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Beckham’s MLS stadium in Miami hits another snag

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David Beckham’s Major League Soccer franchise in Miami was officially announced last month in a glitzy ceremony in MIA, but there are still a few loose ends to tie up on the stadium deal in Overtown.

The search for land for a 25,000 capacity stadium almost ended Beckham’s dream to own an MLS franchise, along with other investors, but land in Overtown (less than 2 miles from downtown Miami) has now been purchased and everything looked to be moving ahead smoothly ahead of a 2020 entry in MLS.

Think again.

A report from the Miami Herald states that an appeal has been filed against Beckham and the land his ownership group purchased from Miami-Dade County.

More from the Herald below, as wealthy activist Bruce Matheson has appealed the decision to endorse the deal for three acres of county owned land Beckham’s group bought for $9 million as he offered to pay more for the same parcel of land.

“In granting David Beckham and partners a no-bid deal to pay $9 million for three acres of government land for a soccer stadium, Miami-Dade County gave the venture “a secret discount from the taxpayers” by avoiding the chance for better offers, lawyers fighting the proposed Overtown complex said in court papers filed late Monday…

“In 2017, Miami-Dade commissioners agreed to sell the Beckham partnership the three-acre county truck depot for $9 million without seeking other offers, citing the state’s economic-development law to justify the no-bid arrangement. A judge endorsed the deal in an October ruling, but Matheson appealed…

“The county requires developers in exclusive negotiations to pay market rate for government property and to agree to a package of hiring requirements and other benefits to local businesses and residents. The Beckham group agreed to create 50 permanent jobs at its stadium in exchange for the no-bid purchase.”

Here we go again…

Beckham’s bid hasn’t gone smoothly since the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy midfielder announced his intentions to host his cut-price MLS expansion side — as part of his playing contract with LA back in 2007 he was allowed to purchase an MLS franchise for $25 million upon retirement from the game. The current expansion fee is over $150 million — in Miami in 2014.

Several stadium sites have come and gone since then and at the event last month to unveil the franchise, Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure revealed he and Beckham were ready to throw in the towel after years of searching unsuccessfully for a stadium site in Miami.

Then local construction magnates Jorge and Jose Mas stepped in to join the ownership group and help finalize the bid last November, with the expansion franchise officially awarded earlier this month.

How serious is this? It seems to be no more than a slight speed bump which could delay the final deal as Beckham’s group have until June to close on the county land.

Beckham has stuck to his plans to house an MLS franchise in Miami up until now and is unlikely this legal appeal will see him pull out with a senior adviser to Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez quoted by the Herald as saying the deal was a “transparent process based on solid legal grounds.”

That said, Matheson previously fought plans to expand the Miami Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne and won, with the tournament since moving to Miami Gardens, so Beckham and Co. will be wary.

Nothing to separate Portland and 10-man LAFC

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There was entertainment value in Los Angeles FC’s potential playoff preview with the Portland Timbers on Sunday in the City of Angels, but all that arrived was a scoreless draw.

[ MORE: Atlanta 1-1 Seattle ]

Both Giovani Savarese’s Timbers and Bob Bradley‘s nickname-free expansion club remain in the West’s Top Four. PLAFC remains unbeaten at home during their maiden voyage through Major League Soccer.

Adama Diomande came close for the hosts, who finished with 10-men when Lee Nguyen went studs-up on Sebastian Blanco‘s thigh for a pretty easy red card (though it took some time for Silviu Petrescu to produce the red).

VIDEO: France stars projected onto Arc de Triomphe

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If France’s players had any doubt about the level of import their World Cup title had back home, it was erased when their photos were projected onto one of the most celebrated monuments in the world.

The photos of Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, and company made their way onto the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, hours after France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup Final.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The Arc de Triomphe honors those who died in the French Revolution and early 19th century wars, and sits above France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

How humbling must it be for those players to grace such a heavy monument (both in weight and substance).

Dalic: In one day, Croatia went from lucky to unlucky

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Ante Cacic’s Croatia was on pace to miss out on the World Cup.

Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia rallied the troops to second place in their qualifying group, a playoff defeat of Greece, and a run to the World Cup Final.

Pretty decent stuff.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

And surely the 51-year-old will reflect on that, probably even this evening, but he’s more focused on a letdown after Sunday’s 4-2 loss to highly-favored France.

Key to the match was a penalty awarded to France when a partially-obscured Mario Mandzukic handled a ball inside the 18, leading to Antoine Griezmann’s pivotal goal.

The PK was awarded via VAR, and France went up 2-1 en route to a three-goal lead. From the AFP:

“I never comment on referees but in a World Cup final you do not give such a penalty,” said Dalic.

“It in no way diminishes France’s win. We were a bit unlucky. Maybe in the first six games we were favored by luck and today we weren’t.

“I have to congratulate my players. Maybe today we played our best game at these championships. Against such a strong side as France you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we must also be proud of what we’ve done.”

Croatia had two-thirds of the ball and doubled France’s shot attempts, and Dalic isn’t the least bit controversial in wondering whether the match is much different if that penalty goes unawarded by referee Nestor Pitana.

Atlanta comes back to draw 10-man Seattle (video)

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A scrappy if not downright venomous affair between the lowly Seattle Sounders and high-flying Atlanta United ended in a 1-1 draw in Georgia on Sunday.

The Sounders went ahead through a Nicolas Lodeiro penalty kick, awarded via VAR a la this morning’s World Cup Final, but Atlanta leveled the score with a highlight which show every bit of the game story.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Just check Josef Martinez’s barking at Stefan Frei, who made an uncharacteristic error on the play, after his 19th goal of the season (Nice cross, Julian Gressel).

Martinez needs nine more goals to break the MLS single season record, and he has 13 games to score them.

Jordan McCrary was sent off for Seattle in the 63rd minute for a second yellow, but Seattle navigated the final half hour or so to scoop up an unlikely point.

Atlanta still sits first with its earned point but opens the door for New York City FC to reach the top of the table when it plays its match-in-hand, while Seattle is now 11 points back of the West’s final playoff spot.