the last few weeks have been, the Sounders seem to have found their health and form, and sit a game away from being the first team ever to four-peat the Open Cup. The Sounders will now face Sporting Kansas City in August, but leave it to the ECS to try to turn it into a pseudo home game by aggressively promoting travel opportunities for the game. Yeah. Nearly 100 tickets in 12 hours.

One Sounder who didn't play on Wednesday was Steve Zakuani, who was on with Ian Furness of KJR Monday to talk about his storybook comeback. Furness managed to cover all the bases in the informative interview. Then, on Thursday, Adrian Hanauer joined Gas and Elise, where he gave the "diplomatic" line about the Final hosting situation. I'll post any 710 ESPN Sounders interviews as they become available.

Look away if you got your hopes up for signing Joan Verdu; It appears that Espanyol is on the verge of signing the midfielder to a new contract. Or, then again, maybe he's not and the Sounders are still hot on his tail.

Former Sounders trialist Mrisho Ngassa will attempt to earn the Kilimanjaro Stars of Tanzania the third CECAFA championship in the club's history. The CECAFA is awarded to the top club in East Africa.

Here's an interesting little nugget about the Sounders Women: Apparently their average attendance of 4,500 is the 24th best figure in North American soccer.

Elsewhere in Cascadia, Vancouver had a weird week.

Good: What a jump from Darren Mattocks, doing his best Michael Jordan impression. Mattocks is coming into rare form for a first year player, and is a favorite for Rookie of the Year.

Bad: That equalizer in added time didn't allow Vancouver to avenge their Canadian Championship loss, as the promptly gave up an EVEN LATER goal to former Whitecap Terry Dunfield.

Ugly: Davide Chiumiento has been loaned out to Zurich FC. Chiumiento seems to have requested the move to get closer to his family, but Vancouver will miss their assists leader.

There's no Good or Bad in Portland, just Ugly. Spencer's firing has caused many to look back at the formula for creating a successful expansion franchise (or "promoted" side). Here's a hint, look at Chicago and Seattle.

The week was light on MLS play, but made up for it in straight news. The biggest revelation was the new ownership in Washington (the city), which has not only pledged to keep the team within the district, but set some lofty goals for the four time league champs. After the sale, Forbes valued the club at an MLS record 50 million dollars. What clubs like New York, LA, or Seattle might be worth wasn't mentioned.

It appears that Toronto is trading midfielder Julian de Guzman to FC Dallas. What they will receive in return hasn't been revealed is reserve forward Andrew Wiedeman, but Soccer by Ives is reporting that it is a salary dump on Toronto's part, meaning that Guzman won't be a DP in the big D. Ives also speculated that the move might make room for Allesandro Del Piero to arrive in Canada.

Current Playoffs By PPM

West

East

San Jose

D.C.

Vancouver

play-in

play-in

Chicago

Colorado

Houston

Salt Lake

Kansas City

Seattle

New York

Next In

Los Angeles

Columbus

Finally, there is even big news in the lower levels of US Soccer. For one, the New York Cosmos are back, and will be playing in the NASL in 2013. There's been no announcement about where they'll play, but the New York Times is reporting they'll call Hofstra University home, which would take them back to their ancestral homeland. MLS Commissioner Don Garber issued a statement saying that the league still intends to put team No. 20 in New York City proper and that the Cosmos ownership group is still among the candidates.

There's also strong indications that the NASL could add a team in Northern Virginia where they'd share a stadium with a minor league baseball team.

And there is talk once again that MLS is in talks to buy the Division 3 United Soccer League (USL), as well as the PDL. These talks have surfaced before.

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