Major Link Soccer: Monday Mourning

Kirk Urso passed away early Sunday at the age of 22. (Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE)

In the only story of real importance in MLS this weekend, Columbus Crew midfielder Kirk Urso died early Sunday morning after being rushed to the hospital. Regardless of the details that may emerge about the circumstances of Urso's passing, this is real tragedy. The Crew players and staff share memories of Urso in this piece on the MLS website.

It is clear now that MLS intends to put a second team in the New York City market. While NY (and New Jersey where the New York Red Bulls play) can certainly support a second team, where that team will play is not clear. This article makes the case for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.

While MLS currently seems focused on a second New York franchise, Orlando City is quietly courting MLS. Back in February, Commissioner Garber told Orlando supporters that "[i]t's not a matter of if, but when." However, despite Orlando's good on-field performance of late, several hurdles remain.

The new and as-yet-to-debut beIN Sport Network is currently offering live streaming on the internet until August 15th. In case you have not heard, beIN has acquired the rights to nearly everything in world football that isn't the Barclay's Premier League. So if you want to watch Serie A, La Liga, nPower Championship, or the Copa America, you might consider checking with your television provider.

In what is becoming commonplace these days, another European star expressed interest in playing in MLS...one day. This time it's Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. While this shows that the MLS' brand is growing internationally, it is of little or no significance at this time. MLS should be working to be more than a retirement program for aging European footballers.

The coach of the Canadian women's soccer team has accused the United States of using "highly illegal" tactics during the Olympics. The Canadian women are significant underdogs in the upcoming match. Whether this is pre-match gamesmanship or a legitimate complaint will be left to the referees.

MLS Weekend Review

The Houston Dynamo hosted the New York Red Bulls to decide first place in MLS's Eastern Conference. The now Geoff Cameron-less Dynamo emerged the victors 2-0 after two first-half goals from Jermaine Taylor and Calen Carr. Carr has been on a strong run of form lately with 4 goals (2 game winning) and an assist in his last four games.

In its last game before taking on the Sounders for the U.S. Open Cup, Sporting KC defeated the New England Revolution 1-0. Teal Bunbury found the net for SKC after a passing mistake by the Rev's backline. SKC's Bobby Convey was replaced in the 7th-minute after injuring his hamstring.

After two defeats on the road in MLS play, D.C. United knocked off the Columbus Crew 1-0 at RFK Stadium. Chris Pontius scored the goal for DC from a deflection in the box. DCU, currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, is four points back of the first-place Dynamo with two games in hand.

In the game that provided the dramatics over the weekend, the Montreal Impact defeated the Philadelphia Union 2-0 at Stade Saputo in Montreal. However, it was not the wonderful strike by Felipe Martins that everyone was talking about. Instead, Nelson Rivas going Zinedine Zidane on Antoine Hoppenot dominated the headlines.

Chicago gifted Toronto FC's Ryan Johnson an early goal, but battled back in the second half (with the help of a second yellow to Logan Emory in the 79th minute) to win 2-1 on goals from Marco Pappa and Austin Berry. Our old friend Alvaro Fernandez wasted an early chance before being subbed out in the 50th minute with a twisted ankle.

After a franchise-tying-six-straight losses, the Colorado Rapids helped the Sounders cause by knocking off Real Salt Lake in Colorado 1-0. In a statistically lopsided game that saw Colorado out-shoot RSL 16-4, Joseph Nane netted the only goal of the game. It was his first MLS goal. With the victory over the L.A. Galaxy, the Sounders are now five points behind RSL with two games in hand.

The Portland Timbers and FC Dallas battled for Western Conference irrelevance on Sunday and finished with a 1-1 draw. FCD was on the board first through Scott Sealy in the 51st minute. A second yellow for Zach Loyd opened the door for Portland's Jack Jewsbury to equalize in the 79th minute. These were the first points for Portland since July 3rd and the first since Gavin Wilkinson took over for John Spencer.

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