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Major Link Soccer: Sacramento Republic sign first Pakistani pro player in US

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ESPN polls MLS players on diving, match fixing and more, Tigres make a huge signing, and World Cup players admit to being bad at soccer.

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Seattle

Not everything is rosy in Sounders land these days (as Adrian Hanauer will admit). Marquee players injured or facing unknown punishments, nagging injuries for regular starters, everyone's talking about Seattle in the Open Cup again, but for the wrong reasons. But you know what? The Sounders are holding strong to their first-place spot in the comprehensive MLS power ranking averages at RSL Soapbox. They haven't budged from No. 1 since week 10, and play at home again this weekend against a middling opponent to lighten the load. Things could certainly be much worse.

Are you a geek who loves the Sounders (or just a Sounders geek)? Check out Geekwire's annual Sounders Day event coming up in a month. The tech news outlet is hosting a pregame party July 18th on a Pioneer Square rooftop, where Adrian Hanauer will be making an appearance. Then everyone will join the march and sits together at CLink. If you already have tickets to the Rapids match you could just join in on the roof shindig beforehand, you'll just need to purchase a ticket.

North American Leagues

We recapped this week's action in the US Open Cup yesterday, but if you prefer a visual highlight reel set to the dulcet vocal tones of MLS' Andrew Wiebe, that can be arranged.

There was no record of any Pakistani-born soccer player signing with a professional team in the US, until now. The USL's Sacramento Republic have signed Pakistan captain Kaleemullah Khan. Last year he was MVP and Golden Boot winner in the Kyrgyz league with Dordoi Bishkek.

ESPN polled 61 anonymous MLS players on several intriguing topics, including promotion/relegation, diving, and Jurgen Klinsmann's opinions about MLS. Very interesting results that I will let readers check out themselves.

Sydney Leroux and Dom Dwyer, Soccer Power Couple™, received the MLS Insider mini-documentary treatment, giving you a look into their personal lives as they plan a wedding and deal with spending so much time apart.

Unlike in the US, where retirement age seems to be constantly going up, for soccer stars playing in Europe it's coming earlier and earlier. This must be the case, because we are seeing more and more non-USMNT, legitimately-good-and-still-in-their-prime players making the move to the retirement leagues to play their club soccer. Obafemi Martins and Sebastian Giovinco in MLS, and now Tigres and Liga MX have made another big signing: French star Andre-Pierre Gignac.

World Cup

The round of sixteen kicks off Saturday, with Germany vs. Sweden and Cameroon vs. China.

Abby Wambach and others have continued to bring up the issue of artificial turf in the World Cup, sometimes blaming it for a lack of goals. Donovan Bennett (SportsNet.ca) disagrees, and goes further to say that it's not an equal rights issue, either.

One thing I think we can all agree on is that women are just bad at soccer and fail to understand the basic rules of the game, and at least the Norwegian players are willing to admit it. Progressive, as usual, those Scandinavians. (It's a funny).