It's been a busy news week for the Sounders and the rest of MLS. The Seattle Sounders invited strikers Cillian Sheridan and Myron Samuel to train with the Sounders this week. Sounders fans were able to see both play in the reserve league game against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Whitecaps senior team, and their family-friendly fans, will be in town this Saturday for the big rivalry game. I fully expect pockets of the more hard-core fans, who prefer not to be exploited by the front office, to be floating around the stadium. Make sure to say hi and show them some Seattle hospitality. They'll need after the 6-2 drubbing (surely if the Philadelphia Union can then we can too)! Oh wait, they're different teams? Terribly sorry, eh. I can't keep track with all the coaching changes going on up north of the border.
CSKA Sofia in Debt: I quite enjoyed watching Cillian Sheridan play in the reserve game Saturday and it prompted me to do a little internet research. Unfortunately, I found some rather unhappy nuggets of information on why CSKA Sofia is looking to unload the striker. The club is deeply in debt to Celtic Glasgow and other Bulgarian clubs. I've looked for any news on a resolution of the 275,000 pound sterling debt to Celtic Glasgow, but unfortunately haven't found anything current. Bad debts and failures to pay players seems to be a common story attached to the club. Not to mention hooliganism problems. The Sounders can't promise career success to the young striker, but I'm confident that the club can at least offer a steady paycheck and relatively sane fans.
More links from around the world of soccer after the break:
Mexico Loses 5, Wins by 5: Mexico defeated Cuba 5-0 despite having five players suspended before the match after they tested positive for clenbuterol. Ricardo Osorio also tested positive, but had already returned to Mexican to receive treatment for an unrelated illness. The Mexican football federation has claimed the positive tests were the result of tainted meat. The Mexican team awaits a ruling from CONCACAF on whether they will be able to replace the suspended players for remaining Gold Cup games.
Crew Defender Suspended: Columbus Crew defender Josh Williams has also been suspended 10 games and fined 10% of his salary for using performance enhancing drugs. The 23 year old apparently ingested the drug methandienone metabolites from an over-the-counter supplement he picked up from a chain store. The drug is a Schedule III drug in the U.S. and can lead to felony charges for possession or distribution. However, it is legal and widely available in Mexico, Eastern Europe and parts of Asia. So, either Williams is lying through his teeth, and picked up the drug in the black market, or the chain store is knowingly or unknowingly in violation of federal law.
The Downside of Parity: Team parity, and the lengths MLS will go to ensure it, is one of the hallmarks of MLS and makes it unique among soccer leagues around the world. The argument is that it makes things interesting for all fans regardless of team. However, there could be a downside to too much parity. Sports needs its over-powered villains and its scrappy underdogs. Would baseball be as interesting without the NY Yankees to hate year in and year out? My guess is probably yes.
Stadium News: Admittedly, it's not as exciting as monkey news, but there's plenty of exciting stadium news this week. Sporting KC opened up LiveStrong Sporting Park to a standing room only crowd yesterday and a 0-0 to the Chicago Fire. The $200 million stadium is quite an upgrade for the team that's been consigned to a baseball park for the last two years. The Union are also looking to slowly expand PPL Park to 30,000 seats in a three phase plan.
MLS Detroit? A Detroit ownership group is looking to add an MLS expansion franchise as part of a plan to convert the Silverdome into a multi-sport facility. The soccer part of the facility would hold a more manageable 30,000 fans. New York is still the preferred option for the 20th MLS franchise, hopefully with a stadium in Queens built on land owned by the Wilpon family.
Impact Retain Name: The Montreal Impact are starting their transition into MLS while the league front office is still trying to laid the ground work in New York for a 20th franchise. The team will retain the Impact name although they will be redesigning the logo, colors and kits for the team this summer. They've also raised ticket prices to the $250-$1,250 range for their inaugural season in MLS.
Sports Cards for Insane People: Spencer Hall, here at SB Nation, has come to the conclusion that the 1880s sucked, especially for sports. I can't really tell which parts of the article are historical truth. Probably enough that I should be crying at the sadness of the human condition rather than laughing at the absurdity of rudimentary pay-per-view systems for watching juvenile boxing. Fair warning - His article has absolutely nothing to do with soccer.
Kissinger to the Rescue: Speaking of absurdity...international man of misery, and Sepp Blatter confidant, Henry Kissinger has agreed to a role in FIFA. I don't know how that's going to work when the man has serious travel restrictions. Kissinger is wanted for questioning by courts in Argentina, Chile, and Spain due to his activities as Secretary of State under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He's exactly the kind of internationally respected statesman needed to lend an aura of credibility to an organization famed for its secrecy and corruption. Also, included in FIFA's 'council of wisdom' are Spanish tenor Placido Domingo and former FBI chief Louis Freeh.