Major Link Soccer: New kits and TV deals

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo

MLS announces the Univision Deportes schedule, while Columbus and New York announce new TV deals.

Seattle

Kurtis Larson of the Toronto Sun has picked the Sounders to finish the 2014 MLS regular season at the top of the Western Conference table. He also picked Sigi Schmid to win the Coach of the Year award and Stefan Frei to win Goalkeeper of the Year. He has Frei and Chad Marshall in the MLS Best XI and rates the Sounders as the best best to win the MLS Cup (given the 10/1 odds) and Obafemi Martins as the best best to win the Golden Boot (given the 25/1 odds).

NBC Pro Soccer Talk's Richard Farley rates Osvaldo Alonso as the fourth best midfielder in MLS.

1090 The Fan's Bill Swartz offered his preview of the Sounders season.

Sounders FC kicked off its 40th anniversary season in style with this video on Instagram yesterday:

The USMNT U17 squad was announced yesterday for the upcoming tour of the Pacific Northwest. They will face the Sounders U17/18's today and stay in town this weekend to attend the Sounders game against Sporting KC before heading down to Portland to play against the University of Portland Pilots and the Timbers Academy.

MLS

The league is all geared up for the season to start.

You may want to check your phones and tablets for updates, because the MLS Matchday 2014 app is here.

Yesterday, MLS announced the 16 matches that will be broadcast on Univision Deportes this season. Two Sounders matches are included: March 22 at Montreal and April 26 vs. Colorado. The SB Nation season predictions are also in. You probably won't like who is picked to win the MLS Cup, but at least the Sounders appear in the top 3 in the Western Conference.

Whether you've never watch a MLS match or you've been watching it since the league debuted in 1996, you should check out SB Nation's MLS beginner's guide.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank and MLS commissioner Don Garber watched the friendly between Mexico and Nigeria at the Georgia Dome on Wednesday night in Blank's suite. It's probably reasonable to assume that they spent some time discussing plans to add a MLS expansion team in Atlanta.

The newest episode of MLS Insider is out, just in time for the season to start.

Chivas USA waived defender Fejiro Okioma yesterday, just six weeks after he signed with the team. It also revealed its new home kit for the only season it will be used before the re-brand.

The Columbus Crew announced a new TV deal with Time Warner Cable. This is a bit of a controversial move because local residents who don't have a subscription to Time Warner won't have access to the TV broadcasts of games that aren't nationally televised. Columbus also signed 6'7" rookie forward Adam Bedell.

DC United finalized Eddie Johnson's new DP contract yesterday. They also added Inter Milan scout Enzo Concina to its coaching staff. Concina will maintain his scouting role with Inter in addition to his new coaching duties in MLS.

FC Dallas announced that retired goalkeeper Kevin Hartman will join its broadcast team this season. The team also unveiled its new home kits, and the hoops are gone.

Houston Dynamo goalkeeper and Gig Harbor High School alumnus Tally Hall was named as the newest brand ambassador for BBVA Compass.

The Montreal Impact signed defender Heath Pearce yesterday. Pearce has been without a club since the New York Red Bulls decided not to offer him a new contract after the end of the 2013 season.

The New York Red Bulls signed a multi-year extension with MSG for its local TV rights.

The Philadelphia Union released its new home kit. It has pinstripes and gold letters/numbers on the back.

The San Jose Earthquakes signed 32 year-old German defender Andreas Gorlitz yesterday.

Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes admitted that there is some preliminary interest in 23 year-old Spanish left back Antonio Rodríguez, who currently plays for Celta de Vigo in La Liga.

With so many resources at his disposal, the pressure is on Ryan Nelsen to produce results for Toronto FC this season. TFC announced its new alternate kit.

Vancouver signed South African defender Ethen Sampson to a Homegrown contract. Sampson believes signing his first pro contract could help "save my family's life". Vancouver also revealed its new secondary kits.

US Soccer

Stuart Holden plans on returning to the US next week to meet a specialist to examine his recently re-injured knee.

The USMNT will play its final 3 friendlies before the World Cup against Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Nigeria.

Jose Mourinho was recently asked about his thoughts on Jürgen Klinsmann and the USMNT:

2014 World Cup

We are now less than 100 days from the start of the World Cup, but a couple of key players reached milestones with their national teams over the weekend. Tim Cahill became Australia's all-time leading scorer, after netting a brace in the Socceroos 4-3 loss to Ecuador. Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reached the same milestone with his national team, although he claims that he isn't interested in records.

Tweet of the Day

I'm creating this category today because this tweet is just too good. Unsurprisingly, it comes from the Zlatan.

5 Games to Watch

Friday

There isn't a whole lot of action in Europe today. Morelia vs. Pumas and Tijuana vs. Guadalajara are both on Azteca, which is on local broadcast TV in Seattle. If you haven't watched A-League before, check it out later on tonight on Fox Sports 2.

Ligue 1 11:30 AM Olympique Marseille vs. Nice beIN Sport, Univision Deportes
Liga MX 5:30 PM Morelia vs. Pumas UNAM Azteca America, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3
Liga MX 6:30 PM Toluca vs. Puebla Univision Deportes
Liga MX 7:30 PM Tijuana vs. Guadalajara Azteca America, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3
A-League 10:30 PM Newcastle Jets vs. Melbourne Heart Fox Sports 2

Saturday

Since the Sounders play relatively early today, there's no harm in getting up early and watching your choice of the early Premier League match or what is probably the most exciting match up in the 6th round of the FA Cup.

Better yet, stream one game on your computer or preferred device and watch the other on TV. Tune in to NBCSN for Chelsea vs. Tottenham and keep it there for about 5 or 6 hours, since the Sounders and Sporting KC happens to be the second part of the doubleheader. Before you go out (or go to bed), check out this week's free MLS streamed match between LA and Real Salt Lake.

Premier League 4:45 AM West Brom vs. Manchester United NBCSN, Mun2, Live Extra
FA Cup 4:45 AM Arsenal vs. Everton Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes
Premier League 9:30 AM Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur NBCSN, Mun2, Live Extra
MLS 12:00 PM Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting KC NBCSN
MLS 7:30 PM LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake MLS Stream of the Week

Sunday

Roma attempts to keep up with Juventus in the Serie A title race. Manchester City and Wigan Athletic meet in a rematch of last year's FA Cup Final -- this time facing off in the 6th round. Chivas USA vs. Chicago isn't blacked out on MLS Live because it's on UniMás. The only Liga MX match of the day is between Atlante and Querétaro.

Serie A 4:30 AM Juventus vs. Fiorentina beIN Sport, beIN Sport en Español
FA Cup 9:05 AM Manchester City vs. Wigan Athletic Fox Sports 2, Fox Deportes
MLS 12:00 PM Chivas USA vs. Chicago Fire UniMás, MLS Live
Serie A 12:45 PM Napoli vs. Roma beIN Sport
Liga MX 4:00 PM Atlante vs. Querétaro Univision Deportesml
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