Sounder at Heart Archives for January 2010

The MLS Superdraft - The Center-backs

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I would love to say I saved the best for last for this series of posts on Superdraft prospects (you can see my other posts in the FanPosts section). Now, when I say that, it's not because there aren't some good center-back prospects in the draft. There are a number of center-backs that will have long and productive careers in the MLS.

Freddie Ljungberg Signs With Celtic; Sounders Will Receive 27th Overall Pick

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Freddie Ljungberg Signs With Celtic; Sounders Will Receive 27th Overall Pick

We now know what the Sounders will receive from the Chicago Fire in exchange for half a season of Freddie Ljungberg's services: the 27th overall pick in the upcoming SuperDraft. Ljungberg will be formally announced during a Friday press conference and could suit up and play as soon as Saturday when Celtic will play rival Rangers in the Scottish derby.

The MLS Superdraft - Forwards & Outside-Mids

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Bumped to front page

I've recently being doing a series on potential draftees for the Sounders in the 2011 Superdraft you can click through to see my previous fanposts on GKs and fullbacks/center-mids). I decided to put forwards and outside-mids together for a couple reasons.

First, in Sigi's system, the outside-mids are responsible for a lot of the team's offense and are often inverted wingers that come into the center to expose the defense.

Mock Mothers From Their Sons, Mock Castles Down

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With the MLS Superdraft approaching in a couple of weeks, the full force of MLS Internet punditry has turned its attention to the upcoming rookie class. The mock drafting has begun, and we were curious to see how the Sounders were faring.

West Virginia Hooligan Drew Epperley is already on version 2.

MLS adds another Draft - SuperDraft losing a round

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You may have missed Jeremiah's post on this yesterday, so let this be a reminder that you should be reading www.sbnation.com/soccer every day for more general newsy stuffs. The fact is that MLS is bringing back the Supplemental Draft a few days after the SuperDraft.

The Supplemental Draft wiki has some background on what it is/was/has been.

Parity: What Is It And How Much Is Right? (Part 3)

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In previous parts I introduced the project and came up with a formula for franchise parity and then explored season parity. After a nice holiday break I'm going to look at game parity.

Game Parity

Game parity represents the likelihood that a worse team will still manage to win a game against a better team.

In Case You Missed It, Herculez Gomez Was Joking

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In Case You Missed It, Herculez Gomez Was Joking

Herculez Gomez set the online soccer world scurrying this morning when he seemed to announce that he had signed with MLS. Unfortunately, it's pretty clearly a joke. Today is the Spanish-speaking world's equivalent of April Fool's Day and his tweet was only in Spanish.

Seahawks, NFL and Danger of Overexpansion with Tiny Divisions

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Most of you probably know that the Seattle Seahawks have a chance to be the worst team in NFL history to make the NFL playoffs. With just 7 wins they could win their division of 4 teams and advance. As MLS is still adjusting their new MLS Cup Playoff format, it is important to realize that at some point in the near future MLS will not be able to have a double-round robin schedule.

John Rooney makes MLS Superdraft more complicated

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One of the projects the SBN MLS crew is working on is a mock draft. So when I'm not getting ready for the holidays, and when I'm not prepping for the next addition of OFF, and when I'm not prepping for the 2010 Player Recaps I'm reading a ton of draft/prospects stuff. Not just Dizzo's solid work on Keepers and CM/Fullbacks, but stuff out there from the respected to the marginal.

Former Sounder Freddie Ljungberg Close To Signing With Celtic

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Former Sounder Freddie Ljungberg Close To Signing With Celtic

After all the talk of numerous teams chasing Freddie Ljungberg, there appears to actually be some action. The former Sounder, who is currently out of contract after finishing out last season with the Chicago Fire, is apparently due in Glasgow to talk contract with Celtic and will reportedly train with the first team this week.

Potential Timber Robbie Findley Signs with Nottingham Forest

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More photos » Hunter Martin - Getty Images

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As soon as Portland somewhat surprisingly selected Robbie Findley and Jonathan Bornstein in the expansion draft, every Sounders fan (and to a lesser extent the fans of every other MLS team) wished both a long and successful career overseas.

MLS Must Go South

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It may seem odd for me, a proud Cascadian, to proclaim this. And as an old media guy maybe you'll get a bit surprised because I'm not going to talk about the current TV/radio markets.

But the fact is that the Sun Belt is where the growth is. The census results are starting to trickle in, and while Washington and Utah both earned themselves a new congressman, every other state that did so is in the Sun Belt.

Sounders Technical Director Chris Henderson Shares Thoughts On Erik Friberg

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Back when Kasey Keller was re-signed, I promised to share some of my interview with Sounders Technical Director Chris Henderson. We mainly talked about the recent signing of Swedish midfielder Erik Friberg.

Most of our conversation was about how he saw Friberg fitting into a team that already seems reasonably well set.

Sounders off-season moves through the lens of Soccernomics

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Sounders losses are Tyrone Marshall, Peter Vagenas, Nathan Sturgis and Sanna Nyassi
Sounders gains are Erik Friberg, O'Brian White, Danny Earls and Julien Baudet (or at least his rights)

Here's the list of recommendations from Soccernomics in chapter 3 - Gentleman Prefer Blonds, somewhat condensed.

If a MLS player makes it past the third year, chances are good for a relatively long MLS career. ...

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If a MLS player makes it past the third year, chances are good for a relatively long MLS career. Boyden and Carey show that the mortality rate spikes after the first season, but then levels out in subsequent seasons. A player who becomes a regular starter in the league has a better chance of survival by year six, and as the physical skills decline in subsequent years (years 7+) the career expectancy decreases.

86 Forever: 500 Away Tickets Better Than Nothing

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86 Forever: 500 Away Tickets Better Than Nothing

At some point, I'll have a more thorough examination of this issue, but in the meantime this is a good read for the sake of another perspective. Massey, who will almost certainly be making the trip, is disappointed. Like many of us, he believes away support is one of the things that makes soccer great.

Welcome Stumptown Footy to SBN

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Welcome Stumptown Footy to SBN

Yes, our Cascadia South neighbors now have a blog here on SBN. I'd poke fun, but today is really their day, so go over there and give them a warm welcome.

Later we'll get into that whole rivalry thing. We'll talk about cross-site moderation (because I got a feeling this is going to get tough), but today let's just recognize that the Cascadia is full represented.

Sounders to Open at Home for Third Straight Year

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More photos » Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images

You sell this game to TV

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The biggest news of the announcement of MLS Home Openers is that The First Kick game will be on Tuesday.

Okoli in Israel Update

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After tearing it up in the US Soccer Academy League with 6 goals in 12 games, Sounders U-18 Academy forward Sean Okoli spent the last few weeks with the US U-18 national team for a mini-tournament in Tel Aviv, Israel. I couldn't find any reporting out of there, but the match reports on USSoccer.com tell the story of a frustrating tournament for the US and limited action for Okoli.

Why do the Sounders need a target man?

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Unbelievably, it may not be the primary duty of the so-called "target man" to actually score goals. I'm sure there are those of you who may be a little surprised to read that, but it really makes sense.

There were a couple of examples of USA coach Bob Bradley's shocking naivete from this last summer (the type of un-insight-fulness which would lead someone like me to not renew his contract for another four years) and one of them was that he seemed to still think he needed two strikers, up high, on the same vertical axis.

Tools of Keeping

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More photos » Ned Dishman - Getty Images

Distribution is part of the Keeper's Tool Chest

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In the earlier post on Tools in Soccer keepers were ignored.

Sounders up for Seattle Times Sports Story of Year

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Sounders up for Seattle Times Sports Story of Year

15 up for vote, with top 10 appearing in their 2010 Recap Addition.

You can vote for up to 10 stories at a time.

Stuff the ballot as Sounders are only at the 5% mark or so right now. Two stories over 10%, both Mariners.

Creating a Better Club World Cup

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Imagine if the World Cup was every single year, but it only featured the best team from every region. Imagine that the best nation from each of Europe and South American entered in the semis of a knockout bracket.

Stop imagining.

You essentially have the Club World Cup.

Club World Cup Final: Game Thread For Mazembe-Inter Milan

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More photos » Vittorio Zunino Celotto - Getty Images

Will Rafael Benitez be gone by tomorrow? (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

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Fox Soccer Channel has elected to show the Club World Cup as Liverpool-Fulham is snowed under, so get thee to a television set to see if Africa can make history!

Keller signed for another year

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Keller signed for another year

Now official that Keller will be the starter at Keeper next season. Keller says "... there was no question that I wanted to play one last season." That sounds pretty definitive that 2011 is it.

Stray Observations From The Kasey Keller Press Conference

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More photos » Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images

Kasey Keller re-signed with the Sounders and will likely play one more year before retiring and maybe taking a front office or coaching position with the team.

Davidson now sees some opportunities for NASL teams to work with MLS and start to form a real...

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Davidson now sees some opportunities for NASL teams to work with MLS and start to form a real bridge from first division to rest of the U.S. soccer pyramid. The Vancouver Whitecaps have even retained their membership in NASL despite moving to MLS. That probably won't mean MLS reserve teams literally playing in NASL, but it could lead to competitive matches being played against one another or MLS teams operating second division sides in other markets.

Sounders Sign Swedish MF Erik Friberg

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The move that has been rumored for more than a week was made official today as the Sounders announced the signing of Swedish midfielder Erik Friberg. He has spent the last four years with Swedish Allsvenskan side BK Hacken, spending time on the left side and in the middle.

"Erik is a player who who brings an honest work rate and flair to our midfield," said Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said in a team release.

Nice Knowing Ya Chris Seitz; Sounders Deal GK To FC Dallas

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Just hours after picking goalkeeper Chris Seitz in the Re-Entry Draft and signing him to a new contract, the Seattle Sounders traded him to FC Dallas in exchange for a fourth-round SuperDraft pick in 2012. Combined with the debunking of the Sounders being close to signing an Austrian goalkeeper, it appears as if this move greatly increases the chances of Terry Boss serving as the backup to Kasey Keller this season.

Cascadia Cup Visitors Will Be Allotted 500 Tickets Per Game

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More photos » Victor Decolongon - Getty Images

This was the away support Sounders fans brought to Los Angeles. Filling those 500 seats in Portland and Vancouver should be no problem.

Seattle Selects Seitz With 9th Pick in Re-Entry Draft

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This was a pick we looked at as a possibility yesterday. They still have to work out a contract, but this could immediately fill a need as a potential future replacement to Keller. We'll add more details here as we get them.


Update: Marshall taken by LA. Might that free up the cap space to sign Seitz?

TAKE OFF THE TARPS!

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I'm taking a break from my tactics writing to address something which is also important to me. This is the desire to sell out Qwest field for a regular-season MLS match.

There are currently some 30,000 (give or take a few hundred) seats at Qwest which are covered with tarps and unavailable for purchase.

Sounders Could End Up with Two Top 11 SuperDraft Picks

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Sounders Could End Up with Two Top 11 SuperDraft Picks

Maybe this has been out there, but this is the first I've read the exact details of the Freddie Ljungberg trade. According to this Joshua Mayers article, the Sounders would receive the Fire's first-round pick (ninth overall) if Ljungberg re-signs before the SuperDraft and would get their second round pick (27th overall) if he leaves.

On the "regista" and wingers...

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more thoughts on Sigi's Arrow

this picks right up where I left off yesterday

The search for the "regista"

We aren't going to find a true "Xavi" because this is the MLS. The closest we have right now is probably Brad Evans, who unfortunately was almost ruined this last year before his injury with the tragicomic attempt to play him at center forward or right wing.

If you think Versus is the anwer to MLS TV success - you are wrong. We are. By watching league...

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If you think Versus is the anwer to MLS TV success - you are wrong.

We are. By watching league matches without our home teams. We are by telling our friends that enjoy the game that MLS is worth watching.

Who's the 9th Best Player in the Re-Entry Draft?

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More photos » Andy Marlin - Getty Images

HARRISON, NJ - APRIL 24: Juan Pablo Angel #9 of the New York Red Bulls tells goalkeeper Chris Seitz #1 of the Philadelphia Union that he'll see him at the Re-Entry Draft.

Another Call for Tomoaki Makino

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With MLS announcing that they will have a dedicated scout looking into the AFC, and specifically working with the San Jose Earthquakes at the J-League Free Agent Combine, it is time for the Sounders, or at the least MLS, to go after this youngster hard. There's a reason I launched the Searching for a Free post with him.

Formation Visualisation Tool

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Formation Visualisation Tool

Bookmark this and reference for when someone busts out formation nomenclature that you just don't recognize.

Sigi's Arrow would be in his 4-1-3-1-1. SK=Striker, as Graham's got some English in him. I would call it a 4-1-1-3-1, but there is no functional difference in placement of the band of 3, though with Graham's usage you may say that the striker/WF is given more of a roaming role.

Rigidity vs. fluidity: what is Sigi's game?

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Is a fluid attack all just free flowing "joga bonito" or does structure lead to fluidity?

This could be considered part 5 of my tactical analysis of the Sounders. Parts 1-3 were a review of the first two seasons and part 4 was a look into the CAM role (or lack thereof). Parts 5 and 6 begin to tackle the issue of where creativity comes from within an otherwise "rigid" system.

We held our first real meet-up today and somewhere between 30 and 40 people showed up. The College...

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We held our first real meet-up today and somewhere between 30 and 40 people showed up. The College Cup played to a much more interested crowd than the Seahawks game, lots of drinks were imbibed, scarves were delivered and some good conversation was had. We've posted some photos at our Facebook page.

State of Mind

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State of Mind

some of you may be wondering what I'm on about lately... some insight into my thinking can be found in this article I just went back and re-read...
"None of this truly defines what constitutes a playmaker: given the range of what people consider playmakers, perhaps the truth is that playmaker is not a position at all but a state of mind.

Are there "tools" in soccer?

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More photos » Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images

SEATTLE - JULY 11: Nathan Sturgis #12 of the Seattle Sounders FC heads the ball against Dax McCarty #13 of FC Dallas on July 11 2010 at Qwest Field in Seattle Washington.

Have You RSVP'd For Sunday's Gathering?

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Have You RSVP'd For Sunday's Gathering?

It's not required, but it does help give us an idea of how many people to expect for Sunday's festivities. In case you've somehow missed it, we are hosting a meetup at Elysian Fields from 1-3 p.m. We'll be handing out scarves, but mainly just hanging out and having a good time.

After a UEFA executive committee meeting in Prague on Friday, Platini said it would be easier to...

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After a UEFA executive committee meeting in Prague on Friday, Platini said it would be easier to organize the World Cup in January, instead of June.

"It's true that if we talk about the World Cup in the Gulf in January, that would be easier than to play in June," Platini said.

Pachuca Eliminated from Club World Cup

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Pachuca Eliminated from Club World Cup

They lost to the African representatives 1-0. Americans Torres and Gomez both played (though not at the same time). Also-American Marco Vidal was on the bench.

Swedish MF Erik Friberg signs with Sounders?

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Swedish MF Erik Friberg signs with Sounders?

Link is in Swedish, but according to the BK Hacken team website the deal is already done for a 3 year contract. Here's the translation (via google translator):

"Erik Friberg was on an outbound contract with Racing Club and there will be no continuation of the midfielder.

The "#10" Problem. What is it and who could it be?

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This is part 4 of an ongoing series. Parts 1-3 reviewed the first two seasons, and now I'm going to explore some ideas in a little more depth. I start with a look at the issue that simply won't go away among segments of the Sounders fan/supporter community.

The playmaker, the #10, the CAM, it is widely believed that this is the role that drives attacking soccer.

The MLS Superdraft - Center Mids and Fullbacks

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The Superdraft will be one of the best ways for the Sounders to get some depth in key positions. A number of commentators believe it could be one of the deeper drafts in MLS history.

The draft will be important for the Sounders this year since they are near the salary cap and still have some holes to fill.

Today we find out what TechFit is

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More photos » Victor Decolongon - Getty Images

Tighter is better?

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When you saw the pic of the new Shale Secondary kit we had a few questions.

"The way I look at it, it would take something special for me to leave Seattle right now. Our team...

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"The way I look at it, it would take something special for me to leave Seattle right now. Our team is very young and I have played with Fredy Montero and Ozzie Alonso for two years now. I think we're getting to the stage where Columbus and Houston got to, where the team has been together and things become automatic," he said.

Re-entry Draft Lacks Action

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Editor's Note: I promoted this to the front because it sums up the event just fine.

At 11 this morning the MLS conducted its first reentry draft. Not much happened, as only two players were signed. Joseph Ngwenya was selected by D.C. United and was immediately placed on their active roster.

So you want to be a Sounder? Go Tryout

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Release from the Club - I'll be updating the calendar later. Maybe the Sounders will find a Reserve Team player or two.

RENTON, WASH. - The Seattle Sounders FC will hold Open Tryouts on January 29-30, 2011, at the team's training ground, the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Washington.

So, the scarves are really here. If you paid for shipping and gave me your address, they should get...

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So, the scarves are really here. If you paid for shipping and gave me your address, they should get there by the end of the week. If you are going to be at Sunday's meetup you can pick yours up there. Otherwise, please get in contact with me so we can make sure you get yours.

System review Pt , 2nd half of 2010 season

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More photos » Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images

What happens in the center, stays in the center

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Picking up where we left off at the end of Part 2:

In the troubled week book-ended between 3-1 road losses to Philly and L.

Blaise Nkufo, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado Receive Green Cards

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Blaise Nkufo, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado Receive Green Cards

Apparently, Steve Zakuani wasn't the only Sounders player to receive his green card this month. The Sounders website just reported that Blaise Nkufo, who has only been in the country since July, and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado have also been given green cards.

FIFA Club World Cup Starts Tomorrow

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Hey, remember when FIFA outrageously awarded a major international event to a Persian Gulf nation instead of to Australia or Japan? I'm referring of course to the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup, which begins tomorrow in the United Arab Emirates (just a stone's throw from Qatar!) with the first round match between hosts Al-Wahda and OFC champions Hekari United from Papua New Guinea, who are the first ever Oceania champions not from Australia or New Zealand.

The U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team is set to travel to Tel Aviv for a three-game tournament that...

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The U.S. U-18 Men's National Team is set to travel to Tel Aviv for a three-game tournament that will also feature host Israel, Germany and France from Dec. 10-18. The U.S. will play Germany on Dec. 13, France on Dec. 14 and Israel on Dec. 16.

Okoli to Israel with US U18s

50% of those going are with MLS Academies.

Received my Green Card. Permanent Resident Status in this great country. No need for a Visa. Thanks...

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Received my Green Card. Permanent Resident Status in this great country. No need for a Visa. Thanks to all who made it happen! And thank God.

Steve Zakuani announced via Twitter that he now has his green card. This means he won't count as an international for MLS and U.

Parity: What Is It And How Much Is Right? (Part 2)

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In Part 1 last week I described some of the issues that come up in defining and measuring parity, I broke parity down into three distinct types (franchise, season, and game) and I came up with one possible calculation for franchise parity. In this part I'm going to look at season parity.

Season Parity

Just as franchise parity is a consequence of the roster construction rules of the league (including salary caps, drafts, etc), season parity is a consequence of the seasonal competition rules of the league - particularly the playoff rules.

System review Pt 2, 1st half of 2010 season

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More photos » Andy Marlin - Getty Images

One of the last bright spots of the first 15 games. One of the last games that this man played for the team.

FIFA was facing fresh bribery claims Sunday after a whistle-blower accused two executive members of...

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FIFA was facing fresh bribery claims Sunday after a whistle-blower accused two executive members of the international soccer body of striking deals worth $1.5 million for their votes ahead of last week's contest to host the World Cup

Bribes look to be cheap these days

Sometimes Blinding Prospects Blind You From Proper Choices

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More photos » Handout - Getty Images

3 months ago: DOHA QATAR - UNDATED: In this handout image supplied by Qatar 2022 The Doha Port stadium is pictured in this artists impression as Qatar 2022 World Cup bid unveils it's stadiums on September 16 2010 in Doha Qatar.

So this is apparently the new Sounders shirt, as modeled by our newest Designated Player Fredy...

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So this is apparently the new Sounders shirt, as modeled by our newest Designated Player Fredy Montero at Friday's Alliance Business Meeting. Apparently, it's going to replace the blues, which I actually liked. They'll be available in January. Thoughts? (Photo courtesy of Sounders FC)

Impressions of Sounders Alliance End of Year Business Meeting

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More photos » Ned Dishman - Getty Images

Keller thanking fans, always thanking fans.

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Those who have attended a shareholders meeting for a company in their own past would have been comfortable at the Sounders meeting last night.

Re-Entry Draft List Released

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On schedule (for once. Hah!), MLS has released the list of players available in the upcoming Re-Entry Drafts.

To recap, this draft is a concession the players got in the most recent CBA that allows them some more freedom if their club doesn't want to pay them as much (or at all). Players that meet certain age and playing time qualifications and whose clubs want to lower their salary are entered into the draft in two stages.

Sounders tactical and system review, Pt. 1

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The armchair managing of the off-season has just begun...

We have already heard a lot of chatter about the next steps that Sigi, Adrian, and Chris need to take to push this team to the next level, and guard against the type of injury and bad chemistry induced purgatory which doomed the first half of the 2010 season.

FIFA Doesn't Like Freedom

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Here are some well-respected measures of political, press, and economic freedom of the recent and scheduled World Cup hosts, as well as the other competitors for 2018 and 2022. The measures I'm using are the Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders, Freedom in the World by Freedom House, the Democracy Index from the Economist, and the Index of Economic Freedom by the Heritage Foundation.

Tracking the Voting The longest voting session in history was three rounds, prior to today....

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Tracking the Voting

The longest voting session in history was three rounds, prior to today. Balloting for the 2022 World Cup wasn't decided into the vote was down to two bids, a process that went four rounds. Ultimately, the bid that nearly won it on the first ballot was the clear winner

Qatar 11 10 11 14
United States 3 5 6 8
South Korea 4 5 5
Japan 4 2
Australia 1

How the voting went

USA didn't just lose, we got trounced.

Russia, Qatar Win Rights To Host 2018, 2022 World Cups

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Russia is going to host the 2018 World Cup. Qatar is hosting in 2022. The United States and England - the countries that send the most fans to World Cups almost every year - won't be hosting one anytime in the near future.

There are a lot of people that understand the World Cup bidding process a lot better than me, so I'm not going to bother getting into all the shenanigans that may or may not have happened.

Quick reax to morning news

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I drug my ass out of bed to head down to F.X. McRory's for the "official" event this morning for the FIFA W.C. '10 &'22 host announcements. The crowd was a mix of supporters, fans, downtown business types killing time before work, media people, and Sounders employees. The announcements were met with the usual emotions I'm sure most of you who weren't there had.

On Wednesday, as I sat in the studio with two microphones clipped to my tie and makeup on my face,...

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On Wednesday, as I sat in the studio with two microphones clipped to my tie and makeup on my face, I was put in the position of acting as a defense witness for the U.S. bid. It was all very good natured, but it revealed some of the biases against, and criticisms of, the effort to bring the 2022 World Cup to America.

Stray Observations From Fredy Montero's Press Conference

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More photos » Victor Decolongon - Getty Images

Fredy Montero became the Sounders' fourth Designated Player in their relatively young history. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

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Believe it or not, Fredy Montero's re-signing was probably not the most interesting bit of news to come out of Tuesday's press conference.

It's Official: Montero Signs As 3rd DP

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More photos » Ezra Shaw - Getty Images

SANTA CLARA CA - JULY 31: Fredy Montero #17 of the Seattle Sounders FC celebrates after he scored a goal against the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on July 31 2010 in Santa Clara California.

Tomorrow Montero, Thursday the WORLD!

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More photos » Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images

Montero rushing past defenders, earning millions?

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Actually likely not.