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Major Link Soccer: Minnesota officially set to join MLS in 2017

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MLS makes it official, with Minnesota's team set to join the West starting in 2017.

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Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

MLS:

While often openly addressed and speculated, MLS has finally made Minnesota's joining of the league official, starting in 2017. They'll be joined by Atlanta that year, but they won't be playing in the same conference: Atlanta has been designated to play in the East, while Minnesota will play in the West. As Atlanta approaches this inaugural season, they are seeing some impressive season ticket numbers, breaking the Sounders previous record for most season tickets sold by an expansion team back in 2009.

The Sounders and Timbers clash this weekend, but they converge in a shared regional soccer culture.

MLS Disciplinary Committee has fined Caleb Porter for unsporting behavior in their match vs. DC United, they also held two suspensions initially handed out to NYCFC.

Toronto FC have already seen paid dividends from their affiliate teams in getting players to MLS play, particulalry from their League1 Ontario side.

Once their marquee offseason signing following a successful 2014 campaign, Markus Halsti looks back on his time with D.C. United and what could have been.

Taking a look at the tactics of each MLS side by the state of the game leads to some interesting insights (and charts), most notably gleaning that the Sounders decision to consistently sit in a defensive position regardless of the game state could be attributed to their offensive problems.

This is why Hugo Garcia is running Sounder at Heart today

The World:

Long known for their violence and hateful chants, Israel is finally striking back against their most racist soccer fans.

Formiga, one of Brazil's stalwarts, is leaving the team after participating in the last six Olympics, leaving Marta's ambiguous future at the forefront of the women's national team fans.

In a apparent summit of polarizing popular culture figures, Justin Bieber is set to star as a footballer player alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.

United States/USL:

Former Premiere League defender Barry Venison has been named to his first manager role, taking the reins of USL side OC Blues.

The U.S. U-18 Men's National Team have gone undefeated in the Vaclav Jezek tournament, facing the Czech Republic for the championship today.

In an effort streamline revenues and potentially host significant matches down the road, Fenway Park is planning to improve it's venue through a variety of upgrades to cater to soccer matches.


Seattle:

If you missed out on signing up for the ECS Pub League, you still have an opportunity to do so today.

This post is brought to you by Hugo Garcia (@MiVidaSeattle) who won an auction to run Sounder at Heart for a day.