Major Link Soccer: MLS Award Finalists

The MVP won't go to Wondo this year - Harry How

MLS announced the finalists for 13 of its end of the season awards.

Seattle

Yesterday, I shared the Bent Musket's view on the trade that brought Sydney Leroux to the Seattle Reign. Stumptown Footy has now weighed in with the Portland perspective of the trade as well as Seattle's other offseason moves that have come while the Thorns have remained quiet during the offseason.

MLS Offseason

MLS announced its finalists for several awards yesterday, including Rookie of the Year, Individual Fair Play, Team Fair Play, Defender of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Referee of the Year, Assistant Referee of the Year, Coach of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Most Valuable Player.

(DeAndre Yedlin is a finalist for Rookie of the Year and Lamar Neagle is a finalist for Comeback Player of the Year)

New England Revolution striker Juan Agudelo was denied a work permit on appeal yesterday, which probably means that his move to Stoke City won't go through. There are ways Stoke City can keep him on its books, but he is reportedly exploring his options elsewhere in Europe, though he hasn't ruled out returning to MLS.

Black and Red United has been analyzing the performance of each DC United player in the Cake or Death series. The latest installment features former Sounder James Riley. Judging from the results of the poll and the article's comments, DC United fans would have him move to another team for the third consecutive year.

Another post from Black and Red United proposes 5 rule changes that the author claims will improve the league.

DC United assistant coach and former striker Josh Wolff is leaving the team to join the Columbus Crew as Gregg Berhalter's assistant coach. Columbus has also added Asher Mendelsohn as Director of Soccer Operations. Mendelsohn has served as US Soccer's Director of Referees, Coaching Administration and Development Academy Programs

Colorado Rapids president Tim Hinchey claims he is determined to attract a shirt sponsor to the team in 2014, calling it a "top priority".

The first mock draft for the 2014 MLS SuperDraft is out, but none of the players from the top-ranked Washington Huskies are currently projected to be selected in the first round. The Sounders are projected to draft Georgetown goal scorer and playmaker Steve Neumann, even though Neumann has previously expressed a desire to play for the Philadelphia Union.

The long delay between the first and second leg of the conference finals may be a big ask for casual fans, as Steven Goff used a bit of anecdotal evidence to illustrate yesterday.

MLS Expansion

In preparation for the 2015 MLS season, Orlando City SC is beginning the process of redesigning the team's crest for its inaugural season. There is already some indication that Orlando City can help improve the international appeal of MLS.

The addition of Orlando City means that MLS will have 21 teams in 2015. That's a tricky number to deal with when there are two conferences, but it could make 3 conferences a viable solution.

We've been hearing a lot of news about David Beckham's expansion team in Miami lately. Part of that may be due to a report that he has to meet a December 31 deadline in order to qualify for his discounted expansion fee. MLS Commissioner Don Garber expressed optimism that a franchise in Miami would be successful.

Andrew Wiebe explains why MLS believes that returning to Florida will be a successful venture this time around.

Not everybody is a fan of MLS expansion. On a recent episode of ESPN FC, Taylor Twellman and Steve Nicol debated whether expansion is a good thing for MLS. Nicol's most noteworthy quotes included the following:

Every single time another team comes, the product is watered down once again.

Everything is better about MLS except the product on the field at this minute.

England

Hull City owner Assem Allam has offered to give refunds to season ticket holders who are upset at his decision to change the club's name.

Arsenal fans have come out in support of safe standing areas in the Premier League. It is believed that introducing these areas would improve the atmosphere at matches throughout England.

The Olympic Stadium in London has begun its transformation to a football ground, where it will be the home of West Ham United.

Spain

With the departure of Victor Valdes from Barcelona set after the end of the 2013/14 season, Barcelona is close to securing a deal for his replacement. The top candidates are reportedly Pepe Reina and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. If the club needed some incentive to finalize a deal as soon as possible, Barcelona is about to be forced to play without Valdes for the next 6 weeks.

Despite the fact that Spain's national team played two matches in Africa during this month's international dates, neither of them are likely to make it into the record books. The team's 2-1 win against Equitorial Guinea reportedly will not count because the match wasn't approved by CAF. The 1-0 loss to South Africa won't be recorded because Spain made too many substitutions.

World Cup

After Croatia qualified for the World Cup, some of its supporters and defender Joe Simunic participated in chants that harkened back to Croatia's pro-Nazi government during World War II. The chants have previously been used by Croatia supporters, along with a Nazi salute, for which FIFA and UEFA has levied fines in the past. For his part, Simunic was defiant, saying, "If someone has something against it, that's their problem."

The celebrations in Algeria got more out of hand, leaving 12 dead and 240 injured.

With Uruguay's 5-0 aggregate victory over Jordan in the intercontinental playoff, the 32 nation field of the 2014 World Cup is now set. Fans around the world now nervously await the result of the December 6 draw of the groups for the World Cup, hoping that their country is able to avoid a group of death.

After his side was eliminated by Portugal, Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic insisted that next year's World Cup will not be "worth watching" because he will not be involved.

Mexico's qualification to the World Cup reportedly means that Miguel Herrera will become the manager of Mexico's national team on a permanent basis, while Tijuana manager Antonio Mohamed will take over at América.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has repeatedly made the claim that the World Cup has the power to bring about social change, something which Marina Hyde of the Guardian says he has yet to back up with evidence.

Blatter met with leaders of trade unions over the issue of working conditions in Qatar in the hopes of improving working conditions of migrant workers in the home of the 2022 World Cup.

Ballon d'Or

Although the voting deadline for FIFA's Ballon d'Or award was originally supposed to end last Friday, it has been extended to November 29, so that performances in the World Cup playoff matches can be taken into account. As with many decisions by FIFA, this hasn't been without controversy, since it's obvious which player has done the most to help his case in the past few weeks.

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