Written by Will Parchman

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Life unfurls in a continuum, a scroll unrolling over the breadth of human history unveiling one earth-shuddering point of light in history after another. Nothing in human existence has ever occurred in a vacuum. A government buckles and the ripples wash into the New World for a thousand years. A single man crosses the Rubicon with his war machines and Europe still has not slept. Petrarch ascends Ventoux and the flame of discovery lights the braziers into the lightening future.

We are all products of these decisions, these convulsive moments that grab the earth by its scruff and pull it in one direction or the next. Whether we know (or care) why our calendar is arrayed the way it is, or why our legal names include a first and a middle and a last, or how our lexicon was shaped in history’s kiln, or whatever facts of life tie your brain into soft, doughy pretzels, we are operating on the cobbles laid into place by those decisions faded into the worn tapestry of time.

In the same way the monoliths of the past laid social, moral and cultural foundations that remain societal bedrock, everything that happens in sport is an extension of something else. Jean-Marc Bosman agitates for freedom of movement and “picked up on a free” becomes the modern day bargain rack. Johan Cruyff drops into defense and our positional morays are dead under rock and ash. Leo Messi plays anywhere, at any time, and what we thought we’d seen and what we have seen will never meet in the middle again.

Signings, too, are built on the back of their predecessors. David Beckham was the Zero AD Designated Player, the singularity at the center of a black hole expanding into infinite time devouring stars and planets and midfielders until MLS supernovas in some distant era. MLS will never be the same in the afterglow of the Beckham era precisely because we operate on a continuum. It is not a flat circle. It is a switchback, doubling back on itself as rock tumbles over the same ground trodden by our forebears.

Giovani dos Santos is an LA Galaxy player. The tremulous continuum thrums.

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Written by Will Parchman

Back in January, Terminus Legion, the awesomely named Supporter’s Group for the new Atlanta MLS franchise – whatever it was going to be called – offered up its suggestions for the team’s name. They were pretty good: Bantams, Black Harts, Empire, Firebirds, Kings, Locomotives, Railrunners, Resurgents. At the very least, they had tie-ins the region. A rail hub. A resurgent city after Sherman’s March. The jewel of the south. Etc.

On Tuesday, the nascent club officially unveiled its new colors, crest and team name, the latter of which Sports Illustrated broke last month. And the logo looks like it was stolen from The Avengers Brand Cereals™ or… something.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Andrea Pirlo’s transfer status is now Juventus Official. The Italian club confirmed what most of us already knew on Monday, ushering the maestro off into the pale sunset over the Alps.

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Written by Will Parchman

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The yearly Amazing Soccer Ritual in Portland between the Timbers and Sounders went off in similarly riotous voice on Sunday. Tied into half, the Timbers scored three goals in the second half – two from Fanendo Adi in less than a minute – and it finished 4-1 in favor of the home side.

It was a great rivalry match. And then Rodney Wallace scored to make it 4-1 and, like, slit some invisible throat and stabbed some invisible gut.

This will, most assuredly, not make this rivalry anything more than it already is. Portland-Seattle love, right guys!

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Written by The 91st

Last week we were treated to a look inside the life of Development Academy players trying to make their way through the ranks with the San Jose Earthquakes. This week we’ve got another peek inside the youth development world, but through a different lens with the Real Salt Lake Residency Academy in Arizona.

So what’s an average day in the life of a kid living away from home, dedicating his life to a future in soccer? Check out the video and find out.

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NYCFC is a puppet state

Written by Will Parchman

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Andrea Pirlo was supposed to be the safest multi-million dollar hedge in the history of New York soccer. He drinks wine from his own Italian vineyard, has a mane like a lion prowling for suitors on the Masai Mara, plays video games on World Cup final days (and wins both), and he fits in diagonal balls – still – with the same nonchalance we use drawing in a breath.

But perhaps most importantly for the image, not a month ago Pirlo was playing in a Champions League final. That Pirlo was essentially marked out of the thickest portion of the match by Luis Suarez and did almost no tracking was clearly deemed far less important by his multiple suitors. He may be 36, and he may have almost entirely shed his desire to observe any discernible tempo on his own. But he’s Pirlo. Even the clouds seemed to scribble it on the firmament.

And so America spent a few gleeful hours trumpeting the reported NYCFC arrival of one of the world’s most interesting men in one of the world’s most interesting soccer markets. He’s an Italian in the boroughs, for chrissakes.

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Written by Will Parchman

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MLS’s new discovery claim statute is confusing. It was confusing, in fact, from the very beginning. While the rest of the new CBA’s rules set orbited around small tweaks to the pay scale and rosters for players eligible for those teams on the allocation list, the discovery list loomed like the Horns of Hattin.

If you need familiarizing, here’s the money grab from the new discovery claims system.

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Written by Will Parchman

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There was a time, young bloods, when Dwayne De Rosario was the league’s best player. With craft on ball, possessed of endless guile-stuffed ideas and a wicked right foot, there weren’t many in MLS’s earlier days who could do what DeRo could. And now he’s retiring.

In many ways De Rosario’s career was always unfulfilled. As good as he was in MLS, the Canadian national team he came up around was hopeless. He was denied international playing opportunities on bigger stages only because the men around him couldn’t replicate his tact. Pity, too, because DeRo is an all-time MLSer.

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Written by Will Parchman

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In the sense that MLS has been buffeted by the storms of public opinion over its historical lack of transparency, the 2015 roster rule roll-out had its shares of positives. There are still loopholes that need closing. What, for instance, is to prevent a club from claiming a player via discovery and refusing to sell his rights to an interested bidder? Unclear.

At least we know more now. We don’t know everything. But we know more. It isn’t enough, but at the very least it’s something. I encourage you to read Matt Pentz’s interview with J. Todd Durbin in the Seattle Times. It at least sounds as though self determination among top players included in the allocation order is gone. Whether that’s truly the case or not, time will reveal.

But there are still some major questions. Namely the litmus for how players are chosen for the allocation list. And, to be more specific, how U.S. youth national teamers are selected.

We know generalities. This is the appropriate rule provision laid out in the recently released regulations.

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Written by Will Parchman

The Sounders cruised past NYCFC 3-1 on Sunday afternoon in the capper to the MLS weekend. It was a good game in the sense that it had goals and both teams tried passing it around a bit. Hard not to when the field is a baseball stadium mated with a closet. Seventy yards wide? I guess.

This moment was the Dempseyest. It was also the best. Dempsey tries these moves at least a couple times per game. Most of the time they die in infancy, the ball skittering off his boot and out of bounds or rolling meekly into swapped possession. But instances like these make every missed enterprise worthwhile. How many MLS teams have ever had a goal like Obafemi Martins’ against Colorado and this assist within a few weeks of one another?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the lead-up to the goal featured an 18-pass build-up, the longest preceding a goal in MLS this season. Sounder At Heart has you covered.

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