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Major Link Soccer: West is best

With nearly all of the title contenders in recent memory now in the Western Conference, competition for playoff spots will be at an all-time high.

Cropping the Galaxy out was no mean feat
Cropping the Galaxy out was no mean feat
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

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Seattle

In order to get a better understanding of what being "American" entails, Tyrone Mears watched Sunday's sporting event (which shall remain nameless) along with all the commercials graciously included free of charge. It might also take some time for him to acclimate to the new schedule (though the weather won't be an issue.)

MLS

While many fans were irritated to hear about the new playoff format, owners and coaches of Western Conference teams were likely breathing sighs of relief. Competition for the six possible playoff tickets will likely leave a very good team or two high and dry. One of these teams will definitely miss the playoffs: Seattle, LA, Salt Lake, KC, Dallas, Vancouver, Houston.

Thanks to the release of 2010's MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement, we have a better idea of what to expect in the continuing negotiations for the new model this year.

Easily the best thing to come out of the Portland Timbers organization (besides those TERRIFIC new jerseys), John Strong's rise to the voice of MLS on Fox is chronicled by OregonLive.

Kaka expects Orlando City to compete from day one, but head coach Adrian Heath isn't so sure. Should fans expect Seattle/Chicago-style first year success, or more of the Portland/Toronto variety?

Ticket sales have fallen off for the Montreal Impact since their inaugural ride, but owner Joey Saputo is hoping that some shrewd offseason moves will get the fans to stop dressing up as seats for games.

The way has been cleared for Sergio Campbell to sign his rookie contract with the Columbus Crew. Read all about the MLS-level rules shenanigans here.

The Guardian argues that the news out of New York's two MLS camps may not be as bad as it sounds.

Europe

Milan has long had one of the most curious stadium situations in world soccer. Both AC Milan and Inter Milan, fierce rivals for years and years, have shared San Siro Stadium since 1947. Now, almost 100 years since AC first started playing at the famed arena, the club is looking to build a new home for themselves separate from Internazionale. It will include a drastically reduced capacity.

Start the rumor mills now: Teams who want to sign reigning Ballon d'Or recipient Cristiano Ronaldo will need to pony up 1 billion pounds. That's right, now dollars. POUNDS. I figure if Roth, Hanauer and Carey all turn their pockets out, us fans can pick up the last $500 million. I've got a fresh crisp $10 right here for just such an occasion.

The list of players who don't look thrilled to be making a move primarily comprises of English clubs.

Former/Always Sounder DeAndre Yedlin has yet to see time with Tottenham Hotspur, possibly due to some concerns about his defense against some of the top strikers in the world. Maybe his first time in the Premier League will be at midfield?

When a player shows up with the nickname "Asia's Messi," you stand up and pay attention.

US

Over at Kenn, there seems to be little debate that the current MASL is the worst soccer league in the history of the American game. The Seattle Impact situation isn't even the headlining debacle!

Jurgen Klinsmann continually stresses that MLS needs to have a longer season, but he seemingly doesn't realize that most competitive teams have less down time than England or Germany.

Defending doesn't come naturally to everyone, and even Jermaine Jones says the adjustment is taking some time.

World

No one could say Qatar isn't determined to put on a good showing when they host the World Cup in 2022. Rumors indicate that they're attempting to poach one of the biggest names in coaching to run their team: Pep Guardiola.