Written by Will Parchman

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This was a fun project. For each MLS team, I’ve chosen a key contributor and tied his playing style to a literary luminary I respect in some fashion. It’s essentially pairing the playing style with a mix of writing style and lifestyle, which is imperfect but ended up lining up surprisingly well in some cases. Some of these are more absurd than others, but all are rooted in how I tend to view these guys when I watch them.

In the same way that coders sometimes view the world analytically, I tend to view it in words. Here are a few.

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Written by Will Parchman

“The motion carries with all members but commissioner Brummer and commissioner Edwards voting in the affirmative. Congratulations.”

With that, Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs officially approved funding for a new stadium for Orlando City, removing the last major hurdle for the franchise to join MLS as its 21st team. Here you go, southeast. You have a Major League Soccer franchise again. And the cheers rose.

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Written by Will Parchman

It’s October, which means fall is all around us. Leaves are turning that crackly shade of orange, pumpkins are springing up on doorsteps across the country and the Sounders have flipped the switch to “incomprehensible.” Ah fall. Can always count on your inevitable tides.

Every year, historically around the time the USOC ends, the Sounders start scuffling in one way or another. The exact timing is always a little different, but it usually happens around the turn of October. This week, it’s hitting hard. The Sounders have given up nine goals in their last two games, 5-1 and 4-1 losses that have made the Sounders look vaguely like TFC with more fans. The latter beating, a Cascadia crumpling at the hands of Vancouver capped by that Reo Coker 70-yard lung-burner up there, happened at home. That snapped Seattle’s 14-game home unbeaten run at a time when the Sounders were chasing a Supporter’s Shield. Eh.

The Sounders’ late-season record down the years is actually fair. Since 2009, Seattle has had a winning record every individual season from September through November, which still includes this year at 3-2-2. Over that span, the Sounders are 31-19-12 since their expansion year. Which, on balance, is a pretty good rate of return when the schedule turns to its most important fixtures.

But a closer inspection reveals what Sounders fans already know with painful accuracy – the team’s forte in big games is still lost in the mail. A 3-3-1 lifetime record in the month of November when previous results had been considerably more positive isn’t cutting it.

The Sounders’ remaining regular season schedule isn’t particularly cheery news, either. At Portland (oof), at FC Dallas, home to the Galaxy. Two Cascadia games in five days? Good luck Sounders. Historically speaking, you’ll need it this time of year.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

How happy is Eric Hassli right now?

If you’ll recall, in 2011 Hassli scored what I consider to be the goal with the highest degree of difficulty in MLS history. And it lost in MLS goal of the year voting to Darlington Nagbe’s admittedly great juggle-goal effort. Was it as good as Hassli’s? I still don’t think so. But therein lies the point of voting, right?

Anyway, Camilo seemingly brought some closure to the issue with this unbelievable scissor kick volley from outside the box to draw level with Portland. Not only did it even terms, but it did so in an all-important Cascadia Cup game against a fierce rival.

Hilariously, Nagbe also hit a laser in this game just to remind us all of what happened in 2011. Not this time Darlington. Barring some kind of uber thunderbastard down the stretch, Camilo’s goal is miles ahead in goal of the year candidacy. And he deserves it.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

Here are your MLS goals of the week. And here’s your rankings guide so you know how to vote. It’s Jeffrey or bust this week. Don’t spike the punch, Timbers fans. You’ve already done that once.

1. Jared Jeffrey, DC United

2. Darel Russell, TFC

3. Maxi Urruti, Portland Timbers

4. Mauro Diaz, FC Dallas

5. Saer Sene, NE Revolution

 

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Written by Will Parchman

One of the great things about being a soccer supporter are impromptu moments that suddenly become memorable ones. Like this.

Before a recent game against the Union, Dr. Cameron Smith was slated to sing the national anthem. His mic failed. They gave him another one. That failed too. Sensing the moment, the sellout crowd of around 20,000 picked up where Smith left off and carried the tune to its conclusion with booming resonance. Brilliant moment.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

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As the season putters toward the playoffs, a handful of coach of the year candidates are beginning to separate from the league’s cluster. These typically run the gamut from coaches turning big talent into points to molding former also-rans into legitimate MLS Cup contenders. I don’t necessarily buy that one is intrinsically more impressive than the other. That Mike Petke has done what he’s done in New York, for instance, is not diminished by the team’s payroll. Look at his predecessors and the praise seems baked into the pie.

And while his tenure is short, I want to acknowledge what Brian Bliss is doing in Columbus.

Bliss’ rap sheet is the shortest of any coach here, which means he’ll have a difficult time dislodging other coaches from higher places. So perhaps Bliss won’t win the honor, but he at least deserves praise for his brief month-long stint in the manager’s chair in Columbus. The Crew had lost seven of 11 when Robert Warzycha was let go at the start of September, and they were drowning and left for dead in the playoff race. Since then, Columbus has won four of five, including an entertaining 4-2 win over FCD over the weekend that inched the Crew closer to the playoffs. The Crew are playing vibrant attacking soccer (11 goals in those four wins), and if their year stretches into the postseason, there might not have been a more dramatic shift in the league all year. And that’s down to Bliss.

Without further ado, five of the top MLS coach of the year candidates.

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Written by Will Parchman

On a wet and slick Sunday night in Seattle, it seemed like the Sounders were girding for a three-pointer to go two points clear of RSL in the West with two in hand. With a 1-0 lead and just 15 minutes left, NYRB was down to its last few punches.

That’s when Tim Cahill came up with this thumping effort after a weather-appropriate melee in the box. It curled into the far netting and sent the Red Bulls home with a point they’ll be happy to have. Suddenly New York has a four-point lead over SKC in the East and are legitimate contenders for the Supporters Shield.

Mike Petke, the miracle worker. Where’s Hans Backe when you need him?

 

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Written by Will Parchman

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The parity MLS provides is undoubtedly one of its greatest attributes. If we compare TFC to a Cardiff or a Hertha Berlin, the scope of optimism MLS allows is wider than perhaps any league in the world. Fans in Toronto can expect futility now, but they can just as easily expect it to vanish in short order with a couple signings and some good bounces. Conceivably, TFC could be in the playoff hunt next year and it wouldn’t be all that surprising.

But the parity also acts as a tactical leveling agent. The chasm between the most and least efficient teams in the league is as shallow as it is anywhere in the world, which means MLS’ broader tactical sense tends to root out tactical differences and eliminate them like antibodies. The San Jose 4-4-2 is always dangling just within reach for adventurous coaches whose schemes haven’t found their mark.

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Written by Travis Clark

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Every year, over the past few years, Major League Soccer puts on its annual Generation adidas Cup, a youth tournament that matches up its academies against once another.

In the past, the tourney is held nationally, with all participating teams congregating in one location. This year, it’s been split regionally into East, Central and West groups, with a national final scheduled around Easter 2014.

On Friday down in Leesburg, Virginia, six teams kicked off the East group, with the Montreal Impact, D.C. United, Columbus Crew, Toronto FC, New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union U16s doing battle.

Check out photos and scores from Friday after the jump.

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