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MLS give update on Beckham’s Miami franchise

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So, it seems Major League Soccer to Miami with David Beckham is finally going to happen.

Beckham’s long and winding journey towards owning his own MLS franchise began in 2014 when there was an announcement in the City of Miami alongside Don Garber.

The former LA Galaxy star had exercised an option in his playing contract to own his own franchise and he wanted the team to be in Miami. Easy.

Not so much.

Since then many issues have arisen, mostly around a stadium deal downtown and then near Marlins Park in the Little Havana district of Miami.

It appears that headway is being made after a court ruling favored Beckham being able to buy the remaining three acres of land he needed to make the 25,000 stadium (costing him over $175 million) in Overtown a reality.

According to Dan Courtemanche (MLS’ executive vice president, communications) Beckham’s franchise will be officially announced in the coming months.

“We look forward to working with David, Todd Boehly [majority owner] and their partners to finalise their expansion plan. David and his partners have committed a significant amount of time and resources to put everything in place to bring Miami the elite-level soccer team and stadium it richly deserves. We expect to make an official announcement to launch a new Miami expansion club in the coming months,” Courtemanche told the BBC.

So, we’ve been here before many, many times, so what’s different this time?

Beckham has a stadium deal in place with land secured and the project in Overtown appears to be a near-perfect fit for an MLS team in Miami with a downtown location the aim all along.

The main delay over the past three years has been getting a stadium site for Beckham and Co. (the ownership group he has put together includes Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure, his agent Simon Fuller and sports executive Tim Leiweke) but they appear to be nearly there and Garber will feel vindicated for giving the former LA, Manchester United and Real Madrid star extra time to figure things out in a very complex sports town. (RIP, Miami Fusion).

With MLS aggressively expanding right now, Miami was in danger of being left behind.

But with LAFC launching in 2018, two more MLS expansion franchises set to be announced in the next month and Miami now looking likely, MLS will soon grow to 26 teams with another two teams expected to be announced before 2020 to reach the stated league target of 28.

Pinch yourself soccer fans in Miami. This appears to be happening.

FOLLOW LIVE, Gold Cup: USMNT closes out group v. Panama

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It’s a fully-changed starting XI for the U.S. Men’s National Team as it closes out the group stage against Panama at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

Omar Gonzalez and Matt Miazga start together in the backline, Jozy Altidore returns to the starting lineup up top, and Jordan Morris and Jonathan Lewis feature on the wings alongside Altidore. Ten of the 11 players now ply their trade in MLS, including the Gonzalez, who recently moved to Toronto FC.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT takes on Panama in Kansas City]

Hit the link above to follow along for the next two hours, and check back on PST for a full recap and in-depth analysis after the final whistle.

Must-See Goal: Wayne Rooney v. Orlando City

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I’m going to go out on a limb and say it. Wayne Rooney just scored the most amazing goal in Audi Field’s young history.

In the 10th minute of D.C. United’s match against Orlando City SC on Wednesday evening, Rooney noticed Orlando’s Brian Rowe straying way off his line. And so, with an audacious but accurate attempt, Rooney let fly from 65 yards and SCORED. Just check this goal out below.

[FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT v. Panama]

Rooney took advantage of a crazy bounce and with his literal first touch, unleashed a thunderbolt that Rowe couldn’t catch up to. It automatically becomes one of the top contenders for the MLS Goal of the Year, and should make it on every top ten countdown this evening and tomorrow.

Benfica: Atletico Madrid make $143 million bid for Felix

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The legend of Joao Felix appears to have reached full market value potential.

The 19-year-old Portuguese striker is coming off a breakout year for Benfica, and now the Portuguese giants have received an impressive $143 million offer from Atletico Madrid for Felix. The club confirmed the offer in a statement on its website, stating it was analyzing the deal. Felix has a $136.5 million release clause in his contract, but it appears the additional $7 million is in processing costs.

[READ: Kroos wants to retire at Real Madrid]

Felix was outstanding at Benfica last year, scoring 15 goals with seven assists in 26 league games and three goals and one assist in five Europa League game. Felix has already made his international debut for Portugal.

If confirmed, Felix would become the fifth-most expensive transfer in world history, and the second-most expensive transfer for a teenager behind Kylian Mbappe.

AFCON: Nigeria 1st team through to round of 16 at African Cup, joined by host Egypt

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CAIRO (AP) Former champion Nigeria became the first team to reach the last 16 at the African Cup of Nations after defender Kenneth Omeruo‘s second-half goal delivered a 1-0 win over Guinea on Wednesday.

The Nigerians were unimpressive in the first half in Alexandria but lifted their game in the second. Alex Iwobi‘s rasping shot was pushed away by Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone and Ahmed Musa almost set up Odion Ighalo on a counterattack.

The former Chelsea defender Omeruo did what the forwards had not been able to do when he beat Kone with a glancing header at the near post off Moses Simon’s corner in the 73rd minute.

Nigeria, which won the title in 2013, has two wins from two games in Group B. It beat Burundi 1-0 in its first match and now needs a draw from its last fixture against Madagascar to finish top and stay in Alexandria for the last 16.

There was more good news for Nigeria when Samuel Kalu came on as a substitute near the end. The midfield player collapsed at a training session the day before the first game, suffering from dehydration, and was hospitalized.

Coach Gernot Rohr rested captain John Obi Mikel against Guinea.

Elsewhere, Egypt also confirmed a place in the knockout stages with a 2-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ahmad Elmohamady and Mohamed Salah each scored in the first half to lead the Pharoahs to victory, the hosts second-straight win in the competition.

In the other match of the day, Uganda tied Zimbabwe, 1-1.