Beckham as MLS owner; Did that moment just inch closer?

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Long ago, David Beckham knew he would remain in the game at a high-level past his days of performance on the field. I mean, really, what else was the guy going to do? Crafts, maybe? Build a really kick-ass iTunes library?

The one-time England captain even had the foresight, for instance, to sew that MLS ownership option clause into his original league contract back in 2007.

So, might Thursday’s newsy announcement expedite Beckham’s second spin of the Major League Soccer wheel, only this time from a corner office rather than while taking corner kicks? That is, will Brand Beckham soon be an MLS owner, sidling up to league commish Don Garber (pictured, with the former Galaxy midfielder) and the suited ones quite soon?

Perhaps today’s events walk us one step closer. But in all honesty, that eventuality still has the feel of “years” more than “months.”

I talked to MLS vice president of communications Dan Courtemanche on Thursday. He reiterated that MLS remains committed to getting a second club up and running in New York. Any and all discussions on Beckham remain quite preliminary, he assured me.

And by the sound of it, even “preliminary” might be stretching it.

So much for the breathless reports out of England in December that Beckham was on a fast track for MLS ownership in South Florida.

(MORE: PHOTOS –The life and times of David Beckham)

That’s not to say negotiations for Miami or somewhere else could not begin this summer. That original clause gave Beckham the option of buying an MLS franchise for $25 million, a pretty dandy little bargain now. The price tag for New York has long been around $100 million, for instance. (Beckham’s option does not include New York.)

And while market value for Miami, Orlando or Minnesota or wherever would surely be less than NYC2, perhaps by half, $25 million is a heck of a price just the same.

The issue is that these things take time. Major League Soccer’s board of directors would want to see a complete ownership plan and a stadium plan (already in place, at least in part, in some of the leading markets). And then there are the complexities of timing; when does it makes sense to add No. 21 – always keeping in mind that New York as No. 20 cannot happen before 2015 at earliest?

Looks like 2016 at very earliest – and once you start piecing things together, even that looks like a stretch.

(MORE: Bigger impact on game’s growth here, Beckham or Pele?)

(MORE: Beckham’s most memorable moments on the world stage)

(MORE: Emotional Beckham says now is the time to retire)

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

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Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)

Report: Man City adding Mendy to continue backline restoration

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Fresh off of completing a record deal to help bolster the club’s back line this summer, Manchester City is back at it with the Premier League season looming.

[ MORE: Alvaro Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

The Citizens are reportedly on the brink of signing Monaco left back Benjamin Mendy to yet another world-record fee — which will total over $67 million.

Confirmation of the deal has yet to be announced by either team, but L’Equipe is reporting that the Citizens are hot on the 23-year-old’s trail in adding to their pricy back four.

Manager Pep Guardiola and Man City have not been shy readjusting their defensive unit over the past year, adding expensive first-team choices John Stones and Kyle Walker.