Major Link Soccer: License Plates, TV listings

Chris McGrath

TV listings are back, and will be a regular feature on Fridays

Seattle

Sounders and Seahawks specialty license plates went on sale yesterday. The plates cost $67.75 for regular passenger vehicles, with part of the special license plate fee going to Washington State Mentors and the Association of Washington Generals. Personalization costs an extra $52. If you're thinking of getting one, bear in mind that you will have to pay the $30 special plate fee annually when you renew your tabs.

Home Street Bank, which was announced last March as the official banking partner of the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC, is now offering its Hometown Home Loan program to Seahawks and Sounders employees and season ticket holders.

Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times compiled a list of the top 40 Sounders news stories of 2013.

Keeping a spot on the Sounders roster for a dozen years requires the ability to continue to push yourself and to consistently find ways to improve. That's exactly what Zach Scott brings to the team, as Matt Gaschk writes for SoundersFC.com.

MLS

While being interviewed during the Winter Classic in Detroit, Toronto FC president Tim Leiweke was quoted as saying that he is looking into increasing the capacity of BMO Field to over 40,000 with the intent to host a similar event in Toronto in 2017 for the Maple Leafs centennial season. This has interesting consequences for Toronto FC. It's unlikely that TFC fans could consistently fill a 40,000 capacity stadium, but it isn't crazy to imagine that they could top 30,000 if Leiweke and company can finally manage to field a competitive team by 2017. After all, the average attendance only dropped below 20,000 in the two most recent seasons.

With news breaking yesterday that Jermaine Jones is about to leave Schalke, it appears that he is ready to move to MLS. The problem is that he may be too expensive for most MLS teams to sign and he plays a position that isn't in huge demand within the league.

FC Dallas has finally re-signed versatile defender Zach Loyd.

The New York Red Bulls and defender Markus Holgersson have mutually agreed to terminate their contract. The Red Bulls needed to free salary cap space and Holgersson is ready to move on in his career.

DC United central defender Dejan Jakovic may be headed to a club in Japan soon, according to Steven Goff of the Washington Post.

The Philadephia Union is looking for fan input in developing a team mascot, but none of the writers at the Brotherly Game thinks a mascot is a good idea in the first place.

Merritt Paulson tweeted a couple of teasers to Portland's new kits for the 2014 season yesterday.

2014 MLS SuperDraft

College Soccer News has released its first mock draft for the upcoming 2014 MLS SuperDraft. It has Wake Forest winger Luka Giminez being selected by Seattle in the first round and Indiana box-to-box midfielder Nikita Kotlov selected in the second round. Giminez has played with Seattle HGP prospect Sean Okoli at Wake Forest for the past 3 years and Nikita Kotlov played with Eriq Zavaleta at Indiana for 2 years, including the national championship year in 2012, which was capped off by Zavaleta's assist on Kotlov's goal that won the title for the Hoosiers.

MLS managed to sign four underclassmen to Generation Adidas contracts, but UCLA's Leo Stolz turned down the offer to return to school for his senior season. The league has also signed seniors Patrick Mullins of Maryland and Steve Neumann of Georgetown. Spencer Richey won't enter the draft this year, as he was granted a medical redshirt after missing most of the 2013 season with a broken leg.

England

Back in the 1980s, with the advent of Astroturf, a few clubs in England decided to install the artificial turf in their respective stadia. The way the ball reacted to Astroturf prompted reactions that still linger in present day in terms of attitudes concerning artificial playing surfaces in soccer, particularly in England. Despite that, a few non-league clubs have begun to use artificial turf at their home grounds. In response to this, the Football Association has produced a guide to artificial turf that seeks to provide information, answer concerns and dispel myths surrounding modern artificial turf.

Former Sounder Steve Zakuani's brother Gabriel has switched teams for the first time in 5 1/2 years just 3 weeks after Steve left the Sounders after 5 years with the team. Gabriel Zakuani was allowed to leave Peterborough on a free transfer to Kolloni FC of the Greek Super League, with whom he signed a 6 month contract.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was named manager of Cardiff City to replace the recently fired Malky Mackay.

Tom Huddlestone vowed 2 1/2 years ago to refuse to get a haircut until he scores a goal. He finally scored a goal last weekend against Fulham and he wasted no time in getting started on his long overdue haircut, which he translated into raising $59,000 for Cancer Research UK.

The FA has a public relations headache to deal with, after appointing Michael Johnson to its Inclusion Advisory Board due to his comments on homosexuality in a BBC television program in 2012. Although Johnson states that he has since changed his mind and regrets his original remarks, the Guardian's James Riach argues that a bit of due diligence on the FA's part could have prevented this from happening.

Although promotion and relegation helps keep the interest of fans of teams that aren't in competition for the league title or a spot in continental competition, it comes at a cost. Bolton Wanderers, relegated from the Premier League in 2012, has a total debt of nearly $270 million, $83 million of which came in the year immediately following Bolton's departure from the Premier League.

Germany

Robert Lewandowski appears to be ready for a move to Bayern Munich next season, after reports that he will undergo a medical examination in Munich.

Spain

Is your European (or even MLS) team in need of somebody who can contribute next season but doesn't have much of a transfer budget? Thanks to Inside Spanish Football, you can play fantasy manager with this list of La Liga players who will be out of contract this summer.

US Soccer

Despite earlier rumors linking him with Premier League clubs fighting against relegation, Michael Bradley is staying with AS Roma, as it prepares to fight for the Serie A league title and qualification for a spot in 2014/15 UEFA Champions League.

Bradley also holds on to the top spot of American Soccer Now's top 100 USMNT eligible players. Clint Dempsey holds the fifth spot. Former Sounder Eddie Johnson fell a few spots to 21. Brad Evans is number 28. Federal Way native Kelyn Row occupies the 47th position. Seattle fullback DeAndre Yedlin is 56th and Gig Harbor's Tally Hall is 73rd.

Bob Bradley finally has the job in Europe he's been after, as Stabæk of Norway's top flight Tippeligaen is set to name him as its next manager. Stabæk just won promotion to Tippeligaen 2 months ago after a second place finish in the 2013 Adeccoligaen. This may not seem like a more prestigious job than the Vancouver Whitecaps, but it probably is more helpful in terms of his ambition to manage in a top league in Europe.

Jonathan Bornstein may finally get his chance to play for the USMNT again soon, as his move to Atlante has provided him with the opportunity to get minutes at his preferred left back position.

Juan Pablo Ocegueda will most likely again accept call ups for the USMNT after his time with Guadalajara came to an end, as he returns to Tigres.

FIFA

FIFA president Sepp Blatter proposes that referees impose "time penalties" on players that feign or embellish injury in order to waste time late in matches. Instead of being allowed to immediately return to the pitch after receiving treatment, the offending player could be held out of the match for a significant period of time, in the hopes of discouraging him or other players from continuing to use this time-wasting tactic.

TV Listings

Friday:
Liga MX 5:30 PM Morelia vs. Querétaro ESPN Dportes, Azteca America
Liga MX 7:30 PM Santos Laguna vs. Guadalajara

Univision Deportes


Saturday:
FA Cup 4:45 AM Blackburn Rovers vs. Manchester City Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes
FA Cup 7:00 AM Rochdale vs. Leeds United Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes
FA Cup 7:00 AM Grimsby Town vs. Huddersfield Town Fox Sports 2
La Liga 7:00 AM Málaga vs. Atlético Madrid beIN Sport en Español
La Liga 9:00 AM Real Valladolid vs. Real Betis beIN Sport en Español
FA Cup 9:15 AM Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur Fox, Fox Deportes
La Liga 11:00 AM Valencia vs. Levante beIN Sport USA, en Español
Coupe de France 11:45 AM Rennes vs. Valenciennes Univision Deportes
La Liga 1:00 PM Almería vs. Granada beIN Sport USA, en Español
Liga MX 3:00 PM América vs. Tigres UANL Univision, Univision Deportes
Liga MX 5:00 PM Monterrey vs. Cruz Azul UniMás
Liga MX 5:00 PM Pachuca vs. Toluca Univision Deportes
LIga MX 7:00 PM Chiapas vs. Veracruz Univision Deportes 2
Liga MX 7:00 PM Atlas vs. Tijuana Univision Deportes

Sunday:
FA Cup 4:00 AM Nottingham Forest vs. West Ham United Fox Sports 2, Fox Deportes
Coupe de France 5:15 AM Brest vs. PSG ESPN3
FA Cup 6:15 AM Derby County vs. Chelsea Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes
La Liga 7:00 AM Barcelona vs. Elche beIN Sport USA, en Español
FA Cup 8:30 AM Manchester United vs. Swansea City Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes
La Liga 9:00 AM Osasuna vs. Espanyol beIN Sport en Español
Serie A 9:00 AM Fiorentina vs. Livorno beIN Sport USA
Liga MX 10:00 AM Pumas UNAM vs. Puebla Univision, Univision Deportes
La Liga 11:00 AM Real Sociedad vs. Athletic Club beIN Sport en Español
Coupe de France 11:45 AM Olympique Marseille vs. Reims ESPN3
Serie A 11:45 AM Juventus vs. Roma beIN Sport USA
Liga MX 3:00 PM Atlante vs. León Univision Deportes
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