Clint Dempsey to Seattle: $9 million fee, $8 million salary sees Deuce back to MLS

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All the money the Seattle Sounders have been banking with those huge CenturyLink Field attendances? They’ve paid off with one of the bigger transfer gets in Major League Soccer history, one that’s seen the club guarantee $41 million to bring U.S. international Clint Dempsey to Seattle.

Multiple sources within Major League Soccer have informed NBC Sports’ ProSoccerTalk that Tottenham Hotspur will receive a $9 million transfer fee for the U.S. captain’s services – roughly 95 percent of the £6 million Spurs reportedly paid for Dempsey last summer.  To complete the unexpected move, Seattle have guaranteed the 30-year-old attacker $32 million over the next four seasons, making him one of the most expensive players in league history.

Dempsey’s base salary will eclipse that of David Beckham and Thierry Henry, though other facets of Beckham’s contract gave him a percentage of the Galaxy’s revenue. The $32 million, however, is the largest base salary commitment a player has ever received from an MLS franchise.

The $9 million transfer fee will also be the highest paid in league history and the second major purchase made by the Sounders this summer. Seattle paid La Liga’s Levante $4 million to get striker Obafemi Martins out of his contract.

As a Designated Player, the former New England Revolution attacker will not have to go through the allocation process, to which internationals like Sounder Eddie Johnson and newly signed Chivas USA defender Carlos Bocanegra were subjected when they returned to MLS.

Dempsey was originally seen flying to Seattle last night, with rumors of Seattle’s connection to the U.S. international circulating Thursday morning. On Friday, ESPN originally reported Dempsey’s agreement with Seattle, with ProSoccerTalk confirming the story shortly there after.

Dempsey is set to return to the United States after six-and-a-half seasons in the Premier League, all but one of which were spent at Craven Cottage. During his time in England, Dempsey scored 72 time in 268 all-competition appearances, including a 23-goal season in 2011-12 with Fulham.

Tottenham Hotspur acquired the former Cottager on transfer deadline day last August, with Dempsey immediately moving into André Villas-Boas’ starting lineup. While his playing time decreased as the season progressed, Dempsey still scored 12 times in 43 all-competition appearances, his third-highest goal total since leaving New England in 2006.

He joins a Seattle Sounders team that sit seventh in the Western Conference, threatening to miss the postseason for the first time in franchise history. The addition of Dempsey, however, will bolster an attack that’s 14th in Major League Soccer in goals scored, one that already features fellow Johnson and Martins.

How Dempsey fits with those two strikers remains to be seen; however, Thursday on Seattle-based radio station KJR, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said the team was looking for a central or attacking midfielder to fill the Designated Player spot freed up by Shalrie Joseph’s renegotiated contract. Capable of playing in an attacking midfielder’s role, Dempsey could allow Schmid to incorporate his new star without sacrificing any of his existing goal scorers.

The halted World Cup flip-throw heard around the world (video)

AP Photo/Sergei Grits
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Milad Mohammadi knew the time was right for something special, but special isn’t always good.

And good is a subjective term. Cause to us this is very good, Milad.

The Iranian national team defender failed with a flip-throw bid in the final moments of a 1-0 loss to Spain on Wednesday at the World Cup in Russia.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

And this wasn’t like he illegally flipped or broke some other rule. No, like a kid trying an audacious jump into the deep end, Akhmat Grozny star Mohammadi just bailed and climbed in from the side (so to speak).

The kiss, the look skyward, the headbutt… all integral parts of a wonderful World Cup moment.

Renard, Morocco “very proud” of its unlucky national team

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If you would’ve told Morocco fans or their manager, Herve Renard, that they’d outshoot and outpossess both Iran and Portugal at World Cup, their next question would probably be, “So do we need to do against Spain to win Group B?”

Alas, Morocco lost a pair of 1-0 decisions to become the first team knocked out of the 2018 World Cup.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The Lions of Atlas fell to Iran in their opener on a stoppage time own goal after carrying 64 percent possession and a 13-8 advantage in shot attempts, then lost to a Cristiano Ronaldo fourth minute goal on Wednesday despite a 16-10 shot advantage and 53 percent of the ball.

“I’m very proud of the performance and I am very proud of my players, I’m very proud of this country,” Renard said.

With no hope of advancing to the next round, the manager is finding the experience bittersweet. From RTE:

“What I am sure of at this moment is that the entire Moroccan people is proud of this team. Of course it’s easier to play with a player who has one chance and he puts it away. But we are in Morocco.

“We have quality players. Despite the ups and downs of the game, we should have been more effective. Because, like in the first game, we had plenty of chances. I won’t blame anyone. That’s football. It’s always those who know how to be present in the box, the most gifted players, who make the difference. We took a lot of risks and we didn’t get our reward.”

It’s unlikely Morocco will hold either of those statistical advantages against Spain, especially a Spanish side yet to qualify, but there is plenty to like from the tournament aside from poor finishing quality.

But the performances of 19-year-olds Amine Harit (Schalke) and Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid) — not to mention Hakim Ziyech (25, Ajax) — seem to hint at a promise for 2022. And Renard’s men can still play spoiler for Spain, which is no small shockwave.

Queiroz: Iran has one “match point” left in World Cup group stage

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Iran manager Carlos Queiroz isn’t going to let his tournament be defined by one win or one loss, especially with a massive moment on the horizon.

Iran fell 1-0 to Spain on Wednesday, days after defeating Morocco in its World Cup opener. Team Melli was denied its equalizer despite VAR review thanks to an offside, and failed in several other bids to level the score.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Now Queiroz and his men need a win over Portugal to qualify for the first knockout stage in its five World Cup history.

“We showed that we were ready to suffer and ready to compete. I felt we deserved a better result. There’s no doubt Spain play wonderful, stylish football but I thought we deserved more for the way we played.

“But congratulations to Fernando Hierro and Spain. We will learn a lot from this game. If you think of it like tennis, we had one match point today and we will have another against Portugal. Everything is still open. We are still alive and still dreaming.”

What chance do you give Iran of getting over on Portugal, who only topped a dominant Morocco side via a terrific designed play executed to perfection by Cristiano Ronaldo?

The odds are in Portugal’s favor, if only for its experience in tight games on massive stages. Well, perhaps the better “if only” would be to say if only for Ronaldo. Either way…

Spain gets win after Iran sees equalizer ruled out

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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  • Spain goal: Costa (54′)
  • Iranian goal disallowed
  • Next: Spain-Morocco, Portugal-Iran

Iran had an equalizer taken away via Video Assistant Referee and Spain picked up its first win of the 2018 World Cup with a 1-0 win in Kazan on Wednesday.

Diego Costa scored Spain’s goal, as La Furia Roja joined Portugal atop Group B on four points. Iran has three, while eliminated Morocco has yet to get a result.

Team Melli lost their chance to sit atop the group when Saeid Ezatolahi rebound was ruled to have come after an offside touch from a teammate.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Spain certainly had its chances in the first half hour, capped off by an attempted overhead kick from David Silva.

Man City’s 32-year-old attacker had a great deal of chances in the contest, and would see a deflected rip bound wide of the goal during three minutes of first half stoppag time.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

After Gerard Pique missed an in-tight chance to start the second half, Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand made an outstanding punch save on Isco before punching away the rebound bid.

Iran found its first true chance of the match in the 53rd minute, with Karim Ansarifard lashing into a shot from 15 yards that tore into the outside of the goal.

It was moments later that Spain went ahead, Costa getting a goal when a clearance bounding off his shin and into the net.

Mehdi Taremi flicked a header wide of the goal, and Iran thought it had an equalizer through Saeid Ezatolahi only for VAR to step in and call offside on the previous Iranian to touch the ball.

It was off, but only just.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

Beiranvand was again on the scene for a 70th minute goal mouth scramble following a drawn-up corner kick by Spain.

Taremi pounded a header over the goal after a Vahid Amiri nutmeg of Pique led to a back post cross.