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Not surprisingly, David Beckham and the LA Galaxy are ESPN's #1 team in this week's edition of their MLS Power Rankings.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Not surprisingly, David Beckham and the LA Galaxy are ESPN's #1 team in this week's edition of their MLS Power Rankings. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Peter Vermes' side wrapped the Eastern Conference crown by beating D.C. United 1-0. Kansas City's defense, which conceded four goals in the last seven games, seems to be heating up at the right time as well.

2011 MLS Soccer Power Rankings Week 32 - Major League Soccer - ESPN Soccernet

Rumors out of Sweden today are that Sporting KC and expansion side, Montreal, have shown interest in Swedish forward Jeffrey Aubynn currently with Malmo FF. Aubynn is a free agent after this year and would be available on a free transfer. The draw back is that the forward, who can also play center and left mid, is that he will be turn 35 early in the 2012 season.

Down the Byline: Sporting KC Linked with Swedish Striker

Whether it was C.J. Sapong playing a major part in Sporting Kansas City's climb from worst to first in the East, to A.J. Soares establishing himself as the best defender on New England in year one, there were several rookies who flourished in their first seasons as pros.

Soccer By Ives: SBI 2011 MLS All-Rookie Team

You can make a case that Kansas City, operating from that dynamic 4-3-3, has been the league's best club since August. Peter Vermes' side was certainly tops in the East over that time, beaten only once over the last two months (and that a close, 1-0 decision at Rio Tinto in Utah.) So how did it happen? Start with that 9-2-6 mark at home, tied for second-best in MLS. Throw in some balanced scoring: Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury and Omar Bravo (which happens to be the current first-choice threesome across the top) hit for nine goals each. Meanwhile, the central defensive pairing (Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler) and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen have been dependable, too.

L.A. Galaxy remains cup favorite - Steve Davis - SI.com

It’s easy to say this now, given the way Sinovic, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound Leawood native, has seized a starting job at defender, one of Sporting’s deepest positions. But he wasn’t supposed to do that. Because it wasn’t all that long ago when his soccer career was in limbo.

*Somehow I missed this article for the past four days :(

Sporting’s Sinovic finds a home back home - KansasCity.com

One key piece of information that's still unknown is whether Fox stipulated to FIFA that it was committed to purchasing the rights for MLS and U.S. Soccer during its eight-year World Cup rights-holding period. That's what ESPN had done to help get the rights for '10 and '14 and (according to sources) had included in its bid for the '18 and '22 World Cup rights. If FIFA was simply interested in the highest-money bid regardless of a network's commitment to growing the sport in America, that could be bad news indeed for MLS and U.S. Soccer, which are tied for the next three years with ESPN and NBC thanks to their partnership contracts. 

Lots of questions about Fox's World Cup coup - Grant Wahl - SI.com

The team started off the season on a ten game road swing. It was tough, arduous and players were exhausted. But with the opening of Livestrong Park and a seriously impressive team performance, they rallied and on the final day, secured the number one position in the East. There's really not much else to be said other than how surprising and deserving that squad is of their new accolade. Happy to see stories like that in the league.

The MLS Reserves: Monday Morning Thoughts

The Revolution announced on Monday that they have parted ways with their long-time coach, who had been the head man at Gillette Stadium for a league-record 10 seasons. His career record in that time is 112-108-81, good for second in Major League Soccer in overall career games coached (301) and fourth in wins behind only Sigi Schmid, Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena.

New England part ways with Nicol after 10 seasons | MLSsoccer.com

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Richie Williams was hired by U.S. Soccer as the coach of the Under-18 national team on Monday, joining Caleb Porter (U-23) and Tab Ramos (U-20) as recent youth coaching hires under Klinsmann who will look to discover and develop the next generation of U.S. talent. Williams' predecessor, Mike Matkovich, had held the U-18 coaching post since December, 2008.

Soccer By Ives: Williams hired as USA U-18 coach