If we’re being honest, the Portland Timbers’ atrocious defending set the stage wonderfully for David Beckham.
But don’t get too hung up on that. So very many players couldn’t coax the balls that Major League Soccer’s most illustrious right foot did so effectively on Saturday, even when afforded opportunities of such high possibility.
Yes, he had acres of space to line up that first goal, that highlight-maker that dropped behind Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins with such ruthless precision. But, again, how many times have we seen an uncontested shot from 25-30 yards fly harmlessly high, agonizingly wide or drop comfortably into the goalkeeper’s gloves?
Beckham took a look, set the sights and convinced his shot to go right where he wanted – as if the doggone things was laser-guided. And key to the effort was the wisdom of the years; Beckham didn’t need to crush the ball. It was moment that called for calm and finesse rather than bare-knuckle brawn.
On to his second strike:
Fouling a Galaxy attacker anywhere near the 18 is never a wise move. I mean … Beckham!
So, the former England international’s second act of high marksmanship was equally predictable in some ways. And yet, we see free kicks around the penalty area come and go each week in MLS, almost always finishing “more sizzle than steak,” as they say.
Not Beckham’s shot, which had room to spare as it fell with jaw-dropping effect into the Jeld-Wen Field goal.
His two goals also ask this question: is the Galaxy man about to take out his Olympic frustration on the rest of Major League Soccer? Answer: only the most un-wise of sides will provide such glistening opportunities to do so.
Transfer rumor roundup: Schurrle to Newcastle, Spurs
Newcastle United reportedly leads the pack for the former Chelsea scorer, who is struggling to get time at BVB thanks to a glut of fantastic wingers including Christian Pulisic.
Magpies boss Rafa Benitez has a good relationship with the Westfalenstadion set, having taken Mikel Merino off their hands in August. Newcastle currently uses Christian Atsu on the left wing and Matt Ritchie on the right, but Schurrle can play center forward and Benitez may prefer to use the 27-year-old in the middle of his trident.
But they’ll face competition, and HITC says BVB is willing to pay half of his wages on an 18-month deal to keep him reasonable for some clubs. This could be a boon for Spurs.
Newcastle and Stoke City have also been linked with Galatasaray midfielder Papa “Badou” Ndiaye, with the Magpies said to have bid just a bit higher than the Potters but still under Gala’s buyout clause.
And here’s a wild one, according to ESPN: Chelsea’s rumored pursuit of current Premier League scorers now includes Marko Arnautovic. The audacious Austrian attacker cost West Ham around $35 million when his head was turned from Stoke City in the summer.
He didn’t perform well but Slaven Bilic, but David Moyes has been able to get some fine performances from the powerful Arnautovic. Chelsea has previously been linked with West Ham teammate Andy Carroll, Burnley’s Ashley Barnes, and Stoke’s Peter Crouch as it attempts to find a center forward to ease the burden placed on Alvaro Morata in his first Premier League season.
Voted “the best right back” in Europe between 1962-64, the former England and Blackpool captain also had a successful management and broadcasting career.
Armfield was a member of the 1962 and 1966 World Cup squads, though a toe injury kept him from his place in the starting lineup when England won the tournament.
He spent his entire playing career with Blackpool before managing Bolton Wanderers to promotion and Leeds United to the European Cup Final, righting the ship after Brian Clough’s infamous spell in charge of the club.
There’s a statue outside Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road, and the club legend has a stand named after him inside the venue.
While Zach’s night was certainly a memorable one for many reasons, it was Julie that arguably had the better performance — which included a goal in the 19th minute off of a close-range volley.
The USWNT had trailed through 14 minutes, but a combination of goals from Alex Morgan and Ertz in a span of two minutes quickly erased the deficit.
For Morgan, it was her 80th goal for the Stars and Stripes.
Meanwhile, a second-half brace from teenage sensation Mallory Pugh and Crystal Dunn’s finish with nine minutes to play proved to be the icing on the cake for Jill Ellis’ side, who kicked off 2018 with a bang.