Major League Soccer
The 2017 MLS season kicks off tonight, with the Portland Timbers hosting newcomers Minnesota United FC, although of course we have to wait until tomorrow for our Sounders fix.
Speaking of Minnesota, they've taken a distinctly different approach from Atlanta United FC in building their team. Will the conservative approach be enough to compete in year one versus DP-heavy squads?
Here's the first edition of the 2017 Power Ranking Averages from RSL Soapbox. FC Dallas edge out as favorites, and Seattle Sounders are tied with TFC right behind the Toros. Bonus: vintage Djimi Traore appearance in the lead photo.
Yahoo Sports has your reminder that using the salary cap to show what MLS spends on players doesn't work anymore.
Ahead of MLS' 22nd season, commissioner Don Garber feels that there's "no limit" on MLS success in the American sports landscape.
Here's the state of each team's regional TV broadcast arrangement for the upcoming season, via Soccer America Daily.
And now, for predictions: SI's expert panel pegs Dallas or TFC for MLS Cup and the Supporters' Shield, and predict everything from Golden Boot to breakout rookie. Not to be outdone, the Armchair Analyst has the teams set up in tiers, and it's hard to argue with his placement of most teams. He also has "one question for each MLS club ahead of the 2017 season." For the Sounders, he's got a question about the speed on the flanks.
MLS has an infographic/cheat sheet for checking out the stats of each team's stadium for the 2017 season.
TFC has completed a "Wall of Honour" at BMO field, detailing their achievements over the years (no mention of being second-best in 2016 though. Strange).
Rather than a cookie cutter tribute of some kind for Black History Month, MLS produced this excellent video of an open discussion among a group of players, coaches and others about the black American soccer experience. As LAG Confidential points out, it deserves more recognition.
Giovani Dos Santos will appear tonight on Conan O'Brien's special series Conan Without Borders: Hecho en Mexico.
Concacaf Champions League
Pachuca, Arabe Unido, Vancouver Whitecaps and Tigres won their CCL quarterfinal ties, which means NYRB are out of the running. Here's a recap of the Tigres/Pumas match.
John Hutchinson has joined the S2 staff as an assistant coach, coming over from Australia where he had a 19-year career as a player and recently was a coach with Central Coast Mariners FC of the A League.
The Sounders website wins eye-rolling pun of the day with "Something Bruin," but it's safe to say Will Bruin is relishing his chance to shine with a new club, and the coaches see a lot they like in the striker.
Crossfire Premier is starting a full time Performance Academy with K12 accreditation.
It was pretty cool to see that the AP picked up the story of Zach Scott's testimonial match.
After successfully negotiating a broadcast deal for NWSL with A+E, commissioner Jeff Plush is stepping down to pursue new opportunities.