Kick Off: Has David Beckham exercised MLS expansion option? Report says stadium is final hurdle
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. YOU CAN'T MAKE AN OMELET...
This week looks prime for some sort of announcement or update regarding David Beckham’s potential MLS franchise in Miami, and The Miami Herald has a breakdown of what Beckham’s schedule will involve. Let’s all hope, whatever Beckham does, it’s a lot less messy than his weekend appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
2. A WINNING START
The US national team beat South Korea 2-0 on Saturday (watch highlights here) as the January training camp came to a close. Two goals from Chris Wondolowski were the difference for the US and Wondo is content to let his work do the talking. Michael Parkhurst also made a good case for himself at left back, but how did the rest of the team measure up? Overall, Jurgen Klinsmann felt the January training camp accomplished its goals.
3. THE DOOR IS OPEN
Sadly, Mike Magee didn’t play any part in Saturday’s game as he was ruled out because of food poisoning, it means the wait for a first US cap continues for the reigning MLS MVP but, speaking before he got ill, Magee was still pleased with his performance in camp. Klinsmann also had some reassuring words for the Chicago Fire front man.
4. COACH DONOVAN
While Clint Dempsey spent most of Saturday on the bench at Fulham, Landon Donovan was reasserting himself as captain of the US national team and it’s a role that Donovan seems keen to take on again this summer. Looking even further down the line, though, would Donovan make a great coach one day?
5. CALIFORNIA CALLING
More details seem to be emerging about the USMNT’s pre-World Cup training camp plans. According to reports, the US will be based in California once again, while rumored matches include a tuneup at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey and a game in Jacksonville, Fla., with Nigeria lined up as opposition for one of those games. While the San Jose Earthquakes' new stadium won’t be ready in time for the summer, the team from Northern California is keen to bring a USMNT match to its market as soon as possible.
6. PRICING PAPPA
Marco Pappa is officially on his way back to MLS, with the two-time All-Star joining the Seattle Sounders via the allocation process. The Chicago Fire had been strongly linked with a move for him, but they were unwilling to meet the Sounders' valuation of the player, which raises an interesting question. How do teams assign value to players?
7. ONE FOR THE FUTURE
There has been a lot of young American talent stolen away by Liga MX recently, but could we finally see that go the other way? According to reports, 20-year-old midfielder Benji Joya has a MLS contract lined up on the condition that teams express an interest in signing the player, at which point there would then be a lottery to determine his destination. Joya currently plays a limited role for Santos Laguna, but he was an integral part of Tab Ramos’ U-20 squad at last summer’s World Cup. However, he didn’t make ESPNFC.com’s list of players to watch for 2018.
8. SELF IMPROVEMENT
The Philadelphia Union took Goalkeeper Andre Blake with the No. 1 selection in the MLS SuperDraft. How does Zac MacMath, the Union’s current first choice, feel about the selection? It isn’t the first time the club has brought in a new 'keeper, but according to MacMath, that’s not a bad thing: “Anytime there is competition it pushes people to be better.” In other Union news, it seems the club has quickly found a new assistant coach.
9. LEWIS LIKES VANCOUVER
There is still plenty of confusion over Andre Lewis’ future, what with the young midfielder being drafted by the Vancouver Whitecaps while having already signed for the New York Cosmos. From the player's side at least, it seems like he’s perfectly happy in Vancouver: “I was excited from the day I got drafted. … I love it already.”
10. ON THE OFFENSIVE
Frank Yallop added another element to his staff on Friday with the news that former US national team forward Clint Mathis would be joining the Chicago Fire as an assistant coach. Speaking about the appointment, Yallop made the point that the group didn't have any staff members with an attacking background. How does Mathis’ appointment round out Yallop's staff?
11. BUILDING MORE THAN BRIDGES
The Columbus Crew recently announced a USL PRO affiliation with the Dayton Dutch Lions, but what does that mean for both clubs? According to the Crew’s director of soccer operations Asher Mendelsohn, it's all about giving the bottom half of the roster meaningful games. But there are also other potential benefits for both sides.
12. ENGLISH ROSE
With the new season getting closer and closer, Seattle Sounders midfielder Andy Rose is optimistic about what his third year with the club might involve. After a strong debut season, Rose spent much of 2013 on the sidelines, but he is determined to try and win back a starting role. Meanwhile, Brad Evans and DeAndre Yedlin both played in the US' match vs. South Korea this past weekend, with both now chasing the biggest starting role of all.
13. IS LOW TURNOVER KEY TO FUTURE SUCCESS?
Mike Petke is entering his second year as the head coach of the New York Red Bulls, and while the Long Island native may have helped the team win its first trophy last year, his biggest accomplishment is bringing some much-needed stability to the team. There are still some players who won’t be with the team this year, but it looks like two of them have found new homes at least. On the other side of the New York soccer scene, despite vocal opposition, it turned out the majority of residents who attended the recent town hall meeting supported New York City FC’s new stadium.
14. SEAHAWKS SET THE SEATTLE STANDARD
Sunday marked Super Bowl XLVIII and congratulations go to the Seattle Seahawks, who’ve surely set the bar for the Sounders this year. Yet, in an NFL story that could have an actual impact on a couple of teams in MLS, is Colorado Rapids owner Stan Kroenke thinking about moving the St. Louis Rams back to Los Angeles? Could this have an effect on the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA or would it free St. Louis for a soccer team?
15. COME FLY WITH ME
As we all know now, Jurgen Klinsmann is a keen helicopter pilot. Would you like to go for a flight with the US boss? Of course you would, but sadly not many will get that opportunity, so this may be the next best thing.
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