After Garber’s comments, will Beckham’s dream of MLS in Miami ever happen?

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David Beckham dressed in a crisp white suit, standing on a street near Miami’s South Beach, waving thousands of fans towards the stadium of his new Major League Soccer franchise.

That was the dream for Beckham and his Miami Beckham United (MBU) ownership group, but as the long search continues for a stadium site in and around Miami, it has now turned into a bit of a nightmare.

[ MORE: Chelsea’s new stadium plans ]  

It has now been almost two years since MLS announced a new franchise would be heading to MIA but in that time little to no progress has been made with regards to a stadium. After first being knocked back on a potential downtown waterfront site and then recently seeing a deal collapse to build a stadium next door to MLB’s Miami Marlins — we told you that was a long way from being confirmed a few months ago here at ProSoccerTalk — Beckham is in a sticky situation.

Appearing on CNBC on Tuesday, MLS commissioner Don Garber gave the following update on Beckham’s plans for a new stadium.

“It’s really real-time. They’re trying to solidify their site,” Garber said. “We’ll be meeeting with their ownership group if not in the next couple of days, certainly in the next few weeks to try to see if we can really put a stake in the ground and hopefully finalize having David Beckham and his partners be owners in our league, which we’re excited about.

“We need to finalize their stadium site and ensure it’s a proper location. Right now they don’t have that plan finalized. They will come to us and ask us possibly to approve a location as early as this weekend at our MLS board meeting in Columbus. If that should happen over the next few days, we could at least take one step closer toward finalizing our deal with him and hopefully having a team in Miami.”

So, not much of an update from Garber there which has been a reoccurring theme over the past 18 months whenever he’s been asked about any progress in South Florida. However, the “hopefully having a team in Miami” line certainly seems to suggest this franchise becoming a reality is not as cut and dry as it once seemed.

Beckham has had his franchise deadline extended on multiple occasions but in this MLS board meeting, it is believed that a firmer deadline will be handed to the former Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and England star. Throw in the fact that on Tuesday USL outfit Sacramento Republic released stunning plans for a new downtown stadium site and more pressure than ever appears to be mounting on Beckham to get this deal done.

[ MORE: Neville brothers take charge of Spanish giants Valencia ]

What are the options, stadium wise, for Beckham and his consortium which is backed by Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure? Well, not many. Having a temporary home at Florida International University, 16 miles west of downtown, seems like the most viable short-term option. That would at least allow MBU time to scope out other areas and although Garber and league officials seem insistent that a stadium deal has to be put in place before they finalize MLS heading back to Miami for the first time since 2001, the commissioner has put himself in a tough spot after allowing New York City FC to play in a temporary home at Yankee Stadium during their inaugural season in 2015, with no real plans coming forthcoming for a permanent home.

Beckham's plans for an MLS stadium in downtown Miami had to be shelved.
Beckham’s plans for an MLS stadium in downtown Miami had to be shelved.

Speaking to owners and CEO’s around MLS recently, it is clear they want “brand Beckham” in the league and it would be a great thing to have a successful franchise in Miami, one of the USA’s biggest media markets. However, it comes to a point where enough is enough and either MLS changes its stance on the stadium deal having to be in place, or they simply have to cut ties with Beckham and let him either move on to another city or can the idea of him owning a franchise altogether.

Time is certainly ticking for Beckham and with Sacramento and other North American cities pushing hard to try and join the MLS party, there’s only so much leeway that can be given to the legendary figure.

Serie A roundup: Inter win Derby della Madonnina, Juventus edge Verona (video)

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Inter Milan’s rampant run and Juventus’ win headline Saturday’s Serie A action.

AC Milan 0-2 Inter Milan

The stats books following this season’s first Derby della Madonnina make two things very clear: at the moment, Inter are the best team in Milan and in Serie A.

With four consecutive victories to start the season, Antonio Conte and Co. lead Italy’s top-flight by two points.

 

After nearly being up two goals in the first half, Inter broke deadlock in the 49th minute. From a orchestrated set-piece play, marcelo Brozovic’s strike skimmed the heels of Rafael Leão, deflecting the ball past Gianluigi Donnarumma, and into the back of the net. An offside call was reviewed through VAR, but the goal stood.

In the 78th minute, a short, lofted cross from Nicolò Barella found Romelu Lukaku, who headed the ball into the far post. The Belgian, who arrived from Manchester United during the summer, has scored three goals in four league games.

Dominating time with the ball didn’t do much for AC Milan, whose clearest chance came late in the second half when Theo Hernández’s strike inside the box hit the bar.

Yet to taste a draw or defeat, Inter marches on as they host Lazio next, while AC Milan travel to Turin to take on Torino.

Juventus 2-1 Hellas Verona

In a game that could have gone either way, Juventus, with its star-studded team and all, walked away with three points against 10-man Hellas Verona.

Aaron Ramsey, who made a shock switch to the Old Lady in July following an 11-year spell with Arsenal, scored his first Serie A goal. From distance, in the 31st minute, the 29-year-old’s shot deflected Verona’s Koray Gunter, beating Marco Silvestri and into the goal.
Ramsey’s goal, however, only leveled the score.
Following a missed penalty and second chance, Miguel Veloso scored what can be the goal of the week: a first-time, left-footed volley into the top corner of Gianluigi Buffon’s goal. Verona, who had a couple of clear chances in the second half, were unable to get past Buffon again.
With three points desperately needed to keep pace with Inter Milan, Cristiano Ronaldo came to the rescue. The Portuguese converted from the sport – his first of the season – following a solo run from Juan Cuadrado.

With positive momentum behind them, second-place Juventus travels to Brescia next, while Hellas Verona receive a lackluster Udinese side.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Cagilari 3-1 Genoa

Udinese 0-1 Brescia

VIDEO: Kei Kamara scores superb bicycle kick goal against Sporting KC

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Kei Kamara has scored plenty of goals at Children’s Mercy Park, but none like his bicycle kick goal on Saturday.

The 35-year-old, now in his 16th season, showcased his penchant for scoring right before halftime against his former team. The goal makes 12 for the Colorado Rapids’ forward this season, placing him within the top 10 of the league and two begin his 14-goal season last year.

Overall, Kamara is fifth in the all-time MLS scoring list with 124 goals, second among active players behind San Jose Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski.

Enjoy a superb goal from a superb goalscoerer.

La Liga Roundup: Messi, Barcelona stunned by inspired Granada (video)

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Granada’s shocking 2-0 win over Barcelona and subsequent rise to the top of the table headlines Saturday’s La Liga action.

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Granada 2-0 Barcelona

Not even Lionel Messi, who made his season debut on Saturday, was able to save Barcelona against a red-hot Granada.

Granada, who are off to their best start in their 88 years of existence, had a perfect night in front of their supporters, convincingly getting past a Barcelona that dominated possession, but lacked the offensive ingenuity needed to score.

Barcelona’s defense wasn’t noteworthily robust, either.

Two minutes in, the newly promoted side scored through a headed goal from Ramon Azeez, following a defensive turnover from Junior Firpo.

Unable to record a shot on target in the first half and looking to wakeup a dormant attack, Barcelona brought on wonderkid Ansu Fati and Lionel Messi at halftime. Despite the duo connecting on several occasion and generating a shot on target, it wasn’t enough to get past Rui Silva.

In the 66th minute, following video review, substitute Alvaro Badillo converted from the spot, handing Granada their third win of the season.

Atop of La Liga, Granada set their sights on Real Valladolid, while Barcelona, who are off to their worst league start in 25 years, host Villarreal at Camp Nou.

Atletico Madrid  0-0 Celta Vigo

For a second consecutive week, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid dropped points, drawing with Celta Vigo 0-0 at Wanda Metropolitano.

Tied with league leaders Granada and Sevilla with 10 points, the alarm bells are far from going off in Madrid. However, as Saturday’s performance showed, los Colchoneros are having trouble finishing chances this season, despite fielding an attack with the likes of Joao Felix, Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata.

In five games, Atletico have managed to score only five goals, six fewer than leaders Granada. Against Celta, Atletico registered 20 shots, five on target, but were unable to crack a stellar Ruben Blanco, who registered five saves.

Leveled with Granada and Sevilla, Atletico Madrid look to get back into winning ways as they take on RCD Mallorca. Elsewhere, Celta Vigo, who have won win after five games, host Espanyol next.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Villarreal 2-0 Real Valladolid

Levante 0-0 Eibar

Almeyda, Wondolowski sent off in Quakes’ fall against Atlanta (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): Melodrama took center stage in Atlanta United’s 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, as Matias Almeyda, Chris Wondolowski and Cristian Espinoza were all sent off on Saturday. Josef Martinez, six games away from tying Lionel Messi’s world record for most consecutive goals, left the field in 79th minute following an injury, ending his MLS-record run at 15 games. Playing with 10 players from the 34th minute onwards, the Quakes held on to the draw up until the 90th minute. Unmarked inside the box, Emerson Hyndman rocketed the ball past Daniel Vega, who recorded nine saves throughout the night. In stoppage time, Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez was rewarded for his stellar performance with a goal of his own. With a game at hand, Eastern Conference leaders, NYCFC, are three points ahead Frank De Boer‘s side. The Quakes, on the other hand, have internal fires to put out as they have lost six of their last eight, and are only a point above the red line with three games to play.

Three moments that mattered

27′ — Great run by Espinoza, greater ball by Vega  — Daniel Vega and Cristian Espinoza were players that San Jose were desperately missing last season. This sequence says it all.

 

90′ — Emerson Hyndman wins it for the Five Stripes   — Hyndman, with no one near him, seals three points for the home side.

 

90′ + 2 — Martinez takes advantage of broken San Jose  — Martinez’s goal was only salt in San Jose’s fresh wound.

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Man of the match: Gonzalo “Pity”  Martinez

Goalscorers: Meram (4′), Guzan (27′ – OG), Hyndman (90′), Martinez (90′ + 2)