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Major Link Soccer: Seattle in 3’s

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Since it's Wednesday, the 3rd day of the week, I am going to say it. For the Sounders good things seem to happen in 3’s this year.

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SEATTLE

Yesterday it was announced Chad Marshall won his 3rd MLS Defender of the Year award (2008, 2009, and 2014). It's a big accomplishment for the veteran centerback because no other defender has won it 3 times. This year in Seattle the 30 year old has regained his dominating form becoming the rock in the middle Seattle has long needed in defense. Marshall led the league with 136 interceptions, recorded 126 headers won and 206 clearances and matched a career high with three assists. This year was also Marshall's 3rd time winning the Supporters Shield(2006, 2009, and 2014) having won the previous two with Columbus.

Good things happening in 3's for Seattle is based on stats and history. On the offensive side of the ball the stat that matters the most are goals and assists, and 3 names pop out here. Obafemi Martins 17g 13a, Clint Dempsey 15g 10a, and Lamar Neagle 9g 9a. On the defensive side of the ball the stats that make a difference are games played and minutes 3 names pop out here as well, Frei 34 gp/gs 3060mins, Alonso 33 gp/gs 2952mins, Marshall 31 gp/gs 2790mins.

The X-factor is something you can't always quantify but in this case we can with stats. Seattle's  X-factor is Lamar Neagle. Neagle hits the top 3 in 4 important categories games played, goals, assists and shots on goal. I say important categories because as an old coach once told me "if you're not in the game you can't shoot and you can't score" Neagle has shown when he is in the game he shoots and scores,  which for Seattle has equaled wins this year.

On the history side we find Clint Dempsey who has played in two MLS Cup Finals (2005 2006) already in his career with the New England revolution. Dempsey has a chance to play in his 3rd MLS Cup Final with Seattle and more than probable if he does it will be against his old team New England.

In 2014 the Seattle Sounders have won a lot. 20 regular season wins, 2014 US Open Cup, and the MLS Supporters Shield. The MLS Cup is all that is left for Seattle to win this year. Winning the MLS Cup would also give Seattle the treble and with a home game on Sunday night they sit in a pretty good spot to accomplish this rare feat.

There is one more bit of history/statistic that ties all of this together for Seattle. It is exactly the type of history/experience/statistic that can make all the difference. I am talking about Siegfried "Sigi" Schmid, Schmid has tasted success at every level of coaching (College, MLS, US National team). He won the 1990 college cup at UCLA with current Sounders Sporting Director Chris Henderson. Schmid coached the U20 USMNT at the 2005 youth World Cup, and Schmid has won 2 MLS Cup Championships (20022008) one with LA and one with Columbus. Schmid has also won MLS Coach of the year twice and is nominated in 2014 for his 3rd. What really ties all this together and  sticks out the most is the MLS Cup stat, Schmid wins the Cup every 6 years, if you're following along means only one thing in 2014.

The final 4 have been selected for MLS Goal of the Year. Seattle forward Obafemi Martins is a finalist. Go Vote!

The Sounders & S2 will be holding tryouts in Las Vegas at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas December 13th and 14th. The registration fee is $150 per player.

At 34 years old, Zach Scott has elevated his game at the back end of the season and into the playoffs, playing his best soccer of the year - and maybe of his career - at a time when the Sounders need it the most.

The UW mens soccer team did the improbable and came back in a penalty shoot out after missing their first 3 kicks. They eventually turned the tide and won in the 9th round, "Heart of the Dawg" shows you how! If the Huskies continue to win there could be a Clark family reunion at the Final Four, along with one more familiar family.

The WISL announced their Player of the Week award and a local Seattle player was the winner.

MLS

MLS awards week started Monday and continued with Major League Soccer on Tuesday announcing LA Galaxy defender AJ DeLaGarza as the 2014 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year. Major League Soccer also announced on Tuesday the 2014 Referee of the Year and 2014 Assistant Referee of the Year awards.

Players began limping into the Galaxy trainers' room early Monday morning, seeking relief for the pulls and the pounding they suffered in Sunday's bruising Major League Soccer 1-0 playoff win over the Seattle Sounders.

It's the time of the year when teams start some house cleaning. Sporting Kansas City announced a sweeping slate of roster moves on Tuesday, declining contract options for 6 players, Colorado did the same.

One player decided to clean his own house and told his team he plans on leaving. The decision is "based on personal differences with the GM at the club," which comes as a real surprise to anyone who has followed Real Salt Lake

The Houston Dynamo are sure they have the core of their roster intact for next season, and on Tuesday they made clear who is staying and who could be on the way out.

Not even having kick a ball in anger Orlando City is making the bold prediction that they will be in the playoffs come 2015.

Columbus Crew SC announced Tuesday evening that the club has formed a partnership with USL PRO expansion club Austin Aztex, beginning in 2015.

Major League Soccer has announced it will again partner with the Caribbean Football Union to host the second Caribbean Player Combine on Jan. 2-5, 2015, in Bayamón, Puerto Rico

Something very bad happened on the way to the second leg of the 2014 MLS Conference finals. Make that one very bad thing, and one slightly irresponsible thing that now threatens a team's season.

UEFA Champions League

Hat trick hero Sergio Augero saved Manchester City from going 5 games without a win in the Champions league

For the second time in four days, Lionel Messi has scored a hat trick and taken sole ownership of an all-time scoring title in a prestigious European competition.

Hector Herrera scored one goal and set up two more as Porto eased to a 3-0 win over BATE Borisov in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Chelsea sent a warning to the top European clubs as they put five past Schalke in a blistering performance that ensures they will qualify for the last 16 as winners of Group G

Paris Saint-Germain maintained their edge over Barcelona at the top of Champions League Group F with a comfortable 3-1 win over Ajax at the Parc des Princes.

Vasili Berezutski kept CSKA Moscow's Champions League campaign alive with a last-gasp equalizer against Romawhich also did Manchester City a huge favor.

Mikel San Jose kept Athletic Bilbao's European hopes alive by ending Shakhtar Donetsk's chances of topping Champions League Group H.

Sporting Lisbon ended Maribor's Champions League hopes with a 3-1 win that was delayed by 50 minutes due to floodlight failure at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

World

Sometimes you have a rough day. Maybe you had a work issue, maybe it was a personal problem, maybe you're just a Portland fan.

The beauty, and the maddening instability, of sports is that yesterday's champion can so easily become tomorrow's fall guy.

Finals grades are important to a college student, for one student let's hope he earns enough caps next year to get graded!

Every weekend - regardless of what league or international fixture I watch - I see more and more examples of awful defending that leave me shaking my head in disbelief.

Soccer legend Pele is in stable condition in a Sao Paulo hospital.

The Cosmos beat Seattle in that game 2-1, and it was just one of many highlights for Beckenbauer during his five-year American adventure.

FIFA has released a short list for "Team of the Year". Is your favorite player on the list? Who will be in the final XI?

We know defenders can't score, aren't known for scoring, and usually just stop people from scoring. That's why making this Top 10 list is pretty impressive.

What does 1996/7 Aresenal, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Warhurst, Mark Stein, Salvatore Schillaci, and Dixie Dean all have in common? Footballing Brilliance.

Roma's Gervinho is said to be the subject of a new scandal at the Felix Houphouet Boigny airport in Abidjan, Africa.

So, as things stand, member associations from Albania to Zambia can expect, if they complete the paperwork satisfactorily, to receive financial assistance of $750,000 in the months before they assemble next May to elect a FIFA President for the 2015-19 period.

It's a job that requires all the skills of a top diplomat-extreme organization, smart relationship-building, shrewd negotiating acumen-with the exception that in soccer the U.S. isn't a global superpower but rather an emerging regional heavyweight.

Not the leanest of athletes, and at 5'7 not the tallest either, he looks a little older than his years too - but appearances are clearly deceptive. His goal tally isn't!