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Major Link Soccer: And Then There Were 23 (or 22, if you want to be technical)

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A glut of Atlanta-related information, plus the recording of Mike Gastineau's Soccer Talk and Landon Donovan's pessimism.

After the high-fives, Blank immediately wiped his hand on Garber's jacket
After the high-fives, Blank immediately wiped his hand on Garber's jacket
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle

Mike Gastineau's new "Seattle Soccer Talk" debuted on Tuesday, but if you missed it like I did (I was in class. What was your excuse?), the online version is up for your listening enjoyment. 45 minutes of The Gasman, Kenny Cooper, Dave Clark, and other awesome guests. The worst thing about the show is that it ends.

I'm not usually one to link to Power Rankings. They are pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things (though they can definitely be fun to get angry about). It is nice to see the Reign at number three in the league's most recent rankings, almost certainly the highest in their short history.

Freddie Ljungberg hasn't been a member of the Sounders for a few years now, and is currently enjoying retirement. Twitter took to wishing him a happy birthday.

No ride on the Sounder train is complete without a stop at Starfire to watch some training. SOUNDERS. TRAIN. *Mind Blown*

MLS

Six months ago, only one of the league's five proposed expansion teams had been announced. New York City FC was the only given. Now, with the official announcement of Atlanta, there's really only one expansion slot left of those five the league will add by 2020 (though nothing is stopping Don Garber and company from adding a few more if the landscape is right). Atlanta hosted their press conference yesterday (you can watch the whole thing at that link), which included Garber as well as team owner Arthur Blank. Blank had some interesting things to say about the role supporters will play on the team, like how they will have a say on the team's colors, which have already been chosen as Red, Black, and Gold. *awubububuwuuuh?* Hopefully he and the fans will draw on some of Atlanta's old soccer logos for their new team.

The hand-wringing about the potential for Atlanta's success going forward continues: The Washington Post, Pro Soccer Talk.

It seems like Atlanta already has a pair of built-in rivals to the south, but one MLS team from much farther north decided to start something on ATL's big day. A group of Columbus Crew supporters sent out this picture today.

Note: the man in the picture is William Sherman, A Union general in the Civil War perhaps most notable for razing the city of Arizona Atlanta to the ground. Sherman was born in Ohio. I would be somewhat hypocritical to condemn it, having laughed at similar jabs when Richard Sherman and the Seahawks went into the Georgia Dome twice last year. I'm sure Keith Olbermann has no such conflicts of interest, as he names Massive City FFC his "Worst People in the World".

Just like a presidential election, it is never too early to talk about the next round of expansion. Minnesota is a huge favorite, matching or exceeding Atlanta's measurables in nearly every category. Three potential ownership groups are trying to bring the league to the Twin Cities (Name: Twin Cities FC?), including one involved with the Minnesota Vikings (looking for a team to share their new 60,000+ seat stadium). Now that only one spot is left, it appears that the Vikings group is upping the ante. Other potential spots include San Antonio, San Diego, and St. Louis, though the latter two don't really have emergent ownership.

We've seen over the last few days that the Atlanta stadium situation isn't popular with a large piece of the MLS crowd. While Philadelphia, Montreal, and Orlando City had to have set stadium situations resolved to get into the league, several of the latest teams have followed the Seattle model. The news that NYCFC will be playing in a baseball park like Portland has some writers tearing their hair out. In the latest X-Men trailer, Magneto is gracious enough to put DC's RFK Stadium out of its misery.

There was an actual game played last night, in which the New York Red Bulls finally found their first win of the season. Last year's Supporter's Shield winners rode two goals and survived with ten men to beat the Philadelphia Union (though watching the highlights, it doesn't appear that anyone in the tri-state area knew this game was happening).

Last year, supporters in the Pacific Northwest had to fight to keep the Cascadia Cup from being trademarked by the league, potentially opening it up to all sorts of sponsorship iciness. Enter "The Cascadia Rivalry Experience Sweepstakes" presented by Chevron, as Vancouver opens a contest to send fans on to Portland and Seattle.

The Chicago Fire are making a new commercial featuring Mike Magee, and they want the help of Fire fans. The commercial is a parody of the parade scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

World

Landon Donovan has been a fixture for the US National Team for years and years, but seems resigned to riding the bench in Brazil. Age and new emergent talent is pushing him to a lesser role.

The final week of EPL will be a busy one for the NBC staff, as they plan to air all 10 Premier League games on "Championship Sunday".

I leave you with this: The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that Budweiser wasn't just muddy water. Looks like the various Bud flavors outsell all the rest combined. Friends don't let friends drink Budweiser.