Latest Beckham speculation only highlights most-likely scenario

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Before I get to the latest, let me pass out a few grains of salt to everybody, because none of this should be taken that seriously. Yet.

Still, it’s worth a moment to consider a report yesterday from the BBC regarding David Beckham’s future. According to the story, the now former-LA Galaxy star has been approached by franchises in New York and Miami about a possible role with their teams.

Already, you should be skeptical. From the report:

Franchises in Miami and New York have approached the 37-year-old, who asked for the option to own an MLS club when he joined Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007.

Both clubs are hopeful they will become MLS members before 2016, and both are keen for Beckham to play a major role.

The red flags begin with the first word of this passage. Miami doesn’t have a franchise. New York does, but the New York they’re alluding to (perhaps Queens, perhaps the Cosmos – who knows) also does not have a franchise.

It’s nit-picking, but these details are important. The next paragraph makes it clear the BBC knows these teams aren’t actually MLS members, but the preceding sentence could give a naive reader the impression both groups have been promised franchises. As you know, they haven’t. “New York 2” (Queens) seems to be in the lead to be franchise number 20, but there are still a number of details to be worked out. Even if they get resolved, Beckham can’t buy into that team.

At any point, a group of people can approach a Beckham advisor and ask about his interest in joining their group. Undoubtedly, on soccer and non-soccer issues, this happens all the time, and it also provides limited fodder to make Miami and New York connections, even if the approach never trickles up to the man who’ll make the decision. It’s thin reporting that overlooks a bit of common sense, but unfortunately, it’s become standard operating procedure. Though it’s unclear the BBC is making this mistake, their story still doesn’t add up.

These things make all the Beckham speculation – particularly, the Beckham speculation from far and away lands – difficult to take seriously. Not only is the line between rumor and reportable information much thinner abroad, but the knowledge base on MLS and Beckham no longer matches their desire to report the story. That lack of background had many overlook Beckham’s familial loyalties last year. This year, it has reports overlooking the most-likely scenario.

Perhaps it’s a coincidence that Beckham’s elected to end his MLS career at the same time Philip Anschutz is putting his empire up for sale. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that he did, this weekend, allude to potential part-ownership in a team. And perhaps we should overlook those develops lining up with Beckham opting out of his contract, a deal required him to end his playing days in MLS before he could pursue his ownership options.

And maybe loyalty is the only reason he will not only help recruit Kaká to Los Angeles but also (to paraphrase his words from last Thursday) always help the Galaxy in any way he can.

This is just my reading, but that doesn’t sound like a man gearing up to buy into another team. Purchasing the LA Galaxy may not work out, but right now, it seems like the most likely scenario.

“I’m not a bad guy” – Convicted murderer, new club defend signing

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A week ago, we brought you the story of goalkeeper Bruno Fernandes finding a new club despite a conviction for ordering the torture and murder of his mistress, whose body was then fed to dogs. The two were having a disagreement on child support.

Fernandes, 32, was set free from jail on a technicality and has since been signed by Boa Esporte in Brazil. He said he couldn’t “throw in the towel” on his career because he believed in himself.

Fans were outraged with the team, major sponsors pulled their funding, and an activist group even hacked Boa Esporte’s web page.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

And the club is digging in its heels.

Boa Esporte’s president, Rone Moraes da Costa, reacted to protests by saying he’d rather move the team than not give Fernandes a chance to resurrect his career.

As for Fernandes, he clearly is having trouble explaining why he’s getting another chance. From The Guardian:

“What happened, happened. I made a mistake, a serious one, but mistakes happens in life – I’m not a bad guy. People tried to bury my dream because of one mistake, but I asked God for forgiveness, so I’m carrying on with my career, dude. I’m starting over.”

One mistake. Wow. There are few clubs in the world which fit the bill of being the majority of fans’ least favorite team, but Boa Esporte could get there. Surely there must be more to the story?

Nothing new about the challenges facing USMNT

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This next week may define a generation of USMNT players, but only if it goes poorly.

That may sound overly dramatic, but it isn’t. The United States started 0-2 in the final round of World Cup qualifying, earned its coach a firing, and now stares down its status in the confederation.

Honduras is coming on Friday, far from a pushover. Then it’s off to Panama for another tricky tie. In a vacuum, coming up short in one of the two isn’t the end of the world, but the Yanks will be expected to take a minimum four points. Even that would be a disappointment to many.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

The crutches are gone, aside from any being used by injured players back in Germany (Bobby Wood and Fabian Johnson chief amongst them). Fifteen of Honduras’ players play domestically, and Panama isn’t much better in overall quality.

Frankly, and it’s been written before, the United States should outclass both of these foes. If Bruce Arena’s bunch doesn’t, well, it spells woe for the country’s soccer development as a whole.

For now, supporters and players have been able to cling to the thought that Jurgen Klinsmann was responsible for the Yanks’ struggles. In some ways, he most certainly was to blame for setbacks like the CONCACAF Cup loss to Mexico and the pathetic performance against Costa Rica that earned him a firing.

Several of the United States’ current elder statesmen have built legacies that can survive big hits. Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey may go down in history as the two biggest stars in program history (There will be an argument for both as No. 1 along with Landon Donovan and Claudio Reyna). DaMarcus Beasley is an all-timer, too.

Michael Bradley, Geoff Cameron, and Jozy Altidore are on track for that, too, and there’s an argument to be made the trio is already there, especially for Cameron, who’s a mainstay in the Premier League. Each has found success in Europe after getting their starts in Major League Soccer, and have etched their names into the national record books.

There’s still very little reason to believe the USMNT will miss the 2018 World Cup even with the 0-2 start. The class is just too much to consider the Yanks will finish below Panama, Honduras, and Trinidad and Tobago over the course of 10 matches (The fourth place side gets a shot at an Asian side like Saudi Arabia, UAE, or Uzbekistan in a two-legged affair).

But turning it around has to start now. The Yanks have to handle their business in these qualifiers, and make at least the Gold Cup final to build momentum toward Russia. Anything short of that is abject failure.

Again, this absolutely should happen, starting Friday. Even given the poor start, losses or even a pair of draws this week would be legitimately shocking, and set the program back ages. Howard set it up well Tuesday when he pointed out that the U.S. has gotten to points like this before, and they always belly up to the bar and outlast all comers.

A lot of fans have this nagging voice in their heads, asking nefariously, “What if they don’t?”

Podolski after golazo finale: “This is like a great movie”

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Lukas Podolski has won a EURO, a World Cup, and the Bundesliga with two different sides.

Only Lothar Matthaus and Miroslav Klose have been capped more than Germany’s Polish born Podolski, and he received a hero’s send-off from the home crowd at Germany’s 1-0 win over England on Wednesday.

And of course he sent himself off in style with a gorgeous goal.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

Podolski said there were more than 30,000 people from Cologne at the match, where he won one of his two Bundesliga titles.

“That’s when you know where you home is, and that you’ve done a lot of good, also off the pitch,” Podolski said. “That makes me very proud.”

It was a perfect night to say goodbye, and the goal made it almost surreal (Thomas Muller called it “cheesy”).

From Goal.com:

“This is like a great movie,” he told ARD. “We win 1-0 and I score the goal.

“I know I have a left foot that was probably gifted to me by God, or someone up there, and I can always rely on it. I am proud of these last 13 years.”

Feel good hit of the Spring.

Report: Guardiola close to adding $43m Benfica goalkeeper

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Year Two of the Pep Guardiola era at Manchester City could feature another big goalkeeper purchase.

Claudio Bravo hasn’t panned out in sky blue, and Joe Hart doesn’t look likely to be coming back. Wily Caballero is getting the lion’s share of the minutes right now, playing every minute aside from a trio of FA Cup matches since February.

[ MORE: Podolski scores screamer in German finale ]

$43 million is the fee noted by Abola when it comes to the latest target for Guardiola, a neck-tattooed Brazilian by the name of Ederson.

The Benfica backstop, 23, has 20 clean sheets in 32 appearances this season. He signed a new six-year deal in late January, but money may talk here.