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Major Link Soccer: Messi is back

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Lionel Messi started where he left off, Messi started his first game after a two month injury layoff and didn't miss a beat scoring twice in a 6-1 Barcelona rout of Roma.

David Ramos/Getty Images

UEFA Champions League

Catch the UEFA Champions League scores and highlights from Tuesday's games.

How do you improve on a 4-0 El Clasico win? Add Lionel Messi.

Seattle

Two Seattle Sounder Academy products are still alive in the NCAA tournamentJordan Morris (Stanford) and David Olsen (Seattle U) take their next steps this weekend against Ohio State and Syracuse.

Major League Soccer

From Zero to Hero, Jesse Marsch was named MLS Coach of the Year on Tuesday. Marsch replaced longtime fan favorite Mike Petke at the beginning of the season and has steered the New York club to the Eastern Conference semifinals and one game (plus two goals) away from hosting an MLS Cup.

Speaking of coaches, the Chicago Fire hired a new coach Tuesday. The Fire announced Veljko Paunovic as their new head coach, Paunovic is fresh off winning the U20 World Cup with Serbia. Paunovic has MLS experience having played with the Philadelphia Union in 2011.

Every MLS off season brings rumors, gossip, and gripes. Either by media, players, fans, or coaches. For Sporting Kansas City the 2016 Season could have a little of it all, coach Peter Vermes is being courted for an overseas job and club CEO Robb Heineman is looking for transfers

Colorado Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers had his trial with English Championship side Reading extended on Tuesday. The 2013 MLS Rookie of the year holds dual American/Italian passports and would not need a work permit if he was to sign for Reading.

This season, there were five big spenders in MLS. These five teams had salaries between $11 million and $22 million a year. No other team in MLS spent more than $7m on their annual wage bills. Of those five big spenders only the Seattle Sounders, Toronto FC,  and LA Galaxy made the playoffs.

U.S. Soccer

Abby Wambach will close out her storied career with four games in December. Wambach is one of 28 players who will be a part of the U.S. Women's National Team's final games of 2015.

U.S. Soccer announced the path that the USWNT will have to take in order to qualify for their sixth straight Olympic Games. The U.S. will start off February 10 against Costa Rica, then play Mexico February 13 and finish group play against Puerto Rico February 15.

Navigating youth, high school, academy, college, and eventually pro soccer has forced Jordan Morris to take the road less traveled while signing "I did it my way". But is doing it the same old way helping MLS and future players or stunting their development and MLS' ability to create talent?

MLS is both criticized and praised for its parity—there is often very little separating teams from the top and bottom. There is an important avenue, however, where teams can achieve sustained perennial success. That is through the improved use of academy teams,  where a pipeline of consistent talent is established.

World Soccer

FIFA has finally found a backbone through their ethics committee no less. FIFA's Ethics Committee opened formal proceedings on Monday to formally ban Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter from world soccer for life.

News coming out of Scotland Monday has Dundee United giving up a home match against Celtic in order to play a game in the USA. Reports have Boston or Philadelphia as mentioned possibilities for hosting the game.

All you ever wanted to know about goal scoring records.

Goals of the week: Back Heel Wonder,  Sweet Chip.