Those “Stop the Presses!” headlines from Monday night are only a starting point. David Beckham splitting amicably with the Galaxy after six strong seasons (mostly strong on the field, always a fearsome force in wow-wow factor) is hardly the checkered flag at the finish line.
There are tons of tentacles branching out on this one, so let’s look at where the story will travel from here:
- Beckham’s next stop is foremost in the unfolding tale. Early pundit leanings seemed to focus on the significance of Beckham saying he is leaving the Galaxy, rather than leaving MLS. So came the early momentum behind a “Beckham to the Red Bulls” rumor. Pure guesswork at this point, but there it is.
- If not here, where? Assuming Beckham does feel like a man with few more kicks left in his shiny boots … Japan? Australia? Russia? Those would all qualify as “new frontiers” for Brand Beckham and his strategic deciders at Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment.
(MORE: Will the man’s next playing spell be “short term?”)
- What’s up with this seemingly less-than-ideal timing? Beckham and 19 Entertainment just made the 17th MLS Cup all about him, intentionally or not. As PST colleague Richard Farley noted yesterday on Twitter, MLS Cup 2011 was all about Beckham, would he stay or would he go (following that initial five-year monster deal)? He signed a new two-year agreement shortly thereafter, so we seemed to dwell happily in a Beckham Drama-free zone for ’12. Guess not. Alas, another year of much media eulogizing of Becks’ days in MLS. (Hey! No cutting and pasting, boys and girls.)
- So there’s lots of ground to cover on the timing. For instance, would anyone at league level have preferred Beckham make this announcement on Dec. 2, on the morning after MLS Cup? And would the Galaxy’s competitive pursuits be better off without the distraction of more Beckham brouhaha?
(MORE: Beckham closing his days in L.A.)
- Or is it possible that MLS Cup, for the first time on a Saturday night, needed this extra shot of media whiskey to jazz up a final that’s exactly the same as last year’s? (Same teams, same venue.)
- The other big thread in this huge ball of Beckham yarn: What’s next for the Galaxy? The Frank Lampard talk has languished in media speculation land for some time, aided by the Chelsea man’s appearance last summer in sunny So Cal. Or is Didier Drogba willing to trade his Chinese currency for a few American dollars? Either way, given the AEG ownership group’s penchant for the splashy-dashy, you know a big name is out there.
- Can the next man into the “Beckham hole” be a needle mover the way he was? Short answer is “no way.” Beckham was peerless in his collective marketing muscle. But that won’t stop us all from exploring the question.
- Now there’s a chance that L.A. Galaxy 2013 will look remarkably different. Not only will Bruce Arena’s side be one former England captain short, it could well be without Landon Donovan, too. Let’s discuss, shall we?
- You just know Houston manager Dominic Kinnear is loving all this intense focus on the Galaxy – the better for his team, champions of easy-going humility anyway, to prep for a Dec. 1 ambush.
- And what of Beckham’s MLS ownership ambition? Beckham seems keen (to use a word from his native vernacular) on exercising that unique option of buying into an MLS team at below-market rate. Grant Wahl from SI.com has reported that discount figure at $25 million, which would be a dandy bargain considering that Montreal just bought in at $40 million. The exception clause is New York’s second franchise, apparently, which MLS commissioner Don Garber has valued at closer to $100 million. Sorry, ‘bout that, Becks.
(MORE: Beckham talk dominates our PST Daily Re-set)
The struggling New York Red Bulls got a major let-off Wednesday with the news that Kaku would only be suspended two more matches for blasting a ball into a group of fans.
It’s a total of three matches away from the Red Bulls after the incident, which occurred against Sporting KC on April 14.
[ MORE: Manchester Derby recap ]
Someone must have convinced the league that Kaku’s intent was to smash the ball into the advertising boards and not the fans, and injuring a spectator certainly could’ve carried a much longer suspension than three matches.
Kaku already missed a match against New England and will sit out matches against FC Cincinnati and the LA Galaxy.
The 24-year-old midfielder, thrice capped by Paraguay, has seven goals and 14 assists during little more than a season with RBNY. The Red Bulls have started the season 1W-4L-2T.
Manchester United has spent a lot of money on players, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the talent on show at Old Trafford is nothing compared to rivals Manchester City.
What else could he say after his rivals outclassed him 2-0 on Wednesday, a club which wasn’t even in the same league — physically and metaphorically — for half of his tenure as a player for Manchester United?
[ MORE: Manchester Derby recap | 4 things ]
“They had too much for us,” Solskjaer said after the loss. “They are the best team in the country, they have set the standard in the last two seasons and I don’t know how many points they’ve taken. What Pep Guardiola has done with his players is remarkable and we are so close to it in the vicinity so we feel it every day.”
This was a different loss than the lackluster 4-0 blowout at the hands of Everton on Sunday, as United definitely worked hard but had little to offer in attack aside from a few choice Paul Pogba long balls and some wayward finishing from an industrious Jesse Lingard.
“There is a difference in quality,” Solskjaer said in another interview. “That is why they are top and we are where we are. Living in Manchester we cannot be happy with that. It is up to us to close that gap and overtake them.”
[ MORE: Pep reacts | Sane with NBCSN crew ]
We bet every one those words felt like broken glass climbing out of Solskjaer’s throat.
It’s going to take a squad revolution and then time to settle into a new reality. United is probably at least another full season from contending with City, even given last season’s runner-up finish.
And that has to be weird for a manager who was used to seeing the noisy neighbors stationed in the Championship. Solskjaer knows he has a lot of work to do at Old Trafford. Will his bosses let him do it?
Leroy Sane added a second 10-goal season to his Premier League resume on Wednesday when Man City beat Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford.
That he did so in about 650 less minutes says something about his growth and patience as Pep Guardiola has opted to focus on other options in attack.
[ MORE: Manchester Derby recap | 4 things ]
“The mood is obviously you want to play every game but in this squad it’s sometimes normal that you can sit on the bench,” Sane said in a post-match pitch-side talk with the NBCSN crew.
“It’s why I’m not really disappointed. I think in my own head to work harder and stay focused. On the pitch there are really good players playing good. I appreciate it, I enjoy it, and I can learn from this.”
Arlo White asked Sterling whether he believes City are the favorites to win the Premier League title. Liverpool is a point behind City, but has two of its three remaining matches at home compared to City’s one.
“It’s hard to say,” Sane said. “There’s a lot of pressure from Liverpool, but we stay focused on game to game. We have it in our own hands, so just stay focused, and try to win the last three games.”
Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are officially over their UEFA Champions League exit, and now salivating at the idea of defending their Premier League crown following a 2-0 defeat of Manchester United on Wednesday.
And the manager is now demanding that his players get laser-focused on the game-by-game.
[ MORE: Recap | 3, er, 4 things ]
“I told the players don’t read tomorrow, don’t watch the television, just rest and sleep a lot and go in there against Burnley,” Guardiola said.
The Man City boss says the side’s early second half changes, taking off Fernandinho to move in Leroy Sane and slot Ilkay Gundogan a bit deeper made the difference from 0-0 to 2-0.
“We knew without Romelu Lukaku they would try more runs in behind,” he said. “The chances we lost came from us losing simple balls in the middle and we changed things in the second half, with Ilkay Gundogan in the middle and with Leroy Sane on we were more dynamic.”
And Guardiola tried to find the words to explain how either Man City or Liverpool will walk away from this season at second place in the league despite being two of the greatest sides ever produced by England.
“Both teams deserve the title, but it can be just one,” Guardiola said. “The team that is going to lose cannot have regrets because they have given everything. Normally with this kind of victory you can it enjoy it the most but now we have to be calm. We have to be in the right phase.”