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Major Link Soccer: End-of-Season MLS Drama

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Also: U.S. advances to U-17 World Cup Quarters

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle

Well, it is almost here. The last game of the regular season against Colorado Rapids is Sunday. The stakes are still high. SoundersFC.com breaks down everything you need to know.

Gustav Svensson has been called up by Sweden in the last two windows, and, with a World Cup appearance on the line, the Sounders expect him to be called up for Sweden’s critical matches against Italy scheduled for Nov 10 and 13. Luckily, those dates shouldn’t interfere with the MLS playoff schedule.

However, some of that will depend on how the Sounders finish against Colorado, and also on Svensson’s MRI results. The Sounders need a win Sunday to give the squad a chance to get key players, including Svensson, healthy for a the final stretch.

MLS

There is continued fallout today from yesterday’s bombshell that Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt is considering relocating the team to Austin, Texas. Massive Report has more coverage.

At Hudson River Blue a writer talks growing up outside of Columbus and the pain of a history of betrayal by hometown clubs.

At FiftyFive.One they frame the news as a march to the brink of a red line — a threat to break the uneasy symbiotic relationship between monied club owners and passionate grassroots fan bases that was instrumental in saving MLS and helping grow it into the league it is today.

At Deadspin they come right out and say it: MLS teams are learning to “extort American cities like a big-boy league”, and even with the Crew being the league’s “first franchise”, passion and sentiment won’t save them.

Orlando City’s sub-par season and elimination from the playoffs have sent waves of concern through the organization and fanbase. Coach Jason Kreis says changes are coming. Who should be on the “evaluation block”?

As Toronto FC claims the Supporter’s Shield and readies itself for a repeat post-season run for the MLS Trophy, Sports Illustrated asks “Is Sebastian Giovinco too Good for MLS?

ESPN has put together cool videos showing how MLS Western Conference standings and Eastern Conference standings have fluctuated over the course of this wild season.

USA

The recriminations continue following elimination of the USMNT from World Cup qualifying. NYCFC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna took time out (20 minutes) to add his two cents. The problem, he says, is “Not U.S. Soccer but Soccer in the U.S.” He blamed “a pervasive blame culture” and arrogance here versus humility overseas.

The USMNT World Cup dreams have been dashed, but the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team stamped its ticket to the quarterfinals of the Under-17 World Cup after a dominating win over Paraguay. Their next opponent: England.

Tomorrow night, Oct. 19 (7 p.m. CT; FS1) the USWNT play the first of a pair of friendlies against Korea Republic. Forward Tobin Heath and defender Taylor Smith will miss the match due to injuries sustained in the NWSL Championship. U.S. Soccer has a match preview.

Carli Lloyd, fortunately, will be back in action with the USWNT after completing rehabilitation for the ankle injury she sustained during a Houston Dash match in August. In an interview Lloyd talks about the injury, and the focus on next year’s qualifying tournament the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

World

La Liga President Javier Tebas told an audience at the World Football Summit in Madrid that they have delayed a decision on renewing La Liga international television rights agreements given uncertainty and upheaval surrounding the possibility of Catalonian independence.

At the same Summit, a representative of Catalonia-based Mediapro (the current international La Liga rights holders) argued that a La Liga without Barcelona was unthinkable. He argued that the El Clásico pitting Barca against Real Madrid was a global event that sells Spanish football internationally.

Is the Balon d’Or boring? Since 2007, when Kaká won while at Milan, only Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo have won it (with the other taking the runner up slot). Here are this year’s 30 short listers ranked.