The Western Conference will continue to dominate MLS, and we all know it

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On Tuesday, PST’s very own Nicholas Mendola made the case for the Eastern Conference being Major League Soccer’s better half in 2015.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS previews for 2015 ]

While Nick made a number salient points in his argument, he was always fighting an uphill battle because, well, it’s simply not true. The Western Conference has reigned supreme for years. It will continue to do so in 2015, and we all know it.

1) Champions

Let’s have a look at the last six MLS Cup winners — LA Galaxy (three times), Sporting Kansas City, Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake. Five of the six lifted the Cup while residing in the Western Conference.

A team that could win the Eastern Conference is going to miss the playoffs altogether in the West this year.

2) $$$

Money matters, and in MLS it currently resides out West. Not only is the money in the West, but they spend it better, too. We could talk about Robbie Keane, Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins all day, but we’d be doing a disservice to the likes of Pedro Morales, Diego Valeri, Osvaldo Alonso, Javier Morales, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz.

While Toronto FC have committed a combined $18 million to their three Designated Players this season, you could have the above nine DP or DP-worthy players for a combined $5 million, or, one Michael Bradley.

3) Unrivaled fan support

Quick — tell me which team the best fans/in-stadium support in MLS. While five unbiased people might give five different answers, chances are all five teams are in the Western Conference.

Whether it’s Seattle and their 40,000-plus per-game average, with the occasional 67,000; Portland’s Timbers Army that. never. stop. signing.; Sporting Kansas City’s Cauldron; the Southsiders in Vancouver; or the RioT, which on its day gives any stadium in MLS a run for its money; the fact is simple — the West is best.

4) The strong gets stronger

As if the aforementioned list of MLS Cup champions reminded us, the West has been dominant for quite some time. In 2015, it gets even stronger (and tougher) as Sporting KC and Houston Dynamo make the move out West, adding the 2013 champions to the mix, as well as the 2006 and 2007 winners.

Of the last 10 Cup winners, nine now reside in the West — Sporting, Houston (twice) and Galaxy (again). If that doesn’t scream, “Power conference,” nothing does.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup

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Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.

Man arrested after English soccer player reports homophobia

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TRANMERE, England — A footballer in England’s third tier reported being subjected to homophobic abuse from the stands, leading to police making one arrest.

Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop told the referee of the abuse at halftime of the League One soccer game at Tranmere as his team won 2-0.

Tranmere says it is very disappointed to learn of a homophobic comment made.

In a statement, Merseyside Police condemned abhorrent incidents.

Police Chief Inspector Jason Crellin added that “hate crime has no place in our communities, and not least at a showcase sporting event attended and watched by many people.”

Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video)

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Brazil became Under-17 world champions for a fourth time in dramatic fashion as Lazaro Vinicius Marques’ scored a 93rd-minute winner to edge Mexico 2-1 at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

Brazil’s comeback started in the 84th minute when Kaio Jorge converted from the penalty spot, following VAR’s decision which ruled contact on the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, Gabriel Veron, inside the 18-yard box.

With Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Cafu in attendance, the host’s had the better of chances throughout the first 45 minutes. Without any luck, however, Brazil were unable to get the ball past Eduardo Garcia, instead hitting the bar on several occasions.

Then in the 66th minute, Mexico – winners of the tournament in 2005 and in 2011 – stunned the home crowd when Bronze Ball winner Eugenio Pizzoto’s cross into the box was headed into the back of the net by Bryan Alonso Gonzalez Olivan, breaking the deadlock between two sides that had met in the same game back in 2005.

What was going to be a stunning, underdog victory for El Tri, turned into a heartbreaking night for Marco “Chima” Ruiz and company.

Brazil, on the other hand, are now only one championship away from tying Nigeria’s record of five championships.

EURO qualifying wrap: France, Iceland, Turkey earn wins

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With their tickets already booked to next summer’s big tournament, France and Turkey picked up wins in Sunday’s Euro qualifying action, which saw defending champions Portugal clinch qualification.

[ READ: Defending champions Portugal qualify to EURO 2020 ]


Albania 0-2 France

Albania opened their new, 22,500-seat stadium with a hard-fought loss against France.

Early on, Bayern Munich’s Corentin Tolisso gave the impression that the home fans were in for a long night at the inaugurating Air Albania Stadium, opening the score just eight minutes in with a well-placed header. In the 31st minute, an unfamiliar face, Leo Dubois, connected with Antoine Griezmann, who slotted the ball into the bottom-right corner. France finish the qualifiers leaders of Group H with 25 points. Throughout the 10 matches, the world champions lost only once, a 2-0 loss against Turkey.

Andorra 0-2 Turkey

Real Valladolid’s Enes Unal scored a first-half brace as Turkey coasted past Andorra 2-0. Turkey, who clinched a spot next summer after finishing Group H two points behind France, controlled possession and chances at goal.

Moldova 1-2 Iceland

Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the visitor’s second and winning goal in the second half, as Iceland walked away from Zimbru Stadium with a 2-1 win on Sunday.

With 19 points throughout 10 games, Rúnar Kristinsson and company felt five points short of qualifying directly for next year’s competition. That said, they’ll partake in the Euro 2020 playoffs, looking to squeeze their way in.

Elsewhere

Luxembourg 0-2 Portugal

Serbia 2-2 Ukraine

Kosovo 0-4 England

Bulgaria 1-0 Czech Republic