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Major Link Soccer: Huge Week in Cascadia

Plus: wooden pizza, and the tiniest star in the making

CCL - Sounders vs. Whitecaps: Photos Mike Russell/Sounder at Heart


The Sounders are hot, hot, hot going into the stretch; in fact they are on one of the best runs of form seen in MLS this season.

If you want more information on expected goals (xG), the SB Nation team has got you covered with a video primer breaking it down in less than four minutes.

Although the Sounders match against Minnesota United was tougher (and messier) than hoped for, MLS named Chad Marshall to its Team of the Week for week 24, the second in a row for him.

Humble Marshall’s “headerball shoulder shot score” was, undoubtedly, also a factor behind this week’s nod.


Across Cascadia, our rivals to the South and North have been taking care of business, setting up a dramatic Rivalry Week.

Vancouver seemed to be fading away, but they are fighting back after a critical 2-1 take down of Houston Dynamo. They’ll be fired up for the Sounders tonight.

Meanwhile Portland, fresh off a victory against the Red Bulls, are prepping for a match tomorrow night as well against Colorado Rapids. They don’t seem too worried.

Sebastian Blanco, who owns a pizzeria back in Argentina, took some time out to teach Diego Valeri how to sling a quality pie.

There have been some rumblings that newly acquired DP Blanco (5G, 6A) has maybe not lived up to his billing (on the field, not in the kitchen). Timbers Coach Caleb Porter recently took a few minutes to talk about his contributions to the team, while Oregon Live took a deeper look at Blanco and how he fits in with Portland’s attack.

The PRO assignments are out for week 25. Can you guess who will be heading up the officiating crew night for the Vancouver match?


Check out the piece on more than 30 years of dominance by the incomparable USWNT.

And, speaking of the USWNT, Stars and Stripes discusses USWNT players to keep an eye on as Coach Jill Ellis hones the squad for World Cup qualifying next year.

Over at, they run down projections for Coach Arena’s USMNT roster going into September’s World Cup qualifiers.

FourFourTwo’s take is that the roster is largely set.


Remember Keisuke Honda? The Japanese International and AC Milan attacker was rumored to be close to signing with the Sounders back in the winter transfer window, before being linked to LAFC and ultimately signing with Liga MX squad Pachuca. A little more than a month later he just made his auspicious debut for the team, notching a goal against Veracruz.

The data wizards at FiveThirtyEight have released their Global Club Soccer Rankings of 438 clubs by Soccer Power Index. The list is ripe for discussion of who was included, who wasn’t, and how valid and useful the rankings might be. There is some discussion of the list in an accompanying article.

Over at BBC they take a look at time wasting in the Premier League, what that means to the fans and the game and ways they might address it.

In La Liga, ESPN FC reports that there has been increasing speculation about Lionel Messi’s future with Barcelona. Will he sign sign an extension? Could a team like Manchester City activate his €300 million buyout clause? Could he sign a pre-contract in January and leave on a free?

Also in La Liga, La Roja Captain and Real Madrid Central Midfielder Sergio Ramos has earned another, more dubious distinction: he’s now tied for most red cards in the league’s history.

And finally ....

Watch this until the very end (with sound)!


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