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Major Link Soccer: Caleb Porter out in Portland

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The departure takes everyone by surprise. Also, CONCACAF announces new Nations League, and Messi wishes Nelson Valdez’s son a happy birthday.

Montreal Impact v Portland Timbers Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Seattle

Many of you know Atlantic Crossing as a bar that’s been at the center of the soccer renaissance in Seattle over the last 10 years. It’s also at the center of a changing neighborhood, as rampant construction and different demographics present serious challenges for many small businesses in that section of Roosevelt.

Matt Pentz gives Cristian Roldan some deserved focus in this piece for ESPNFC, speaking to players and coaches about the midfielder’s potential ceiling, which seems to just keep rising.

Nelson Valdez went pretty much all out for his son’s 11th birthday, and if you follow him on Instagram you saw video birthday wishes from soccer stars from all over the world. Former club and country teammates and opponents of NHV chimed in to wish the young Valdez well, including plenty of Sounders and one Lionel Messi.

Major League Soccer

The Portland Timbers will be looking for a new head coach. Caleb Porter has made a sudden departure, in what’s being described as Porter’s own choice — one that came as a surprise to the Portland head office. Here’s Stumptown Footie’s take.

Matt Doyle speculates Porter may be taking time off and angling for new roles in MLS as they become available.

Since leaving the Sounders (and saving Sounder at Heart writers from constantly triple-checking that his name is really spelled that way), Micheal Azira has been a key piece in the Colorado Rapids lineup. Yes, the Rapids have been mostly quite bad in that time, but Burgundy Wave has seen a lot to like from the midfielder.

What were the top ten player acquisitions for their impact in MLS this year? A certain Sounders defender makes this impressive list, and we’d have to say we agree.

United States

CONCACAF has announced a new Nations League, beginning in September 2018, that should help every member nation get quality friendlies and inject some competitive edge into these matches.

World

Humble and gracious in defeat, Daniele De Rossi boarded Sweden’s team bus after Italy’s loss to apologize for San Siro’s fans’ whistling during the Swedish national anthem, and even for the behavior of some of his fellow players during the first leg of the contest.

A British writer living in Italy muses on ‘Italy’s Soccer Apocalypse’ for the New Yorker, recounting the major headlines and general mood surrounding the failure of the Azzuri to qualify for Russia 2018.

New Zealand players who traveled to Peru were subjected to 3 AM fireworks displays and low fly-bys of military jets with ‘Vamos Peru’ painted on the underside of the wings, and that was before they were bombarded by laser pointers in the stadium.

The World Cup draw is set for December 1: