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Major Link Soccer: Sounders Comebacks and a Trip Down McKennie Lane

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Also: MLS expansion end-game and a “World Cup NIT”

Portugal vs USA - International Friendly Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Seattle

Today, MLS is announcing its Comeback Player of the Year award. As we previously reported, Clint Dempsey is a finalist for the honor which recognizes “an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2017 regular season.” Keep your fingers crossed for Deuce, and while you are waiting, enjoy the Sounders’ countdown of his top goals of the year.

And on the subject of comebacks, 2017 was a magical season for the Sounders who notched two of the best comebacks of the year, becoming the first MLS side ever to win a league match after overcoming a three-goal deficit. Over at mlssoccer.com you can check out the five best comebacks of the year including video recaps of both of the massive Sounders comebacks.

There are birthday gifts and then there is this one-of-a-kind birthday gift from former-Sounder Nelson Valdez to his 11 year old son Samuel.

MLS

In the race between the three odds-on favorites for upcoming MLS expansion team bids, Nashville and Sacramento have stadium financing plans in place. But Cincinnati is rushing to finalize its own stadium deal with an update from Hamilton County on infrastructure improvements expected some time later today.

FC Cincinnati also just announced a rich sponsorship deal with Mercy Health (contingent on the success of the city’s bid for an MLS expansion team).

With expansion hype in full gear, Forbes asks: is MLS growing too fast for its own good?

USA

Sure, it was a “B-team friendly.” But the USMNT’s tie against European champion Portugal showcased some up-and-coming U.S. talent including Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams. Here are some takeaways from the match courtesy of MLS Soccer’s Armchair Analyst. And here are ESPN’s match takeaways and player ratings.

Speaking of Weston McKennie, here are 10 things you might not know about the FC Shalke product. Bundesliga.com takes us on a “trip down McKennie lane.”

The USMNT are now looking to rebuild and they have announced that they are kicking off 2018 with a home friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The USWNT finished up its year with a series against Canada. Stars and Stripes FC breaks down the lessons learned from those matches.

World

The USSF is exploring the possibility of holding a pre-World-Cup tourney (a “World Cup NIT”, if you will) featuring matches involving several nations that have been surprisingly eliminated from the World Cup, including the United States, Italy, Ghana, Netherlands and Chile. Multiple media sources including ESPN are confirming the story.

As we reported last week Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has been increasingly utilized in top European leagues. Now, according to La Liga President Javier Tebas, VAR will be used in La Liga next season.

In the same interview Tebas also stated that Lionel Messi has signed a new contract with Barcelona. There had been some speculation with his current contract expiring in June and that Messi might leave Barcelona for greener pastures.

The Madrid derby between Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid is coming up this Saturday. The fixture is always a passionate and hotly contested affair and this year it is aready shaping up to be a very important match for both sides.