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Originally published Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 8:29 PM

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Earthquakes' Wondolowski voted MVP of MLS | A.M. Briefing

Chris Wondolowski won Major League Soccer's MVP award Thursday by an appropriately huge margin for the San Jose Earthquakes forward who...

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Soccer

Wondolowski voted MVP

Chris Wondolowski won Major League Soccer's MVP award Thursday by an appropriately huge margin for the San Jose Earthquakes forward who dominated the league's goal-scoring race.

Wondolowski capped his remarkable season by lifting the MVP trophy at Home Depot Center during the week of festivities leading up to the MLS Cup on Saturday.

The Bay Area native scored 27 goals, tying the MLS season record set by Tampa Bay's Roy Lassiter in 1996, and won the Golden Boot as the league's top scorer while leading San Jose to the Supporters' Shield with the best regular-season record. He is the first Earthquakes player to win the MVP award, and the first MLS player to lead the league in goals for three straight years.

World finalists named

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta are the finalists for FIFA's world player of the year award. Messi is looking to become the first player to win the award four times. The winner will be announced in Switzerland on Jan. 7. The finalists for the women's world player award are five-time winner Marta and the American duo of Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach.

Baseball

Rivera, Yanks have deal

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that closer Mariano Rivera and the New York Yankees have agreed to a $10 million, one-year contract. After missing most of the season because of a knee injury, Rivera accepted a cut in guaranteed money from his $30 million, two-year deal that had covered the last two years.

Pirates sign Martin

A person with knowledge of the deal said the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to a $17 million, two-year contract with free-agent catcher Russell Martin. The deal is pending a physical. Martin, 29, hit .211 with 21 homers and 53 runs batted in last year with the New York Yankees.

Nationals get Span

The Washington Nationals acquired outfielder Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins for minor-league pitcher Alex Meyer, giving the reigning NL East champions a leadoff hitter and center fielder. Span is a career .284 hitter.

Golf

Watney leads with 67

Nick Watney made five birdies on his last 10 holes — including his first birdie ever on the 14th hole at Sherwood — for a 5-under-par 67 that gave him a two-shot lead at World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Keegan Bradley and past champions Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell were two shots out of the lead at 69.

Host Tiger Woods' putting saved his round, even though most of them were for par. It added up to a 70, which left him very much in the hunt at the 18-man event.

NHL

Mediators fail to help

The NHL, the players union and now even federal mediators agree on one thing: The bickering sides are nowhere near a deal that would put hockey back on the ice.

The league and the union wrapped up two days of talks in New Jersey with help from mediators, but moved no closer to a solution to save the season that has already been delayed and shortened.

Goalie has multiple sclerosis

Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He's been undergoing treatment for the disease, which attacks the body's immune system and affects the central nervous system. Symptoms can include problems with balance, vision and fatigue. But the 28-year-old Harding, who resumed on-ice workouts two weeks ago without trouble, has no plans to end or alter his career.

Auto racing

Earnhardt wins most-popular award No. 10

Dale Earnhardt Jr. tied Bill Elliott's record of 10 consecutive wins as NASCAR's most-popular driver. The award is presented annually by the National Motorsports Press Association, and Earnhardt has won it every year since 2003.

Tennis

Serena Player of the Year

Serena Williams was named the WTA's Player of the Year after winning major titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and claiming gold at the London Olympics.

Williams has won 15 Grand Slam singles titles and four Olympic gold medals.

Elsewhere

• Former U.S. women's national team general manager Cheryl Bailey will serve as the executive director of the new U.S. Soccer-led women's league that will begin play next year. The eight-team league will have teams in Boston, Chicago, New Jersey, Portland, Seattle, Kansas City, western New York and Washington.

• Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic will join Conference USA, leaving the Sun Belt as part of the ever-changing college landscape.

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