Major Link Soccer: Centurylink Refits, 20,000 in Sacramento

The new boards in all their glowy goodness. - Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The big opening day crowd puts California's capital city on the map.

Seattle

Attendees at the 4-1 drubbing of Colorado may have looked up just long enough to notice that Centurylink Field has a few new exciting additions to the game day experience. These arrive in the form of new, digital stats boards in each corner of the stadium, as seen in this picture taken by Joshua Mayers. Throughout the game they displayed goals, shots, corners, and fouls, as well as occassionally showing the starting eleven. At least the two northern boards were; the southern pair were seemingly still offline. They were a great addition but had two glaring oversights; a lack of a bench display (who is in the 18?) and a counter for number of backheels. How many backheels where there Jeremiah?

On Aaron Levine's "Q It Up Sports" last night, Levine asked a question that may have been reaching the tongues of many a Puget Sound resident over the month of April: Is Clint Dempsey a Seattle Sports Icon? After all, Dempsey has played on the biggest stage in his sport, been among the most successful Americans in the history of the Premier League, and was the de facto second-biggest signing in MLS history when he arrived last year. Despite all that, Levine withholds the status of "icon" for now, and he is right to do so. Dempsey is running riot in MLS, but has only been a Sounder since August. Give him another year, maybe a golden boot or an MLS Cup, and you can put him in that conversation with Wilson, Felix Hernandez, and Sue Bird/Lauren Jackson.

Levine also interviewed Sigi Schmid. I could really get used to this "Sounders doing interviews on TV" thing.

MLSsoccer.com shined their spotlight on the Sounders attack and their play through the middle of the field. Don't get too caught up in that though: this attack is balanced, and nearly as many chances come from the flanks. The league site also gives us an awesome look at all the cool stuff Dempsey did with his feet.

Old SAH friend Liviu Bird interviewed Jordan Morris with SI.com recently. Morris isn't in a rush to become a pro yet. PhootieD actually beat us to the punch in linking this one.

Hope you caught Pepe Fernandez on the pitch during the Rapids game. He played for the Sounders well before I was born, but his impact on the Sounders identity and the community at large is still felt today.

This may have been linked in another entry of Major Link Soccer, but DeAndre Yedlin makes an appearance in this pretty funny commercial for "The Seattle Foundation", where he receives a terrible threat from a group of school children. He proceeds to school each and every one of them.

US Club/National Soccer

The largest soccer crowd in California this weekend wasn't LA, Chivas USA, or San Jose: Meet the fans of Sacramento Republic, playing their first ever USL match as the PDL team for the San Jose Earthquakes and Portland TimbersA crew of 20,000 strong (a USL record) saw the team lose their first match 2-1, but may have tipped MLS expansion scales in their own favor. Even when San Jose finishes their new stadium next year, capacity will only be 18,000. It's a little much to ask that Sac-town continues to sell 20,000 tickets, but it was a heck of a start.

(If there is going to be an MLS team in Sacramento and one in San Jose, they had better plan on placing one in San Francisco proper as well).

Between Chivas USA's former owner Jorge Vergara and The Los Angeles Clippers' Donald Sterling, there seems to be some weird, racist stuff going on for the second teams in Southern California. Turns out the similarities run deeper than anyone could have realized. Even without Vergara, Chivas is making big mistakes: They left Eriq Zavaleta on the bench in their 1-0 loss to the 'Quakes Saturday.'

It is now eight weeks in, and Draw City still hasn't found a win yet. If they don't get it next week hosting DC United, it could still take a while.

Before he was called back to the big team, David Estrada was coming off the bench as a sub for the Atlanta Silverbacks in their 3-1 win over Tampa Bay. Jimmy Ockford didn't get in for the New York Cosmos as they fell to San Antonio.

Jeffery Webb (President of CONCACAF) makes it sound like the Gold Cup might not always be in the United States in the near future.

Europe

Tim Howard plays as if he has another decade left in him, but he is certainly getting up there in years. At 35, he should have at least five more years in the take, which would take him past the end of his current deal with Everton (2018). Howard says that it will be his last contract as a professional (though whether he continues to tend goal for the National Team is still an unknown). For now, he has ruled out returning to MLS.

Messi is the best player in the game, and he wants to be paid like that. Reports say that he is looking to get 20 million pounds per year in his next deal. That'd be close to 34 million dollars, which would make him the best-paid athlete in the world if I am not mistaken.

Dani Alves may have wanted to prove a point, or maybe he was just hungry. Either way, I wouldn't recommend that anyone take a bite out of the next banana that gets thrown on the pitch.

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