Major Link Soccer: Mexico Hearts 'Murica

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

After Graham Zusi saved Mexico's World Cup hopes, Mexican newspapers can't thank Americans enough for giving them a second chance.

Seattle Sounders

If the last three five results weren't depressing enough, or if you really hate yourself, go ahead and give this article by Jason Davis a read. It really tells us what we already know: nothing has gone right for the Sounders lately.

The Goat Parade piles on, claiming that the fine levied against the Sounders for mass confrontation wasn't severe enough.

Major League Soccer

For better or worse, Steve Zakuani and Brian Mullan will always be linked. They have both dealt with injury issues this season. With Zakuani, it is widely believed that he is still young and strong enough to push through his injury issues. With Mullan, his injury issues have him contemplating retirement. Barring a meeting in the playoffs, we may have seen Zakuani and Mullan on the pitch together for the last time.

Some MLS cities have a lot of entertainment options and some cities are a bit less exciting after matches. After winning the US Open Cup, DC United found themselves in a city that better fit the latter description on a weeknight. So where did they go to celebrate their big win? Would you believe the exercise room in their hotel?

When Seattle enters the other Toyota Park in Frisco on Saturday, they will be facing a team that no longer has a chance to participate in the playoffs this season. It's kind of crazy to think that this is the same team the Sounders beat who, at the time, were considered the best MLS had to offer.

It has been 6 weeks since Diego Valeri suffered an adductor injury, but he doesn't seem to be making much progress, which is a worry for the Timbers heading into the playoffs. After Osvaldo Alonso's elbow to the face against Will Johnson, Richard Farley asks whether it's just a coincidence that Johnson seems to be at the receiving end of incidents that lead to suspensions for opposing players.

FIFA World Cup

What if a win for the Sounders in the last game of the season secured a playoff spot for the Timbers? How would the sports pages in the Portland Tribune and the Oregonian look the next day? Would they be thanking us for saving their season? That's essentially what happened in Mexico yesterday. On the heels of the two goals scored in stoppage time by the United States against Panama, which put Mexico into a playoff against New Zealand, newspapers in Mexico sang praises to the United States.

With the FIFA rankings updated, we have a pretty good idea which countries will be seeded at the World Cup. Everybody will be hoping to be drawn into Switzerland's group. If you want to know the kind of group the United States (or any other country) is likely to be drawn into, check out this simulator.

There are many American players fighting for a spot on the World Cup roster next June. One player hoping to get noticed by Jürgen Klinsmann is Bolton Wanderers defender Tim Ream, who has been one of the club's bright spots this season after he struggled to find regular playing time last season.

As far as who has a spot in Brazil locked up, Klinsmann is not ready to guarantee a spot to anybody.

After a first leg 6-1 loss to Ghana all but ended Egypt's hopes of playing in the World Cup in 2014, manager Bob Bradley apologized to fans for the loss. Because of the severity of the scoreline, Bradley has been under a great deal of pressure and seems likely to lose his job if Egypt can't overcome the 5 goal deficit in the second leg.

France

Due to a new law in France that will require businesses to pay a 75% marginal income tax rate for any employees earning at least €1 million, clubs in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 are considering a boycott in protest against the new tax. Although the French Football Federation was previously confident it and its clubs would be exempted, it now appears that will not be the case. We have seen how even famous clubs like Rangers can fall apart due to financial issues, so you can imagine the effect club owners fear the new tax could have on their finances and their ability to stay afloat, much less compete with clubs across Europe: both in UEFA competition and in the transfer market.

There is one club in Ligue 1 that stands to benefit from the tax. Since Monaco is an independent state located on the French Riviera, AS Monaco is the only club in Ligue 1 or Ligue 2 that will not be subject to the tax. In fact, the rest of the clubs in Ligue 1 threatened to boycott fixtures against AS Monaco back in May, when it became clear that Monaco was about to be promoted from Ligue 2. At issue was the fact that foreign players in Monaco didn't have to pay any income tax, making it a more attractive destination for top players. Even domestic players are taxed at a lower rate in Monaco than they are in France.

Italy

After Ultras across Italy threatened a mass protest that could have lead to a round full of empty stadium fixtures, the FIGC (Italy's federation) has adjusted the parameters that determine whether a team will be punished for racist chants. The new rules will consider how many fans participated in racist chants when deciding whether it is necessary to punish the club.

Spain

Paying a world record transfer fee 3 times in 5 years is something no club in the world can do without bringing in additional revenue somehow. Real Madrid is no exception to this. With the recent purchase of Gareth Bale and the club's plans to redevelop its home stadium, Real Madrid is preparing to sell naming rights to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Florentino Perez' counterpart in Barcelona is again facing pressure from fans of the Blaugrana. FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has ended a few long-standing traditions during his tenure with the club. The latest is his decision to end the tradition of granting free admission to matches for children under the age of 7.

United Kingdom

Although Tottenham got off to a pretty fast start to the Premier League season, Sky Sports commentator Jamie Carragher doesn't see Spurs as a threat to win the league. He even questions whether Tottenham can finish in the top 4 to qualify for a spot in next year's Champions League.

On Tuesday, 16 year old Liverpool youth star Harry Wilson appeared in a World Cup qualifying match for Wales. With Wales out of contention for a spot in the World Cup, the move was made to prevent Wilson from potentially playing for England in the future. It also earned his grandfather nearly $200,000 from a bet made 13 years ago, which is enough for him to retire a year early.

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