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Major Link Soccer: What's bigger: El Clasico or the Super Bowl?

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Zakuani's preview of a shorthanded game in Texas, more on Minnesota United, and Pele is a corporate shill.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle

Tomorrow's game away at FC Dallas will be interesting. The injury bug bit the Sounders a bit recently, but we may see some notable faces back on the pitch in the Texas heat. Clint Dempsey will sit this one out, but fans were expecting him gone for international duty anyway. Speaking of callups, Dallas has to deal with six of their own, and they're not exactly deep reserves, either. That's right, you get to watch a Dallas game without Blas Perez. Thank you, Panama.

One guy who is almost certain to play is Mr. 253 himself, hot on the heels of his reported three-year contract extension.

Steve Zakuani gives his take on the upcoming game, noting this will be the very first MLS road game for several players likely to feature in Dallas, and wondering if FCD can keep up their good form over the long season. I'd prefer a video next time, so I can hear it in Zak's accent, it just doesn't seem right written out.

Seattle fans can thank the Sounders athletic training staff at least in part for the speedy recovery of the team's players. Apparently it's National Athletic Training Month, and over at the team site, they spotlight the crack team of trainers and doctors and how S2 will change things. (But also click if you want to see a great group photo that includes a skeleton. Is Stefan Frei nude in this photo? We'll never know).

The Official Website of Obafemi Martins is "website updating soon", but it looks a little bland and cookie cutter for my tastes. I challenge Sounder at Heart readers to out-design Oba's PR team and design a better homepage (probably with more flips and flamethrowers).

Major League Soccer

Some more tidbits on the Minnesota United front: The MLS site has a closer look at Dr. Bill McGuire, why he bought the struggling club in 2012 (not 'cause he loves soccer), and how he won over the brass at MLS.

We noted yesterday that MUFC may even "jump the line" of expansion teams, leaving non-Galaxy-loving Southern Californians without an MLS alternative for yet another year. Here's how Alicia at The Goat Parade feels about the news.

According to anyone with taste In my not-so-humble opinion, Minnesota's crest and other branding is just the best. Is my opinion colored by the fact that my whole family is from the land of 10,000 lakes? Possibly. If you're into this kind of thing, the designer in charge of the MUFC rebrand two years ago has posted a look back on that design process and the admiration the new look has garnered. (Bonus: embedded tweet from Jeremiah Oshan!)

NASL and USL

2013 Sounders FC draftee and Air Force 2nd Lt. Kevin Durr has signed with Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC of the USL after graduating from Air Force Academy starting active duty at a base in Colorado Springs.

The NASL is expanding its agreement with ESPN and most matches will be streamed live across the network's streaming services.

It looks pretty likely that Indy Eleven of the NASL will not have a brand-new exclusive stadium in downtown Indianapolis, or at least that it won't happen with too much help from the taxpayers.

Etc.

"What is beauty, and why is it called the beautiful game? That's a central question in aesthetic philosophy." Here's a close look at Harvard's class on soccer as a portal into the study of the humanities.

FiveThirtyEight asks: Is Messi vs. Ronaldo bigger than the Super Bowl?

Jesse Marsch is skeptical about the USMNT's "identity."

Zito Madu at SBNation:

Whatever beauty that Pele used to represent about football and life is gone. He's a brand, a walking ad for establishments and corporations. His blank persona means that they can insert their slogans and ideals in the canvas of his personality, and he will spew their nonsense to the general public at every chance.