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Major Link Soccer: Who wants a Zakuani/Dempsey Christmas single?

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Also: conference finals, and book spine poetry hype

MLS: LA Galaxy at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle

I think most fans would consider winning the MLS Cup a pretty great holiday gift by itself, but Steve Zakuani says he and Clint Dempsey have a special thing planned for Seattle if the Sounders repeat.

Gustav Svensson has never played in a league with a playoff format, but he loves playing in high stakes matches.

The Dynamo are working on a plan to keep the Sounders offense in check by being more aggressive in containing playmakers Clint Dempsey and Nico Lodeiro.

If you haven’t seen the clever book spine poetry Sounders hype from Seattle Pacific University, check it out. What more would you expect in bookish UNESCO City of Literature Seattle.

With winter coming, Sounders Cristian Roldan and Aaron Kovar are helping raise cash and warm clothing donations as part of Columbia Bank’s Warm Hearts Winter Drive.

MLS

Although it’s hard to imagine it in the midst of the Sounders hype here in Seattle, there is another game this week. The Armchair Analyst has a tactical preview of the Toronto FC matchup tonight against Columbus Crew.

Soccer America feels that Toronto are clear favorites, but the Crew are happy to be considered underdogs.

Here is the match preview from Waking The Red.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is out of contract with the Chicago Fire after a one year contract that paid the German superstar $5.4 million in 2017. The Fire are reportedly negotiating for his return; just two weeks ago Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez called retaining Schweinsteiger “a priority” for the club.

Atlanta United FC is rumored to be on the cusp of closing a $14 million offer to sign 18 year-old Argentina youth international and Independiente attacking midfielder, Ezequiel Barco.

The Mac Hermann Trophy semifinalist list is out. Four players from the MLS academy system are in the running. Finalists will be chosen December 8. We won’t find out who will join the elite group of prior trophy winners, including the Sounders’ Jordan Morris, until January 5.

World

The U.S. is out of the World Cup. But you still want to watch it right? Sure you do! The draw to determine group placement is happening Friday, December 1. Here’s more information and how to tune in.

Speaking of the World Cup, FIFA is having a hard time lining up sponsors and could be looking at a shortfall. With its ongoing corruption scandals, is FIFA seen as a toxic brand?

The Aqua Running buoyancy suit has become a fixture in training and rehab for elite clubs like Real Madrid. Now the founder wants to take the suits to the next level, embedding them with sensors to collect a range of performance data.

The LigaMX playoffs are nearing their summit, and Monterrey is the clear favorite at this point. There are a lot of other interesting tidbits, as well, about potential opponents in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League.