Major Link Soccer: Orlando joins MLS

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando joins MLS as the 21st franchise and will begin play in 2015

Seattle

In the latest installment of Rave TV, DeAndre Yedlin revealed that he will be training with USMNT fullback Steve Cherundolo in Hannover, Germany during the MLS offseason.

In the aftermath of the trade that brought Sydney Leroux back to Seattle, the Bent Musket offers some detailed analysis of the move from a Boston Breakers perspective, and why it made sense for both teams.

With the news that Osvaldo Alonso is Seattle's 10th Designated Player, Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times looks at the franchise's history with DP signings.

MLS

Orlando City was officially announced as the 21st franchise in MLS yesterday. The team will begin play in 2015, joining the league at the same time as New York City FC. This also means that the Sounders are likely to lose 2 players again in the expansion draft after the 2014 season, as they did when Portland and Vancouver entered the league.

Orlando's ownership made clear its intention to sign a recognizable name as a DP in the franchise's inaugural season, even going as far as specifically mentioning Kaká. With the MLS announcement behind them, Orlando City can now focus on the work ahead.

LeBron James confirmed earlier reports that he's in talks with David Beckham to join the ownership group of a MLS expansion franchise in Miami. James was careful to note that the negotiations are still in the preliminary stage.

Sporting Kansas City winger Soony Saad had a bit of a scare yesterday in Beirut when a couple of bombs exploded within 2 miles of his hotel room. Saad is with Lebanon's national team as they prepare to face Iran.

MLS didn't exactly have a great year in terms of TV ratings in 2013. Some have suggested possible ways to address the issue, but there isn't a high likelihood that any quick fixes will be very effective.

US Soccer

The finalists for the US Soccer male and female athletes of the year have been revealed, and two Seattle players are included. The nominees for Male Athlete of the Year are Jozy Altidore, DeMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard. The nominees for Female Athlete of the Year are Lauren Holiday (née Cheney), Sydney Leroux, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Christen Press and Abby Wambach.

Queen's Park Rangers are attempting to exercise a club option to extend USMNT defender Oguchi Onyewu's contract. He is currently signed to a 3 month deal with the club.

Brek Shea's hopes for making the World Cup roster next year are probably largely dependent upon whether he is able to secure a loan move away from Stoke City in January.

Gus Poyet isn't prepared to give up on getting goals out of Jozy Altidore at Sunderland this season.

If Tottenham fails to finish in the top four at the end of the 2013/14 Premier League season, it appears that the club could be interested in replacing Andre Villas-Boas with USMNT manager and former Spurs player Jürgen Klinsmann. Take this one with a grain of salt, because the report comes from the Daily Mail and the reported interest is one-sided. There is no indication that Klinsmann is interested in managing in the Premier League in the near future.

Klinsmann wasn't too happy that what looked like a goal for the United States wasn't allowed in his side's 1-0 defeat at Austria yesterday.

US Soccer Youth Technical Director Tab Ramos was interviewed on the US Soccer official website concerning his new role with the national team.

NWSL

The Houston Dynamo ownership group is looking into the possibility of launching a NWSL expansion franchise. If they move forward with the plan, they see the Portland Thorns as a model for success. The Thorns are currently the only NWSL franchise to share an ownership group with a MLS franchise.

World Cup and International Friendlies

Despite defeating Ghana 2-1 in the second leg of the World Cup playoffs, Bob Bradley will not be retained by Egypt. Now he will have to decide what his next step will be: managing a club in Europe, managing another national team or returning to MLS as a head coach. The MLS teams with coaching vacancies are currently Vancouver, Chivas USA, FC Dallas and possibly Montreal. Among those, FC Dallas would probably be the best fit. Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated's Brian Straus argues that Bradley's legacy in Egypt can't be measured in wins and losses alone.

On Monday, Toronto FC forward Bright Dike helped Nigeria earn a draw against Italy.

Spain's national team returned to the site of its triumph at the 2010 World Cup, but were rocked by a 1-0 defeat to South Africa.

In other World Cup playoff action, France overcame a 0-2 deficit in the first leg to win 3-2 on aggregate. Portugal pulled away from Sweden with a 3-2 win that saw a Ibrahimovic brace and a Ronaldo hat trick. In the end, Portugal qualified for the World Cup 4-2 on aggregate.

In response to a critical report of migrant worker conditions released by Amnesty International, the Qatar 2022 World Cup organizers have promised to take action on worker's rights.

College Soccer

Sounders HGP prospect and Stanford midfielder Aaron Kovar has been nominated for Top Drawer Soccer's College Goal of the Week. He is up against a volley scored by Michigan State's Sean Conerty.

Yesterday, the Pac 12 Conference announced its end of season awards for men's soccer. Although the Player of the Year went to Leo Stolz of UCLA, Washington's Cristian Roldan and Jamie Clark came away with Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively. UW had 3 players named to the all-conference first team, 2 players named to the second team and 3 players received honorable mentions. Seattle HGP prospects Darwin Jones (first team), Jordan Morris (first team) and Aaron Kovar (honorable mention) also received all-conference honors.

Gonzaga's Nick Hamer was named West Coast Conference's Player of the Year, while teammate Josh Phillips was named the WCC Defender of the Year. Six additional Gonzaga players received all-conference honors.

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