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Major Link Soccer: First Kick, Final Roster Tweaks

Sounders play TOMORROW!

Al Messerschmidt

I won't blame anyone for not caring about the links below. After all, in ~24 hours most of us will have the opportunity to see our beloved team play in person. That is an excellent thing. More excellent than season premieres of Archer and Psych combined. It has only been three months, but even with the excellent Seahawks season, it feels like three YEARS. Or like, even... three... million babillion years?

So there are a ton of previews and stuff to get us ready for the coming season. There's positive and negative, realistic and otherwise. Some cities are more bullish (HAH!) on the 2013 model of the Seattle Sounder than others. (The Seattle Sounder, with the lowest emissions and highest capacity of any team in it's league). is most excited about the increased overall speed of the roster. Individual players are getting interviews all over the place. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado talked with Golcaracol, Brad Evans with Prosoccertalk, Marcus Hahnemann at (and a review of his Diamond Cup performance).

The Cascadia situation continues without much progress. Get your fix here and here. It's enough to drive supporters to drink hard liquor, which may be possible in the stands at a coming Centurylink Field game. Wow, two weeks in a row that the distinction between "in the building" and "in the stands" drinking has come up.

Probably the best THING of this final leadup week is the MLS Player Survey, hosted by Grant Wahl (second part here). The most important bit is that the players have spoken again: Seattle has the best atmosphere in the league, though Portland (as in geography) is uncomfortably close. Speaking of low expectations, Kris Boyd has finally found a home with Kilmarnock back in Scotland Also out is Danny Mwanga, headed to Colorado. Taking Boyd's DP slot is former EPL striker and current geriatric Frederic Piquionne.

He'll likely make his Portland debut in their new duds, which were shown off to perhaps my favorite rendition of Immigrant Song. However, Vancouver knows how to show off a kit best. Montreal has a new third look, perhaps my favorite of this Jersey week. Speaking of favorites, Kansas City has a great new look. LA... they didn't change much. Opinions on Colorado's new third kits have varied wildly. The players' looks aren't the only aesthetic changes going down in the league; The website has undergone a new, cluttered change, and there are rumors that MLS is looking to redesign their crest.

Strangely, expansion talk has increased as March 2nd has approached. There now appears to be a significant chance that NY2 will NOT be called the Cosmos, and some seem to think Orlando has a chance to be number 20 now. It doesn't hurt that the city is bending over backwards to facilitate. There are now renderings of the proposed Flushing Meadows stadium available.

Piers Morgan can be an objectionable fellow, but when you can't even call out Stan Kroenke correctly, there's a significant problem. Kroenke has indeed owned a team that has won something, and the hope was that Edson Buddle would return the Rapids to their winning ways. The recent injury setback will put a damper on those hopes.

Torsten Frings is done in Toronto, as is Quincy Amarikwa (on the way to Chicago) but could Ji Sung Park be arriving into that situation? At this point, anything would be positive for the team without a coach. And Chris Wondolowski has been rewarded for his record-setting performance in 2012 with a Designated Player contract. Perhaps someday soon he will be one of FIVE DPs for the Earthquakes, or Galaxy, or Columbus or something.

Adding Kaka to the New York Red Bulls seems like a marketing no-brainer, but it appears that New York isn't united on the proposition of bringing in the iconic player. Speaking of United, James Riley gets an article all to his own on Black and Red. And the Philadelphia Union's "Sons of Ben" are getting their own movie. Unfortunately, it doesn't feature the cast of "Always Sunny".

MLS isn't going to accept a mass of players confronting referees anymore, so they've instituted a rule with the attempt to battle the practice. It is a good thing, even if refs sometimes deserve it. And while Don Garber has stated that he'd like to never sell another player out of MLS in a perfect world, the league has been a solid piece of a thriving ecosystem.

A reminder that every fanbase has an ugly side: Dortmund was the subject of a recent AP article about the neo-nazi wing of their fandom.

NWSL updates: Sydney Leroux is gearing up for her first professional league experience (I just wish it was in Seattle as it should be), the league rulebook has been revealed, and the Portland Seattle dynamic appears to run in reverse in at least one aspect; The Thorns have over 5,000 season ticket holders, more than the capacity of the Reign home field. Does that mean we get to call them sellouts and groupons?

Finally, the Supporters culture has come a long way over the last few years. Entering a brave new era, it is becoming easier to convert the eurosnobs and other non-MLSers to this wonderful league.

Happy hunting everyone GO 2013 SOUNDERS!

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