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Major Link Soccer: Sounders Head to Camp; YachtCon III is Coming

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Also: Why More South American Players are Picking MLS; Learn about Liga MX

Watercolor of a ship through binoculars MLS Watercolorist

Seattle

The Sounders started training in Chula Vista yesterday with a focus on ramping up conditioning for the upcoming season. Training Report: Day 1 in Chula Vista is all about fitness — soundersfc.com

After the success of last year’s trial effort to include Academy prospects in the Sounders’s preseason the team decided to make invites again this season. Academy prospects relishing opportunity to train with Seattle Sounders First Team in preseason — soundersfc.com

Reports from Colombian media have linked Deportivo Cali midfielder Andres Felipe Roa to the Sounders — but before you get too excited, recent tweets from media sources in Cali have also mentioned interest by other parties, including Tigres UANL from Liga MX. Report: Sounders among MLS teams interested in Colombian midfielder Roa — mlssoccer.com

It’s been a slow offseason for the Sounders. But that’s by design, according to GM Garth Lagerwey. After quiet winter, Sounders confident 2017 core will improve in 2018 — mlssoccer.com

Tickets to YachtCon III by Sounder at Heart Nos Audietis podcast are on sale now. The event is happening February 24th at Queen Anne Beerhall. It’s going to be a great event. Check out the details in the link above or on the Nos Audietis Twitter feed. Proceeds benefit the Autism Center at Seattle Children’s.

MLS

MLS is having increasing success at bringing in young South American players, who are transforming the league. Winter arrivals open new chapter in MLS’s long history with South America — mlssoccer.com

The LA Galaxy have acquired veteran midfielder and USMNT member Chris Pontius from Philadelphia Union. LA Galaxy sign midfielder Chris Pontius — lagalaxy.com

FC Barcelona is in advanced talks about acquiring Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla from Montreal Impact. But they are not the only major suitor. Barcelona to beat Chelsea for Canadian wonder kid — ESPN This is also being confirmed by The Washington Post.

In the meantime Montreal has signed midfielder and Algerian international Saphir Taïder as a Designated Player. Algerian international Saphir Taïder joins Impact as new Designated Player — impactmontreal.com

The New England Revolution opened camp with one of their biggest stars holding out. Lee Nguyen absent from Revs preseason camp, wants a trade — Bent Musket

Meanwhile New England picked up Ecuadorian forward/midfielder Cristian Penilla on loan with an option to buy from Liga MX side Pachuca. New England Revolution add Ecuadorian forward/midfielder Cristian Penilla — revolutionsoccer.net

Orlando City SC star Cyle Larin was also AWOL from the beginning of training camp (and recorded training with Turkish side Besiktas) in the midst of a contract dispute over whether he is a free agent or subject to an Orlando club option. Cyle Larin trains with Besiktas with Orlando contract in dispute— ESPN

At a recent Orlando City SC press conference, Dom Dwyer said he was improving, but not yet on full training, after a right hamstring strain that resulted in him withdrawing USMNT camp. Dwyer said that the injury did not occur at the USMNT camp; it was an issue he had been “battling a little bit.” Dom Dwyer | Recovering Quickly — orlandocitysc.com

The Portland Timbers have been continuing to make roster moves during the offseason, recently signing Stanford forward Foster Langsdorf to a Homegrown Player contract and acquiring Homegrown Player rights to midfielder Eryk Williamson from DC United. Portland Timbers sign forward Foster Langsdorf as Homegrown Player for 2018 season — Timbers.com

Portland Timbers acquire Homegrown Player rights for midfielder Eryk Williamson from D.C. United — Timbers.com

Acclaimed British Referee Howard Webb, the new General Manager for the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), wants to improve refereeing in MLS and talks about the future of video review. Webb aims for MLS officials to keep pace with league’s growth — mlssoccer.com

Colorado Rapids hire Ena Patel, highest-ranking female executive in MLS
The Colorado Rapids have a new director of player personnel, the club announced Tuesday.

U.S.A.

The United States women’s national team (USWNT) started the year off strong with a 5-1 romp over Denmark in their first friendly of 2018. USWNT opens 2018 with 5-1 win over Denmark — The Equalizer

USWNT, Mexico open U-20 World Cup qualifying with victories – Equalizer Soccer
The U-20 USWNT opened CONCACAF World Cup qualifying with a convincing 2-0 win over Nicaragua.

They U-20 USWNT then defeated Jamaica in its second group stage match. Late Goal Lifts USA Over Jamaica 2-1 in Second 2018 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship Group Game - U.S. Soccer

Yesterday the U-20 USWNT defeated Mexico to win its group and advance to a January 26 Semifinal v. Group A runner-up Haiti for a berth to the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. USA Defeats Mexico 2-1 to win Group B at 2018 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship - U.S. Soccer

Michael Bradley unsure if he’ll play for USMNT again - Stars and Stripes FC
The current captain’s future will be in the hands of the next manager.

World

If you have ever wanted to watch Mexican Soccer but felt like learning about Liga MX seemed intimidating, ESPN has put together a great primer. Liga MX 101: The terms, rivalries and names you need to know — ESPN

The domestic (U.K.) broadcast rights for the Premier League are expected to sell at auction for more than $7.8 billion, pushed by new competition including Amazon. International broadcast rights are expected to also reach record values. Premier League Broadcast Rights Likely to Sell for Record Price at Auction — Bloomberg

Liga MX is in the TV rights dark ages and that needs to change - FMF State Of Mind
While the league continues to make strides in many areas, it can do much better with the distribution of television rights.

Pursuant to a deal inked last year between the Saudi Arabian Football Federation and La Liga, several Saudi internationals have been signed to La Liga and Segunda División loans, with salaries paid by Saudi Arabia, as training before the 2018 Russia World Cup. Saudi Arabia Loans Soccer Players To La Liga To Boost World Cup 2018 Chances — Forbes

The Asociación De Futbolistas Españoles (AFE) complains that the Saudi Arabian loan deal with La Liga is unfair to Spanish youth players. La Liga: Spanish union hits out at Saudi Arabia player loan deal

Finally, FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo was badly bloodied and required a few stitches for a nasty gash close to the eye that he received when took a boot to the face diving for a header in Real Madrid’s 7-1 victory over Deportiva La Coruña. Ronaldo has stitches for face cut in La Liga — Sport24

Ronaldo did score a brace in the match.

No permanent disfigurement is expected; but check out the video of Ronaldo receiving treatment after the match. Yikes!