David Beckham

One more story on David Beckham’s impact to MLS … with a slightly different take


CARSON, Calif. – An interesting piece in the Sporting News has a fairly new take on the Beckham experiment in MLS.

And that’s no small feat; by now, pretty much every slant has been sliced, diced and dissected. Not just this year, but last year, too. Remember, curiosity factor was high last at MLS Cup time year over Beckham’s plans after the 2011 title contest.

So the stories of Beckham’s mighty impact on MLS bounced high and hard off the usual soccer platforms. I’ve said before, the people who cannot see how Beckham drew in more general audience gaze, how he enhanced MLS general awareness beyond the niche market and increased the value of sponsorships and TV contracts, well, they simply don’t want to see it.

So, there’s that.

Meanwhile, the Sporting News’ Brian Straus makes the case that Beckham helped grow MLS and domestic soccer in one way that hasn’t been addressed as much.

This story says, essentially, that a certain animosity that Beckham fostered helped the league mature. More specifically, the league’s fan base lost a little of its innocence due the man.

It’s an interesting premise. Indeed, when Beckham arrived in 2007 there was much fawning and falling over in awe and such. The young ‘tweener screamer factor was high.

But something happened along the way as Beckham snubbed certain MLS events to go abroad and do … whatever. Then he lost more style points when Grant Wahl’s book came out, detailing a slightly less cheery side of the whole thing.

Then there were the boos at home, when his own fans said “enough,” calling the man on a perceived lack of commitment.

It wasn’t enough to just be David Beckham at that point; the fans wanted him to be more of The L.A. Galaxy’s David Beckham – if you know what I mean. Said Beckham:

I’ve played the villain quite a few times in my career. (But) I’ve never been booed by my own fans.”

(Check back in a while; we’ll have plenty of MLS Cup 2012 coverage)

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC
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Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).