Sounder at Heart Archives for January 2010

SBNation launches MLS Power Rankings

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Here at SBN we decided to do our power rankings a little different. First, we got this network thing going on so we could take advantage of that. So we have the MLS bloggers, Steve Davis and Richard Farley all participating at this point. We've also invited our brethren EPL blogs to join in if they feel they follow the league enough.

Sounders apparently sign Pat Noonan

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Don Ruiz is reporting that Pat Noonan, who has been in camp with the Sounders the last couple days, has signed.

Update: * Noonan said he signed. The Sounders say they have no signings to announce. So. Meanwhile, coach Sigi Schmid did agree that it's pretty much time for a decision one way or another on Parke, who was scheduled to meet with Sounders officials this afternoon.

MLS's problems are Seattle's problems

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Being a Sounders fan, it's easy to be lulled into the belief that soccer in general, and MLS in particular, are about the hottest thing in American sports.

We see posters all over town. It seems like every other business has a schedule posted in its window. There are many bars in town where you can simply assume soccer will be playing on the big screen.

Under the Klieg lights: Zach Scott v Union

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First a quick word on what a Klieg light is. They are an intensely bright carbon arc light that can make night into day and have were used in theater and film for just over a century. Their bright glare is also a bit reminiscent of the lights used in interrogation. Back in my KJR days, Locke and I started a regular series of shows called "Under the Klieg Lights.

Union use Fountain of Youth - Is that their path to the #3 Draft Pick?

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I've read lots of excuses concerning the Union's performance. There's their coach calling out the flopping and dishonesty of players on the Sounders. I have read a criticism of the Field Turf and weather. Which would be funny if the Union thought that weather and turf were the problems, they knew they were going to be in Seattle in March for how long?

Seattle Sounders Fucito Talks on Getting First League Minutes

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Mike Fucito with Ball in Union Match Photo Couresy of ProstAmerika.com and Rick Morrison

View full size photo »

Loyal readers likely know this, but one of the highlights for the match was when Mike Fucito took the pitch as a substitute for Steve Zakuani.

Straight after the game we went to the ER to get my spine x-rayed as I couldn’t and still cant sit o...

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Straight after the game we went to the ER to get my spine x-rayed as I couldn't and still cant sit or lay on my back. Luckily no fractures. Only bone bruising. The doctor compared the injury with an NFL injury when someone uses their helmet to crash it into someone's spine.

Open Thread: Round One MLS 2010

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Consider this your open thread to discuss the rest of this week's games. On Thursday we all saw the Sounders smash the Union 2-0 and you can read our analysis here.

Yesterday saw Colorado beat Chivas1-nil behind the scoring of Omar Cummings and the play in the woodwork of Matt Pickens.

Today's Matches

Toronto @ Columbus 1PM Pacific - currenlty the best rivalry in the League.

I knew Pete Vagenas was old, but ...

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I didn't realize that he was literally medieval. If your program survived the rain, flip to your roster and check out Pete's info:

No. Name Pos. Height Weight D.O.B. Hometown Last Club 8 Vagenas, Peter M 5-8 163 02/06/1078 Pasadena, Calif. UCLA I immediately take back anything unflattering I've ever said about Vagenas.

the one in which I ramble on for far too long about the Sounders first goal of the 2010 season...

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Promoted FanPost

Sounders, Matchday 1, 2-0 over Philly "analysis"

You can't spell "analysis" without "anal," which is good because my first in a [planned] series of semi-literate diatribes after Sounders matches will involve a lot of talking out of my ass.

Cry us a river

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As mentioned by Sounder at Heart in the previous post, Union coach Peter Nowak was unimpressed by the supposedly floppy nature of some of the Sounders top players.

After reading his quotes, though, I felt it was worth addressing the issue directly.

"From the other standpoint we got to see all this flopping and diving and when you see the stats we have eight fouls and six cards that is too much.

Quick Thoughts: Sounders Smash Union 2-0

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This is a quick snapshot, based off of my live thoughts of the match.

Sounders moved the ball well when attacking. Quick, but under control. Alonso really sparked the ball movement in the back, and while Brad Evans won the Man of the Match I would be tempted to give it to Osvaldo. He was the catalyst both ways.

Sounders v. Philadelphia Union, Gamethread

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Just looking through some of the pre-season predictions around the soccer world, today's matchup would appear to be a huge mismatch. While the Sounders are predicted to make the playoffs almost unanimously, the Union are expected to finish in dead last by almost the exact same margin.

Among those throwing their support behind the Sounders are Soccer Inside Steven Goff and Soccer America who each predict at least a conference title; Climbing the Ladder and 3rd Degree goes one step further and predicts a MLS championship; even RSL Soapbox thinks we'll finish on top of the conference.

Jaqua to Injured Reserve - Sounders now with Roster Spot open

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From the team release

RENTON, WASH. - The Seattle Sounders FC announced today midfielder/forward Nate Jaqua has been placed on injured reserve due to a pubic symphysis injury.

As a result, Jaqua is required to miss the first six games of the season.

Preview for Match Day One 2010: Sounders Host Union

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The dawn of the 2010 MLS season starts at around dusk in Seattle on March 25th. The Seattle Sounders will be defending a US Open Cup, but more than that they will be looking to improve on what was a great first season, but only good if not an expansion side.

Hosting the expansion Philadelphia Union with former Sounder Sebastien Le Toux certainly in the starting lineup, but possibly as a wide midfielder with Danny Mwanga and Alejandro Moreno up top.

The Sons of Ben fan group, 5,200 strong, has brought a level of enthusiasm that I haven’t seen for a...

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The Sons of Ben fan group, 5,200 strong, has brought a level of enthusiasm that I haven't seen for any kind of expansion team in any sport. Their strong support at the MLS SuperDraft was a show of force and a signal to opponents: good luck playing in our house. On June 27th, PPL Park will open its gates to a place we can really call our own.

Seattle Times indicate Parke and Fucito on Roster

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Seattle Times indicate Parke and Fucito on Roster

Looks like Graham to the Injured List?

Official list should be out at 2PM

Weeknight Pregame Activities

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So, Match Day One 2010 is tomorrow night, on a Thursday. It is First Kick for the entire league again. But on the fairly rare weeknight games I wonder how people pre-game?

I'm also asking this just to let you know that I will be pre-gaming at Elysian Fields, as I often do. I should have my sign, likely the Golden Scarf so you can find me, and ideally the staff will know where I am.

MLS Commish to address media and fans again - Season Outlook and CBA details

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Consider this your open thread to talk about what Don Garber reveals (if anything). It will be carried live at www.mlsnet.com here is their current statement -

Commissioner to address media today

MLS Commissioner Don Garber will address the media in a teleconference today to discuss the opening of the 2010 season and provide insight into the new CBA.

Sounders and MLS notes for your Monday

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As the season rapidly approaches, with roster compliance day coming even quicker (now Wed @5PM EDT) things are getting hectic around the League.

The Fire Waved Jon Busch, while the Sounders have waived Chris Eylander.

Goalkeeper Chris Eylander Waived

RENTON, WASH.

No. 1 – Seattle Seattle had the perfect storm to quickly produce a championship team. A year to b...

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No. 1 – Seattle
Seattle had the perfect storm to quickly produce a championship team. A year to build on before coming over. The money to go out and grab the best coach in the league and to do the work on the scouting side of things. Extra allocation to spend. A spectacular home field advantage (From the Field Turf as much as the noise – although both are a great combination).

MLS Poised to Succeed, but Preparing to Fail

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An odd headline right after the sides agree on the new CBA (details please!), but one thing that was clear during the ordeal is that Single-Entity is here to stay, now we get that confirmed for the next five years. This post is not about the new CBA, but instead is about how the lack of tradition should help MLS compete with global soccer leagues/clubs, or it could be titled

Soccernomics isn't about statistics



That trip I took to Cabo feels like a month ago, really only 1 week, and during the flights, the down time on a porch or pool I got to read the book that many claim is the reported entry of performance analysis (statistics of the sabermetric sort) into the realm of soccer.

Now that we have a season... a little something for the back pocket. Hope you don't mind, Keith.

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Now that we have a season... a little something for the back pocket.

Hope you don't mind, Keith.

MLS CBA Insta-analysis

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There's only one important thing we got out of today's teleconference: There will be a season. Ok, there's two important things: We don't need to go through this again for at least five years.

I'll stand by my analysis of a few weeks ago in at least one sense: Neither side was looking for a fight.

MLS CBA teleconference game thread

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We will be on the conference call. Don't necessarily plan on asking any questions, but if something is really being begged to be asked, we'll have that option.

You can listen at www.MLSnet.com to their feed there.

By the way, you may have notice that BayAreaRefugee has hosted a vast majority of the CBA themed post over these past few weeks.

SB Nation Survey + Chance to donate $500 to a charity of this community's choice

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>> Take SB Nation Survey

Hello sports fans! We're always striving to provide you with the best experience possible and it's been quite some time since we checked in with you.

So we're rolling out this survey to learn more about you and your sports world. It should only take about 10 minutes to complete.

1PM EDT Conference Call with Garber, Foose and Cohen

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Its all over twitter now, and speculation about details is all that remains.

Here's the AP story that says a 5 year CBA has been reached.

Major League Soccer and its players called a joint news conference for Saturday and were near agreement on a five-year contract that would avoid a strike scheduled for next week, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

CBA news update

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This really shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but apparently the league sent a letter to the union notifying the players that their insurance won't be paid by MLS in case of a strike.

I can't imagine players really expected the league to continue fulfilling any of their previous promises if there's a strike.

Golden Scarf Goes Democratic

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If you are a season ticket holder, or the rare member of the Sounders Alliance you received this email about a week ago.

Sounders FC Alliance Members -

You voted on it, you got it - 13 fans will receive Golden Scarves during 2010 home matches.
Now we need your help in determining which fans will receive Golden Scarves.

Rapids v Sounders Charity Match Cancelled

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A severe weather system will be hitting Denver soon. The Colorado Rapids have just announced that they are canceling the match for this reason. Sounders players, coaches, etc are not traveling.

I expect the Sounders to find an opponent as quickly as possible as they need one more match to make some decisions.

Salt Lake owner hints at use of replacement players

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This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone that has been paying attention, but reading just a little bit between the lines of Salt Lake co-owner Dave Checketts' comments in the Deseret News indicates that MLS is preparing to use replacement players in the case of a strike.

"We know exactly what we'll do.

Depth Chart as Roster Competition Wrapping Up

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From the Seattle Times we learn that camp has cut way down. There were some extra keepers around, and one of them is still under contract (Eylander), and Jeff Parke doesn't have an contract yet either, but there are 22 Senior Roster slots occupied if you count both of them, with up to 3 guys that could wind up on the Injured List (Eylander, Graham and maybe even Jaqua who just returned to the pitch).

Peter Wilt has a compromise solution

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The former general manager of the Chicago Fire and an active commentator on all things soccer, Peter Wilt has some detailed solutions to the current CBA mess. I have a feeling the owners would probably go for this, I am less sure the players would.

For players, he suggests granting free agency to MLS players, but only after seven years in the league, raising minimum salaries and boosting the salary cap.

Szetela waived by DC United

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Szetela waived by DC United

Should the Sounders try to acquire the former US youth national with Euro and MLS experience? He's been a CM, RM and CAM in his time with 4 pro clubs. Szetela and Sigi have experience with the U-20s and the Columbus Crew.

Ives has stated that Szetela is now healthy, but got "Pipped" .

Once a Metro launches on SBNation

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Once a Metro launches on SBNation

And now there are 4 MLS sites on the network!

Go over and give them a greeting.

Joe Roth weighs in on the strike.

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Here. It looks like the ownership has been told that they are free to comment it up. I happen to also really hope this doesn't get to the stage of a strike as I suspect it will be bad for everyone involved. He makes some arguments that make sense. Of course, he's an owner so he clearly has a serious stake in things being looked at from his point of view.

Management speaks

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I share this mainly because it's the first time I've seen a member of team management (as opposed to an MLS head honcho) speak about the strike threat.

AEG's Tim Leiweke essentially threw down the gauntlet today in an interview with the LA Times.

"Here's our issue, and I'm speaking on behalf of AEG," Leiweke said in an interview with The Times on Monday.

While Kasey Keller is the clear starter, there was an open competition for the backup role between...

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While Kasey Keller is the clear starter, there was an open competition for the backup role between Boss and Chris Eylander before the team's second season begins.

"It was up for grabs," said Dutra. "It was a position they both competed for, and we believed in Terry ... He was able to win that spot.

Nkufo returns to service of Twente

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Blaise returned to Twente's active roster just in time for the biggest matches of the season. PSV Eindhoven in League action on the 20th and Feyenoord Rotterdam on the 24th to advance to the Dutch Cup Final.

Here's how the Sounders PR staff announced his return

Nkufo Returns, Twente Pulls Ahead

Blaise Nkufo returned to action for FC Twente Enschede last Friday in a 3-1 win over ADO Den Haag.

Freddie talks CBA (a bit) at ESPN

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Here's his opening paragraph (read the rest here):

Imagine you work at Burger King and you get sacked. Now, you want to get another job at McDonald's, but you're not allowed to unless McDonald's compensates Burger King. It seems absurd, but that's the way certain things work in MLS at the moment.

MLSnet.com about to become MLSsoccer.com And how do they tell us about the cool new features?...

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MLSnet.com about to become MLSsoccer.com

And how do they tell us about the cool new features? Via a video of talking heads

We have a Piper DOWN! Beckham's 2010 (club and country both) done?

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We have a Piper DOWN! Beckham's 2010 (club and country both) done?

He's done with Milan. He's done with England, probably for good.

Likely even done with Galaxy, though just maybe back in time if they can scrape into the Playoffs.

Forward Alecko Eskandarian will be out indefinately for the Galaxy as well.

Statistics Update, Battle for Depth in Sounders Rotation

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So we know the record of the team (4 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw including the two "reserve" matches). It isn't great, nor does it suck. Over a 30 game season it would mean a MUCH worse defense, a slightly better offense and 48 points on the table.

But MLSpreseason isn't about records, is any preseason?

The Legend of the Mexican Soccer Fan

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I had the great fortune to spend a week in Mexico; Cabo San Lucas down in Baja Sur. No, this was not a soccer trip, I leave those to Steve Davis. This was about sun, and family. So posting slowed down a bit here. You may have noticed, or not. But I did do some soccer reading (Soccernomics), and had conversations with locals about the game they love - which is hard because I don't speak Spanish.

The Recession Killed Profits in MLS

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So we all know the Forbes study about 2007. We should all know that it did not include the money fromSoccer United Marketing. SUM makes a lot of money. That will be true in recession or not, but recently the Timbers had to publicly declare how they as an MLS side would make money and pay back the city for all those great tax breaks, etc.

On Roles within Formations

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A few weeks ago Graham wrote the excellent primer On Formations, but that was really just a primer to establish notation, the "bands" in which many teams play, and as well cover the simple states of the game. It was an introduction that in soccer formations are nuetral, but how they are used changes things.

Timbers @ Sounders Open Thread - Your thoughts, your analysis

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There is a starting role up for grabs, at least in the early going, in the Right Midfield. Also, the Sounders have plenty of issues with their depth and cover, particularly at LM and RB, while it is likely that a Center back goes to the IL, or just gets cut, but this match is about more than mere roster space.

CBA Update: Talks continue

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You may have heard that the players have overwhelmingly voted to strike, according to Steven Goff.

Well, he's updated the story to reflect comments from MLS officials.

In response to comments made by players after the labor negotiations in Washington this week, MLS President Mark Abbott told the Insider on Thursday that "the meetings were productive and we have scheduled a number of additional meetings.

Preview: Community Shield, Sounders vs. Timbers

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Today's Inaugural Community Shield match ensures that the Seattle-Portland rivalry will continue its 35-year run in which the two teams played every season they both fielded teams. The rivalry has stretched across three leagues.

Although it's being billed as a friendly, the 13,000-plus fans who will be in attendance may not feel the same way.

Champions League Resumes Tonight - Crew Host Toluca

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The Champions League for our region (CONCACAF) resumes this evening and the impossible may be as possible as ever. Mexican Primera side Toluca travels to Columbus in a quarterfinal two-leg aggregate knockout round. Major League Soccer sides tend to hold their own against non-Mexican competition, but against our southerly neighbors it hasn't been a contest.

Nkufo has serious pedigree

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Blaise Nkufo might be the best pure scorer to ever join Major League Soccer.

I realize that's a bold statement, but you should know that it's not just homerism taken to hyperbolic extremes.

Since Nkufo's signing, I've been trying to figure out a reasonable way to set expectations for a soon-to-be 35-year-old player most casual fans have never heard of and won't be joining the team until after the World Cup.

Quick Recap of Sounders @ Whitecaps Nil-Nil Draw

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Seattle fans got their first live look at a preseason match, but only if they traveled. Emerald City Supporters had 2 busses, Gorilla FC got a van, and of course there were dozens that traveled on their own. Thursday Night tne thousand more will be able to see the action live as well. This will be your last shot to see some of the depth on the team until injuries or the US Open Cup, so if you are intrigued by guys like Fucito, Estrada, Scott, Nyassi, Levesque, Wahl, Parke, Ianni or Graham you may want to get those cheaper tickets.

Gamethread: Sounders @ Vancouver, preseason

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I'm still looking for a live radio stream, but if I can't find any I'll at least post the score and highlights.

That said, here's the starting lineups:

Sounders: Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyrone Marshall, Leo Gonzalez, Sanna Nyassi, Nathan Sturgis, Osvaldo Alonso, Steve Zakuani, Fredy Montero and Freddie Ljungberg.

Previewing Sounders @ Whitecaps Preseason Match from the Other Side

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There was a ton of transition in the lower levels of North American soccer this off-season, and keeping up was just a bit more difficult for me. So today, as a preview of the match against our Northern Cascadia rivals I decided to ask one of the experts on said team. The following post is written by Andrew Bucholtz of Sporting Madness.

MLS, players union agree to meet

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I'll use my past experience here and say this is not bad news, but I'm not sure it's anything to get excited about, either. From the looks of it, the league and players have agreed to sit down with a federal mediator but haven't agreed to binding arbitration. Neither side is legally bound to accept the mediator's ruling, if I'm reading this right.

Jaqua not ineffecient use of money

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The Blaise Nkufo signing has people judging the merits of Nate Jaqua. He's been considered a failure despite putting up solid Goal and Assist numbers in the league. He was one of the best second forwards in the League last year by these measures, and when adjusted for a rate stat, he remains in the top.

Blaise Nkufo joining Sounders in 4 months

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First, Blaise mentioned that one of the things he and Kasey talked about back in December was that the team went through a scoring drought. The Sounders know this, and as of today, they are addressing it. This summer in the secondary window they will add a player with over 200 goals in his long career.

"Major Announcement" Open Thread

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Speculate for the next hour or so. Again, I will be tweegting updates, and we'll see what else I can get out.

Be a community and talk amongst yourselves.

Having Friends in High Places Should Help Sounders

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Yes, there is a "major announcement" tomorrow. No, I don't know what it is. The Sounder at Heart team is arranging coverage. Now, there is speculation that it may revolve around a possible announcement of a friendly, with Mayers linking an AP story.

Said AP story does focus on partnerships that MLS is looking to develop with a few EPL clubs.

Beyond the Touchline: Steve Zakuani Launches Kingdom Hope

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Steve Zakuani's life has taken him from the Congo, to London, to Akron and Seattle. Through that time he focused on soccer as his future. An accident had that dream stopped at one point and his focus shifted to life learning. His dream of a pro career in England stopped. But, as he returned to health he discovered this strange thing called an athletic scholarship to a university in America.

Pulling back the curtain on player acquisitions

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One of the more notable additions to Major League Soccer this offseason was undoubtedly the signing of teen-standout Luis Gil.

What should have been seen as a coup for MLS -- and Real Salt Lake which ultimately ended up with his services --was instead viewed by many detractors as yet another example of the league's insistence on rigging the rules however it sees fit.

Four Dollar Beers!

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Four Dollar Beers!

The Rapids are really busting out some great ideas. Terraces, 4$ beer, 5$ food, ticketless entry.

But it isn't just Colorado who has decided that they are tired of losing money.

The Revolution are kicking their ticketing buzz up a bit too. They launched a referral program, with a hell of a peak prize - trip to the All Star Game.

Cut Day becomes Add Day? Sounders Looking at Costa Rican Striker?

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Cut Day becomes Add Day? Sounders Looking at Costa Rican Striker?

A report this morning from Aldia.cr suggests that Costa Rican striker Álvaro Saborío could soon be joining Sounders FC. Previously the player had been connected to a move to Real Salt Lake. A Google translation reads:

Costa Rica striker Alvaro Saborio, is reportedly close to signing for the team Seattle Sounders in MLS, and is therefore, also in Costa Rican teammate Leonardo Gonzalez.