Major Link Soccer: A slap on the wrist

Dmitry Korotayev

Is a partial closure of a stadium enough of a punishment for the first offense of racist abuse?

Seattle Sounders

We're two games into Sigi's new diamond formation, and even some of the biggest critics of the Sounders are impressed with the results.

The 2013 Latino del Año award voting begins next Monday, and Osvaldo Alonso is grouped with Claudio Bieler, Michel and Hendry Thomas.

Our favorite Colombian is rolling on the league in Portugal this season. There's already a compilation of his best goals and bits of skill with Sporting on Youtube.

More importantly, Fredy Montero is now a father. He posted a picture of his newborn daughter on Twitter yesterday.

Yesterday, KJR's Dick Fain discussed the MLS playoffs with our own Dave Clark.

In an interview with MLS ExtraTime Radio, Brad Evans called the Sounders underdogs in the upcoming playoff series against Portland.

MLS

Pro Soccer Talk has compiled a list of the top 5 head coaching candidates that are presumed to be available to MLS teams. They also have a list of coaches who have been fired or are in danger of losing their job.

A state senator in Florida has proposed a tax break in order to attract the MLS All-Star Game at some point in the future. Florida already has tax exemptions on ticketing for MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL all-star games.

Count New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke as a critic of the tightly packed MLS playoff schedule.

Chicago Fire

It was rumored the other night that part of the reason that Frank Yallop chose Chicago over Vancouver was control over transactions involving players. His official title with the Chicago Fire is head coach and director of soccer.

Colorado Rapids

Colorado midfielder Vicente Sanchez played the playoff game against the Sounders with a fractured bone in his right shoulder. His inclusion in the lineup was a game time decision.

Columbus Crew

The Crew have cut their first ever Homegrown signing, releasing 21 year-old forward Aaron Horton. Horton spent 3 seasons with Columbus, only making one appearance with the first team.

Columbus leading scorer Dominic Oduro says he wants to return to the team in 2014, but the team is going to have to make him a good offer.

In a move nobody saw coming, Eddie Gaven has announced his retirement as a soccer player after an 11 year career in MLS that began when he was 16. Gaven won the MLS Cup under Sigi Schmid in 2008, along with current Sounders Brad Evans and Adam Moffat.

FC Dallas

We don't know exactly who will replace Schellas Hyndmand at FC Dallas just yet, but it reportedly won't be Eric Wynalda. The team's technical director has also said that he isn't interested in the job. Colorado head coach and former FC Dallas youth academy director Óscar Pareja is staying quiet as rumors persist that he could take over head coaching duties in Dallas.

DC United

A day after cutting ties with 4 players, DC United is making changes in the front office. The team's ownership is also considering whether the team will retain GM Dave Kasper and head coach Ben Olsen.

Portland Timbers

After taking a team that posted the third worst record in MLS in 2012 to finishing at the top of the Western Conference in the 2013 regular season, Caleb Porter has signed a 5 year extension with the Portland Timbers.

Perhaps out of jealousy of the excellent "American Football" documentary about the Sounders, a teaser has been released for "Tifo: Inside the Timbers Army".

Toronto FC

Toronto appears to be interested in 30 year old Juventus striker Fabio Quagliarella, in addition to their reported offers for Alberto Gilardino and Jermain Defoe. Quagliarella's agent, who also represents Gilardino says that other MLS teams are interested, but that the player is focused of playing the entire season for Juventus.

Waking the Red examines whether head coach Ryan Nelson should be retained. The consensus seems to be that he deserves at least another season.

Vancouver Whitecaps

After scoring a hat trick on the last day of the season that earned him the MLS Golden Boot, Camilo Sanvezzo was named MLS Player of the Month for October.

US Soccer

In terms of youth development, the United States has a U17 team and a U20 team, but aside from Olympic qualifying once every four years, there is no U23 team. Brian Sciaretta proposes fielding a permanent U23 squad that would serve as a bridge for players from the youth squads to the senior national team.

When it was announced that Bayern Munich reserve midfielder Julian Green would be training with the US national team later this month, there was a good deal of excitement over the possibility of Green making the switch to the United States. A lot of the excitement turned out to be a bit overwhelming for Green, so he has chosen to focus on his responsibilities with his club for now.

Steve Cherundolo's most recent setback in his recovery from his knee injury is bad news for the player, his club and possibly even the national team, but it only increases the chances of Brad Evans making the World Cup roster.

NASL

2014 expansion team Ottawa Fury has announced its season ticket prices for the team's inaugural season.

Another team that begins play in 2014 is Virginia Cavalry FC, which is based in Virginia's Loudoun County, 30 miles west of Washington, DC. VCFC is in talks with former USMNT midfielder John Harkes to coach the team beginning next season.

FIFA

The list of finalists for FIFA's Ballon d'Or award has been released, and for the first time in years, the frontrunner isn't named Lionel Messi. Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery holds a slight edge over Messi in the betting market.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter probably wishes he hadn't commented on the Messi vs. Ronaldo debate. In doing so, he insulted and angered Ronaldo. He promptly apologized to Ronaldo, but that didn't stop Real Madrid's star from sending a message to Blatter with a recent goal celebration.

Cairo has been approved by FIFA to host the second leg of Egypt's World Cup qualifying playoff against Ghana, after the Black Stars expressed concerns over security.

Italy

AS Roma has set a new Serie A record by winning its first 10 matches of the 2013/14 season, with a 1-0 win over Chievo Verona yesterday.

Racism in Russia

The issue of racism in Russia has emerged far too often in the world of soccer recently. At the root of the issue is a lack of education concerning racism within the nation's borders.

UEFA handed out CSKA Moscow's punishment this week for racist abuse of Manchester City's Yaya Touré by CSKA supporters in a Champions League match last week. CSKA will have to close part of its stadium in its next Champions League home match against Bayern Munich. There seems to be a general consensus that the punishment is too light, even if it is applied according to UEFA's standards.

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