All-Star week epitomizes duality of MLS’s Beckham arrangement


CHESTER, Pa. – It was another chance to grab the headlines. Of course, David Beckham stepped up. His long diagonal for Dwayne De Rosario set up Chris Pontius’s second half equalizer, his teammates finally making good on a ball he’d been providing all night. MLS’s all-stars went on to defeat Chelsea, ending a three-match losing streak, with Beckham playing an integral part.

(MORE: Cleaning out the notebook on MLS All-Star matters)

Just as he seemed to do when Fabio Capello called him into the national team, just like he did when he went on loan with AC Milan, and just like he did in last November’s MLS Cup final, David Beckham rose to the level of his competition. His 55 completed passes were 16 more than any of his teammates. Part of that was due to playing time. Most of it was do to his Pirlo-esque role in Ben Olsen’s team. Starting on the right side of midfield, Beckham would drop into a sitter’s role in MLS’s attacking phase, regularly hitting passes into the spaces around Branislav Ivavonic (Chelsea’s right back) and Gary Cahill (right-center half). With Chelsea rekindling their end-of-season ways, laying back and ceding the battle for the ball, Beckham was able to test Chelsea’s defense whenever he wanted. Marko Marin, Yossi Benayoun and Florent Malouda seemed content to let the legend shine.

That’s why it’s hard to give Beckham too much credit. In MLS, most teams have learned they can’t give him that kind of time on the ball. That’s what made his recent double in Portland was so remarkable. How could the Timbers forget about Beckham? With two long distance first half goals, Beckham reminded them, and while he didn’t quite replicate that performance against Chelsea, the Blues still left PPL Park reminded how good Beckham can still be.

In the days leading up to Wednesday’s game, much of MLS had forgotten about Beckham, if only temporarily. With the Summer Olympics starting in England, Beckham (who served as a spokesperson throughout the nation’s bidding process) had been back in London. Amid speculation about what role Beckham will play in Friday’s opening ceremonies came questions about whether he’d play any role in Chester. When Beckham didn’t make an appearance during Tuesday’s festivities, the speculation became more explicit: Would Beckham just stay in England for Wednesday’s game? Come Tuesday evening, MLS was assuring partners the league’s marquee player would play.

With Beckham rising to the occasion late in Wednesday’s match (remarkably so, given his lack of training), the All-Star Game became a metaphor for league’s entire Beckham experience. For all the worries about his commitment to his North American mission, Beckham was there when it counted, even if it meant dropping in at the last minute (and getting out as soon as possible). Around the world, he was the game’s marquee name, still outshining those from his European title-winning opponents. If the point of signing and re-signing Beckham was an international credibility play, the acquisition’s been an amazing success. Every time Chelsea players were asked about soccer in the States, the first thing they mentioned was David Beckham.

But Beckham’s has always been a complicated picture. In this part of the world there’s the expectation that the person getting the glory should also be willing to do the dirty work. Beckham’s had good reasons for his Galaxy sojourns – unexpected opportunities in Italy, a second life with England, a once-in-a-lifetime role helping to confirm his country’s Olympic dream – but they’ll never sit well over here. Our sports culture has never had to reconcile such conflicts, and it was unlikely to grant its first exception to somebody from England coming over to play soccer.

On Wednesday he was one of a number of MLS stars. He’s far more limited than the player that initially came to the United States, but he’s still capable of stealing the spotlight when the curtain goes up. Beckham always turns up for a show.

The problems come off stage: the absenteeism, preferential treatment, and general uncertainty. Where will David be today? On Monday and Tuesday, as the event was building to Wednesday’s climax, Beckham was nowhere to be found. He had a good reason, and he came and performed when it mattered, but his teammates were there all week. He wasn’t. His teammates had to face the media, go to the events – to be in Philadelphia. Beckham had another reason to temporarily withdraw.

In my ideal world, this would be a non-issue, but attitudes aren’t going to change overnight. Beckham is the first player that’s challenged our notion of where team commitment fits into the bigger picture. After his first loan spell at Milan, attitudes started to change regarding players spending their offseasons playing for other teams.

You don’t have these debates in football, baseball, or basketball. This is an issue the world’s bringing to us.

Manchester City vs Inter Milan: How to watch Champions League Final live, updates, score


Manchester City is on the chase for a historic treble and standing in the way is Inter Milan, one of Europe’s precious few clubs to claim such an honor.

[ LIVE: Manchester City vs Inter Milan ]

The Premier League winners three times running have an FA Cup under their belt after beating Manchester United on June 3 and the final jewel in their treble crown awaits with a win in Istanbul on June 10.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Pep Guardiola could lead a second club to a treble after he did it with Barcelona in 2008-09, and they would give heated rivals United domestic company on the treble stage right down the road.

Guardiola says it’s now okay to talk about the treble. We agree, and we’ve laid out why the achievement is so special after the jump.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Manchester City vs Inter Milan.

How to watch Manchester City vs Inter Milan live, stream link and start time

Dates: 3pm ET June 10, 2023
Online: Live updates via
How to watch: TUDN, Paramount+

What Premier League clubs have won the treble?

Manchester United won the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League in 1998-99.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils are the lone Premier League club to win it.

That’s it. For now.

How many times has the treble been won?

Nine times in history has a team won its domestic league, top domestic cup, and the European Cup.

Bayern Munich and Barcelona have each done it twice, with Bayern doing it in 2012-13 and 2019-20 and Barca pulling it off in 2008-09 and 2014-15.

Celtic was the first to win a treble, doing it in 1966-67, while Ajax was the next in 1971-72.

PSV Eindhoven then won it in 1987-88 before Man United made it happen 11 years later. Inter Milan is the only Italian team to pull it off, winning in 2009-10.


Champions League Final odds (Betting odds provided by our partner, BetMGM )

BetMGM is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on BetMGM for the first time after clicking our links. 

Man City (-250) vs Inter Milan (+625) | Draw over 120 mins (+380)

Over 2.5 goals (-160). Under 2.5 goals (+110)

Champions League Final predictions

Joe Prince-Wright: Man City 2-1 Inter Milan
Andy Edwards: Man City 3-1 Inter Milan
Nick Mendola: Man City 2-0 Inter Milan

Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: None

Inter Milan team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Dalbert.

UEFA Champions League Final: Key battles for Inter Milan vs Manchester City


Manchester City’s quest for the treble hits its final obstacle when Inter Milan goes toe-to-toe with the Premier League and FA Cup champions in Istanbul at Saturday’s UEFA Champions League Final.

Pep Guardiola’s weren’t at their very best against Manchester United in the FA Cup Final and still walked away with its second trophy of the season.

But City’s final two Premier League matches saw dropped points. The stakes were non-existent and the team quite changed by Guardiola, who’s known to fancy a tactical wrinkle. How will things change this weekend?

[ MORE: Man City vs Inter Milan preview, watch info ]

It would be stunning if Inter boss Simone Inzaghi came out in anything but a 3-5-2, which has been his go-to formation for Inter Milan this season regardless of opponent.

But might Inzaghi have something up his sleeve?

Inter’s only losses in the Champions League came in the group stage versus Bayern Munich. Add in their setbacks in Serie A and there’s still been no standard recipe for beating Inter. There isn’t one for Man City, either, of course.

Kevin De Bruyne vs Marcelo Brozovic

If there’s a single player capable of messing with Pep Guardiola’s plan to control the game and get the ball to his creators in dangerous spots, it’s Croatian veteran Marcelo Brozovic. The 30-year-old is a force who can both be the club’s metronome and break up the opposition’s best attacks. There are few players in the world like De Bruyne, but he needs to be found in space and City needs the ball to do that. Brozovic can be a big part of limiting both of those things.

Erling Haaland vs Francesco Acerbi

Maybe the two names need to be switched in order, because Acerbi is going to have his hands full with Haaland. The question is whether the 35-year-old Acerbi, still very good but no longer in his prime, can use his nous and vast experience to limit Haaland’s chances to do the exceptional. Haaland, meanwhile, just has to be himself. Ask yourself who’s being asked more.

Andre Onana vs Man City’s attack

Picking one player, even Haaland or De Bruyne, for this battle is unfair to the exercise because let’s be real. There is no chance that Inter Milan wins this game without a supreme moment or two from its goalkeeper. Andre Onana has played every Champions League match for Inter and has had his fair share of outstanding performances. He’s outperformed expected goals on target by 6.7 goals over the course of the tournament.

UEFA Champions League odds, predictions for Inter Milan vs Manchester City


Erling Haaland to score a goal at -165? Man City to win at -200?

Yep, Manchester City are the clear favorites to win the 2023 UEFA Champions League Final in Istanbul on Saturday, and the oddsmakers are daring prognosticators to select Inter Milan as treble-ruining upstarts.

In fact, Haaland’s odds to bag a brace, at +350, are better than most players’ odds of scoring at all, with the Norwegian forward’s running mates all around him.

[ MORE UCL FINAL: How to watch | Key battles ]

The only Inter Milan player inside the top ten best odds to score on Saturday is Lautaro Martinez, with “no goal scorer” appearing before the next Inter player’s name arrives on the list (Romelu Lukaku).

How about a correct score? The most likely outcomes are, in order according to BetMGM, 1-0 Man City, 2-0 Man City, and 1-1 after 120 minutes.

And if Inter wins, the odds suggest that 1-0 is the likeliest finish (although 0-0 has better odds).

Champions League Final odds

(One of our betting partners is BetMGMBetMGM is one of our Official Sports Betting Partners and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on BetMGM for the first time after clicking our links.

Inter Milan (+500) vs Man City (-200) | Draw (+333)

Over/under: Over 3.5 goals (+200). Under 3.5 goals (-275)

Man City to lift the trophy (-450)

Inter to lift the trophy (+275)

Both teams to score (-110)

Champions League Final predictions

Inter Milan is going to surprise many with its quality of play and may even get on the board, but it’s difficult to predict anything but a Manchester City win, isn’t it? Let’s call it a fitting three goals for the treble winners, with Inter nabbing one to keep it interesting in Istanbul.

How many times has a team won the treble? Man City goes for history


There’s been a lot of treble talk these days, talk that’s found a new level of buzz since Manchester City moved within one win of joining the club.

It’s an elite club, by the way, of teams that have won their domestic league, top domestic cup, and the European Cup.

Nine times in history has a team won the treble, and only once has it been done by a Premier League club.

[ MORE: Recalling Zlatan’s “unicorn” career ]

That’s why Man City’s defeat of Manchester United earlier this month in the FA Cup Final rings so true for the Citizens; The blue side of Manchester would join the red side as treble supporters, as United won the treble in 1998-99.

Man City goes for the third jewel of its treble crown on Saturday versus Inter Milan in Istanbul when it kicks off the UEFA Champions League Final.

For more treble trivia, head below the jump.

How many times has the treble been won?

Bayern Munich and Barcelona have each done it twice, with Bayern doing it in 2012-13 and 2019-20 and Barca pulling it off in 2008-09 and 2014-15.

Celtic was the first to win a treble, doing it in 1966-67, while Ajax was the next in 1971-72.

PSV Eindhoven then won it in 1987-88 before Man United made it happen 11 years later. Inter Milan is the only Italian team to pull it off, winning in 2009-10.