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March 14, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Turning attention to the Portland Timbers (Thursday links)

The league has been trumpeting Rivalry Week this week, but it’s been hard to focus on Saturday’s clash with Portland with so much going on recently.

But yes, the big Cascadia rivalry resumes in two days, and while there were 66,000 people at the last year’s contest here, CenturyLink Field will be at regular capacity this time.

There is some cool stuff going on around the league Saturday as the NBC Sports Network will have a show similar to the NFL Red Zone for several hours, which will cut in to highlights of four live games that are staggered throughout the afternoon. I’m not sure if I explained that very well, but check out the story.

MLSsoccer.com has some fun rivalry memories from over the years here and here.

Let’s get to some links (I was a little rushed this morning, so forgive any typos):

*     *     *

— First off, a quick note that I have been promoted to a full-time reporter. I was hired before the 2010 season as a three-year resident, but I’m excited to be continuing on with The Seattle Times. Here’s my intro post from way back when.

— There’s a fair chance the Obafemi Martins signing could be finalized in the next few days and Levante UD officials weighed in on the forward’s exit this week with some strong words, saying Martins didn’t deserve to wear their uniform after expressing interest in moving on.

— Around the league, the first disciplinary announcement was made this morning (Abdoulie Mansally was suspended for a head butt and KC was warned for mass confrontation), Toronto FC forward Robert Earnshaw was named MLS Player of the Week, here were the Castrol Index ratings for the weekend, and you won’t believe what Roy Miller said in explanation of his shocking actions at Buck Shaw Stadium.

— Regarding some injuries, San Jose’s Mike Fucito needed stitches for a gash on his foot and Chicago’s Arne Friedrich is off to Germany to have a hamstring injury looked at.

— Speaking of the Earthquakes, Baldomero Toledo will be the referee in charge when the Sounders head down there next weekend.

— The U.S. men’s soccer team, which fell again in the FIFA world rankings, officially announced its Belgium friendly on May 29 in Cleveland. On the women’s side, the national team won the Algarve Cup behind MVP Megan Rapinoe (of Reign FC) and two goals from Alex Morgan in the final. Veteran defender Heather Mitts announced after that she is retiring and midfielder Carli Lloyd broke her shoulder.

— Here are some highlights of a Twitter Q&A with USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann. And did you see former USWNT coach Pia Sundhage has a song out?

Mexico and Costa Rica have announced their squads for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against the U.S.

— Salt Lake media is reporting the June 18 qualifier against Honduras will be at Rio Tinto Stadium, which still leaves Seattle able to host the June 11 qualifier against Panama (as is expected).

— The UEFA Champions League is down to eight quarterfinalists (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Dortmund, PSG, Juventus, Galatasaray, Malaga) and the draw will be Friday. Notice none are from England.

— Here’s is the latest video report from Grant Wahl for FOX Soccer. He also caught up with USMNT goalkeeper Brad Guzan before he looks to take center stage in qualifying with Tim Howard injured.

— Gorilla FC is hosting a beer launch party Friday from 4:30 to 9 pm at Golazo Headquarters downtown. There will be a DJ and other fun things going on. Proceeds from the event will benefit Gorilla FC charities.

— Here is another history lesson from Doug Thiel at GoalWA.net.

— Lastly, Santos Laguna forward Herculez Gomez has started his trolling of the Sounders…

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