Connecting false dots on Chivas USA

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Let’s review two things we know, for sure, about Major League Soccer and its roster of clubs.

David Beckham does, indeed, possess contractual rights to purchase an expansion club (outside of New York City) for $25 million.

We also know of careening media reports, of unknown veracity, that all Chivas properties appear to be for sale by owner Jorge Vergara and that Chivas USA could be spun off in a purchase, perhaps even by the ridiculously rich Carlos Slim.

Now, as for some of you out there connecting some false dots, a little clarification might be in order.

Beckham’s option is for an expansion club; that has nothing to do with the sale of an existing club. It’s apples and soccer balls.

Generally speaking, for a club to change ownership hands, a buyer and a seller need to get together and agree on a price. (Even within an ownership family, a stake in a club can be bought and sold for a negotiated value, as we’ve seen over the last couple of years at D.C. United and Real Salt Lake.)

So, buyer and seller would negotiate a price. Still hypothetically speaking, if Beckham were to get involved in any Chivas property fire sale, his $25 million option would not have anything to do with it. It’s not like he has a $25 million chip to toss into negotiations.

So, while Beckham could theoretically become owner of Chivas USA, the expansion club option negotiated into his original MLS deal back in 2007 would be irrelevant in the process.

I confirmed all this with the league office Friday afternoon.

Still on Chivas and rabbit trails, the league has refuted reports (for the second time in two weeks) that a league takeover of Chivas USA is imminent. Reports out of Mexico have been amplified here by the L.A. Times and others of such a thing. A league statement issued today said:

Major League Soccer is aware of recent media speculation concerning Chivas USA. Such speculation is completely unfounded and untrue. MLS is fully supportive of the current owners of Chivas USA and has never considered taking over the club or moving it.”

UEFA: Wales in trouble; Spain dominates; Buffon hits 1000

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Friday’s matches mark the midway point of the main round of qualifying in UEFA, and the tables remain tight near the top of Groups D and G.

[ MORE: Smalling hurt, Gibson called up ]

Group I, however, is seeing some distance between first and second thanks to Croatia’s result versus Ukraine.

Republic of Ireland 0-0 Wales

Neil Taylor was sent off in the 69th minute for Wales, whose World Cup hopes are in trouble.

Seamus Coleman was stretchered off after the tackle, with a scary-looking injury that will leave Everton fans sick in more ways than one. Coleman’s leg was broken, and left dangling by the challenge.

Ireland couldn’t take advantage of the sending off, and failed in a bid to overtake Serbia for first in Group D. The Irish trail on goal differential, and will host Serbia on Sept. 5.

But Wales will rue the result more, remaining four points back of second-place Ireland. Chris Coleman’s side drops a point behind Austria as well, and will not have Taylor or Gareth Bale (card accumulation) in its next match. That comes against leaders Serbia.

Italy 2-0 Albania

Daniele De Rossi scored a 12th minute penalty kick won by Andrea Belotti, and Ciro Immobile scored late to provided the goals in Gianluigi Buffon’s 1000th appearance for club and country. Fittingly, it ended in a clean sheet. The match was briefly delayed after flares were thrown onto the field.

Spain 4-1 Israel

David Silva, Vitolo, and Diego Costa stakes the Spaniards to a three-goal lead, with Lior Refaelov ruining David De Gea‘s clean sheet with 11 minutes to play. Isco scored the match’s final goal.

Spain remains atop Group G on goal differential, eight better than second place Italy. Israel is four points behind both.

Croatia 1-0 Ukraine

Fiorentina’s Nikola Kalinic’s 38th minute goal was enough for the hosts, and Croatia is now five points clear at the top midway through qualifying.

Elsewhere
Austria 2-0 Moldova — RB Leipzig’s Sabitzer nabs winner
Liechtenstein 0-3 Macedonia — Ilija Nestorovski bags brace
Kosovo 1-2 Iceland — Sigurdsson PK the match winner
Georgia 1-3 Serbia — Mitrovic, Tadic lead the way
Turkey 2-0 Finland — Brace for Cenk Tosun

Boro’s Gibson called to England after injury to Man Utd’s Smalling

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Scoring goals has been the biggest problem for Middlesbrough in its return to the Premier League, and that overshadows how well the Northeast club has defended its own goal.

Ben Gibson has been a huge part of that, and now he’ll earn the chance to represent his nation thanks to an injury to Chris Smalling. Gibson will join England ahead of Sunday’s home World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

[ MORE: Podolski leads Germany past England ]

Gibson has far and away been Boro’s best player, leading the side in blocked shots and clearances. The blocked shots total is tied for ninth in the Premier League, 11 behind current leader and new England teammate Michael Keane.

Smalling’s undisclosed injury is a bigger problem for Manchester United, which had already lost center back depth on England duty when Phil Jones was hurt.

Dele Alli to miss next three European matches, UCL or UEL

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Tottenham Hotspur is primed to qualify for a second-straight UEFA Champions League campaign this year, and will have to start that sophomore run without Dele Alli.

The 20-year-old playmaker has banned for his next three matches. If Spurs finish fourth, that would mean both qualifying matches and an additional match.

[ MORE: Five questions for USMNT ]

If they finish higher, Dele will miss the first three group stage matches.

Dele was shown red for a tackle on Brecht Dejaegere in Spurs’ 2-2 draw with Gent in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, as Tottenham left the tournament.

Men in Blazers podcast: Man City-Liverpool review, USMNT preview

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Rog and Davo recap the Top Four battle between Manchester City and Liverpool, ask (again) whether it’s time for Arsene to go, and break down two of the most important USMNT games in modern history.

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