NYT piece puts David Beckham’s PSG role into sharp focus

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We all knew that David Beckham was mostly just a high-cheeked hood ornament for Paris Saint-Germain. At 37 years old, the flower of England football was never going to be part of the engine block that drives the team around gritty le Parc des Princes.

But this story in today’s New York Times perfectly frames the addition of Beckham and all his fabulous attachments, smartly capturing the bigger picture as PSG remakes its brand using a credit card unencumbered by pesky limits.

Beckham is a walking, talking metaphor for the club’s target as a bigger world brand, soccer and otherwise. (Come to think of it, the fellow must be the most handsome metaphor in the history of the world.)

The competition end will likely take care of itself as the Qatari-owned club can shop leisurely, scooping up talent with no regards for bargain scanning. The narrative as “PSG and then the rest” is already a talker around French football.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but PSG didn’t need David Beckham. Not a bit.

Not in terms of competition, at least.

Beckham the be-smoldering model, the charming showman, the ultimate jersey salesman, the traffic clogger along the (now ridiculously commercialized) Champs-Élysées? Sure, that version of Beckham can be put to swell use by PSG. In fact, they already have, as the piece shows in its opening scene setter.

Beckham’s role doesn’t have much to do with the 60-yard passes that he sprayed with such aplomb over recent years at the Home Depot Center (Soon to be the StubHub Center … keep up now!). Rather, it’s all about PSG stretching beyond its quaint little French stomping ground – well, they make it seem quint – and moving on up, into in a more tony global soccer neighborhood.

As the NYT piece says:

… the team wants to win, but not necessarily in France. It wants attention but not necessarily from Parisians. And it wants stars but not necessarily only the on-the-field soccer variety.”

Report: LA FC close to acquiring Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan

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First Dax McCarty ahead of the 2017 season, and now Sacha Kljestan?

It seems as though the New York Red Bulls could be on the verge of trading away yet another club captain this offseason.

[ MORE: LA FC continues active offseason with addition of Laurent Ciman ]

According to Metro, Los Angeles FC is close to trading for Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan.

The U.S. Men’s National Team attacker has led Major League Soccer in assists over the last two seasons, and has served as an integral piece in the Red Bulls midfield since joining the club in 2015.

The Red Bulls made Kljestan club captain ahead of the 2017 season when former midfielder Dax McCarty was traded away to the Chicago Fire in exchange for allocation money.

Kljestan spent the first five seasons of his MLS career with now-defunct side Chivas USA, before playing in Europe Belgian club Anderlecht.

LA FC continues active offseason with addition of Laurent Ciman

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It seems like Major League Soccer’s latest expansion team is taking a page out of Atlanta United’s playbook in its buildup to the 2018 season.

[ MORE: NYCFC provides stadium details for Belmont proposal ]

After selecting five players in Tuesday’s MLS Expansion Draft, Los Angeles FC announced that it will be sending two of those players to the Montreal Impact.

LA FC will be sending Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards to the Impact.

The return? Bob Bradley and LA FC will acquire Impact center back Laurent Ciman — who has proven to be one of the best defenders in MLS since arriving in 2015.

“Laurent is a top defender who provides leadership and great distribution,” Bradley said upon acquiring Ciman. “His experience in the league and with the Belgian National Team will be invaluable as we build our club.”

With the addition of Ciman now in place, LA FC has built a strong central defensive partnership after the club also brought in former FC Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman in a trade on Sunday.

The expansion side already made a major splash with its first Designated Player signing this year, bringing in Mexican international Carlos Vela.

Huddersfield 1-3 Chelsea: Blues bounce back on the road

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Chelsea picked up a convincing road victory on Tuesday as the Blues topped Huddersfield Town, 3-1, at the Kirklees Stadium.

[ MORE: Gremio reaches Club World Cup final ]

The Blues came out hungry following Sunday’s defeat at West Ham, and an unlikely goalscorer gave  Conte’s group the lead.

Sloppy passing at the back saw Willian with the ball at the top of the Huddersfield area, before the Brazilian brilliantly played Tiemoué Bakayoko in on goal for his second finish of the season.

Willian — who played a key role throughout the match — extended the Chelsea advantage three minutes prior to halftime when his header snuck past Terriers goalkeeper Jonas Lössl.

Chelsea was clicking on all cylinders after halftime, when Willian helped set up Pedro for his third goal of the Premier League season.

Meanwhile, Laurent Depoitre pulled a goal back late for the hosts, but it was too late to rescue a result for Huddersfield.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford: Eagles storm back late, move up to 17th

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All things were pointing towards Watford’s direction on Tuesday, but a late change in fortune gave the Eagles a share of the points.

[ MORE: Burnley climbs into Premier League top four ]

A pair of late goals gave Crystal Palace a 2-1 win over Watford at Selhurst Park, and pulled Roy Hodgson’s side out of the relegation zone.

Bakary Sako and James McArthur each found the back of the net after the 87th minute to complete an important comeback for the Eagles. Now, Palace sits 17th in the PL standings on 14 points.

The big moment of the match came in the 87th minute, when Tom Cleverley was sent off after picking up his second yellow card.

Three minutes into the match, Daryl Janmaat struck for the visitors after the Dutchman headed home Richarlison‘s cross from close-range.