Major Link Soccer: Extra Time in the East

Kinnear will make his 6th appearance in the conference finals - George Frey

There were some exciting finishes to the conference semifinals in the East. It's just too bad nobody got to see it.

MLS Cup Playoffs

The excitement of the MLS Cup playoff games last night was a great advertisement for the league, with both games going into extra time. At least it would have been if the games had been nationally televised in English. Instead, only the hardest of the hardcore MLS fans got to see the games on MLS Live, Univision Deportes, MLS Direct Kick and illegal streaming sites.

In the first game of the night, Houston completed its comeback from 2-0 down at halftime in the first leg to beat the Red Bulls 4-3 in aggregate, with Omar Cummings playing the hero late in the game again.

In the other Eastern Conference semifinal, Sporting Kansas City overcame a one goal deficit heading into the second leg to win the series in extra time, with DP Claudio Bieler providing the winning goal off the bench in the 113th minute.

For the third consecutive year, Houston and Sporting KC will meet in the playoffs. For the second time in three years, they will face off in the Eastern Conference final for the right to play in the MLS Cup. This marks Houston's 6th appearance in the conference final in its 8 year history.

Speaking of Houston, Dynamo Theory now has a Spanish language version of the site..

One common criticism of the playoffs that keeps coming up is the issue of the scheduling of the games. Fans and media see football lines in the playoffs in Seattle in two consecutive years when it was something that didn't happen in the 17 home games during the regular season in either year. Football lines might be something fans owners use to poke fun at rival teams, but it's really a symptom of the greater issue of questionable scheduling for the playoffs.

MLS offseason

Toronto FC has wasted no time in making its first big signing of the offseason. Alberto Gilardino will reportedly sign with TFC for a rumored $3 million per year deal for 4 years. Genoa will be paid a $6 million transfer fee. Unfortunately for TFC fans, he won't join his new team at BMO Field until after the Serie A season is over, so he could wind up having similar issues to what Obafemi Martins had to deal with in 2013, as he could play as many as 16 consecutive months without much of a break.

Former Sounder Nathan Sturgis had a breakout season with Colorado in 2013. He was so impressive for the Rapids that one of the first orders of business for Colorado during the offseason was to re-sign him. Sturgis scored 4 goals in 2013. His only previous MLS goal was a penalty he converted while playing for the Sounders.

Darren Mattocks may have played his last game for the Vancouver Whitecaps. In an interview on Jamaican television, Mattocks didn't seem to have anything good to say about his current team. Vancouver fans seem to mostly be of the opinion that he should be traded or sold.

The Columbus Crew has a new head coach. Former USMNT defender Gregg Berhalter was named the head coach and sporting director of the team. As Jeff Bradley noted yesterday, Berhalter represents the total package of what a MLS team would want in a head coach.

The search for a new head coach at FC Dallas continues. One candidate has already interviewed for the position, but it wasn't Oscar Pareja. He told reporters yesterday that he hasn't been contacted by FC Dallas, but he declined to eliminate the possibility of taking the job if it was offered to him.

One head coach that will definitely remain with his current team is New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke, who signed a new 3 year contract with the team after winning the Supporters Shield in his first season in charge of a team that had never previously won a major trophy.

The 21st MLS team is set to be announced later this month. Orlando will officially be announced as a MLS expansion franchise on November 19.

FIFA

Nearly 900,000 tickets for the 2014 World Cup have been allocated, and the United States leads all countries outside of Brazil, with 66,276 tickets allocated to Americans. That triples the amount of tickets allocated to the next highest nation.

Despite the exciting moments they provide, FIFA president Sepp Blatter would like to do away with World Cup qualifying playoffs next time around. That would likely mean that confederations like CONCACAF would no longer have a chance at getting four nations into the World Cup.

Mexico will appear in its third U17 World Cup final in 8 years tomorrow, in its attempt to successfully defend its U17 World Cup title.

US Soccer

In a Q&A on US Soccer's official website, USMNT manager Jürgen Klinsmann had some interesting quotes that are particularly relevant for USMNT players in the MLS Cup playoffs. He indicated that he may call up MLS players still in the playoffs for the friendlies against Scotland and Austria, despite earlier reports that he wouldn't call up players involved in the playoffs.

NASL

Imagine your team is a week away from a match that will decide who wins the league title, but their recent form hasn't been the greatest. What would you do? For one supporter group of the Atlanta Silverbacks, the obvious solution was to boycott the last match of the regular season, which just happened to be against their Soccer Bowl opponents, the New York Cosmos.

College Soccer

In the Ohio Athletic Conference playoffs in Division III, Capital University was tied with Baldwin Wallace University 1-1 in the closing minutes looking for a winning goal, when goalkeeper Bob Weisgarber scored from a little over 60 yards out on a free kick in the 88th minute.

Spain

Microsoft is interested in a sponsorship deal in soccer that doesn't involve the Sounders. The software giant is reportedly in negotiations with Real Madrid over naming rights to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Soccer History

If you like soccer history and visualization of data, you'll definitely want to check out this visualization of player transfers globally since 1900.

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