The Daily Links- November 8, 2011 Edition

Sporting Kansas City forward Teal Bunbury has a reason to smile. Bunbury was called up to the USMNT U-23 team yesterday.(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team head coach Caleb Porter has added Teal Bunbury and Luis Gil to round out the 37-man roster that begins training camp today in Duisburg, Germany. Bunbury, from Sporting KC, and Gil, from Real Salt Lake, join the U-23s following their respective teams’ elimination from MLS Cup playoffs. 

Teal Bunbury and Luis Gil Added to U-23 Men's National Team Roster - U.S. Soccer

Sapong has to be considered the front runner and probably odds on favorite to win the award. Sapong is up against Perry Kitchen from DC and Michael Farfan from Philadelphia. Sapong finished the regular season with 5 goals, good for a tie for 4th on the team, and 5 assists, good for second. A great season for a player who many thought was a stretch to take at the 10 spot in the draft.

Down the Byline: Sapong, Vermes Finalists for MLS Awards

Major League Soccer announced the finalists for its 2011 year-end awards on Monday. The winners will be announced over the next 10 days during the lead up to the MLS Cup final on Nov. 20, beginning with Rookie of the Year and the Xbox Fair Play Individual & Team of the Year on Tuesday and culminating on Nov. 18 with the Volkswagen MVP and Commissioner’s Award. The three players vying for the Volkswagen MVP award include the regular-season assist leader (Brad Davis), the 2011 Golden Boot winner (Dwayne De Rosario), and one of the top attacking prospects in North America (Brek Shea).

MLS reveals finalists for MVP and other year-end awards | MLSsoccer.com

This year, the entire playoff set leading up to MLS Cup (eight matches total) was crammed into 12 days. Which may not be so terrible -- until you consider the 13-day break now disrupting the momentum before a Nov. 20 Home Depot Center final. Los Angeles, the league's best side wire to wire, was rewarded by traveling across country to open the postseason. Then, Bruce Arena's side had one fewer day of rest than Real Salt Lake between the conference semifinal and Sunday's Western Conference finale. All that, plus the usual complaints over the toggling the format: one game, then aggregate goals over two legs, then one game again. Try explaining that one to somebody just starting to follow MLS.

David Beckham inspiring the L.A. Galaxy's posteason - Steve Davis - SI.com

With such a growth in fans of Sporting Kansas City it can be hard to just pick out a few passionate supporters who might be considered the 2011 Ad Astra SKC Fan of the Year (FOTY).  The 5 nominees come from all over the stadium, online and offline.  Any fan of Sporting KC was eligible not just Ad Astra fans in 102, or the South Stand.

Ad Astra SKC: Ad Astra SKC Fan of the Year 2011 Nominees

Well the Sporting Kansas City season just ended and most will tell you one game too soon. Me being born and raised in the KC area by parents who were also born and raised in KC has caused me to love and support any sports franchise in this town. Yes even the Chiefs and Royals with how bad they have done. In the past year the local soccer franchise decided to rebrand themselves and became Sporting Kansas City. Something that most die-hard soccer fans, much like myself, didn't really like, not like myself. Yes I have always enjoyed the wizards since they started and was always disappointed when I wasn't able to make very many games each year, but I thought that it was actually pretty unique and knew that they would be able to go the way of trying to be like an English Premier Team. 

My time with #SportingKC this year " The Oz Blog

Face it. The Galaxy are supposed to be here. They have the pedigree, the spendthrift backing ownership and The Donovan. That cheshire cat grin Landon is flashing in the above picture is one he's been practicing in front of mirrors without an outlet since 2005, amazingly the last time he's won anything of any substance in the league. It has been a puzzling drought, one made especially more confusing considering the roll call of talent around him at times. 

No Short Corners: The MLS Grinder: An Orange Creamsicle Galaxy

The Colorado Rapids are searching for a new coach after firing Gary Smith, who led them to their first MLS Cup a year ago. Managing director Jeff Plush said Monday that he decided not to renew Smith's contract, which expired after this season. The Rapids were eliminated from the playoffs last week by Sporting Kansas City after a 12-9-13 regular season.

One year after winning MLS Cup, Rapids fire Gary Smith - Soccer - SI.com

Landon Donovan is one focused man. On Monday, US Soccer announced that the LA Galaxy star has withdrawn his name from the US national team squad for its friendly vs. France in Paris on Friday. "The plan was to have Landon come in for the match against France and then return to the LA Galaxy in preparation for MLS Cup," US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a statement, "but after further discussion, Landon expressed his desire to stay in Los Angeles."

Donovan withdraws from US squad for France friendly | MLSsoccer.com

Reports in the Mexican press are linking New York Red Bulls midfielder/defender Rafa Márquez with a move back to the team of his boyhood, Guadalajara-based Club Atlas, although the Mexican international says there has been no official approach as yet. "I would like to help Atlas get out of this situation it is in, but there has not been a formal approach," Márquez said in a press conference on Monday to promote his charity here. "I am ready to listen to see what they propose and what the possibilities are. First, they have to get in contact. I’m not ruling out anything."

As Atlas rumors swirl, Márquez "not ruling out anything" | MLSsoccer.com

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