Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Major League Soccer’s finale, MLS Cup, takes place on Sunday in Seattle and (perhaps surprisingly to some) the game between L.A. Galaxy and Real Salt Lake will be broadcast in over 120 countries.
For the benefit of those fans outside of the States, who might be tuning in to watch David Beckham play for the Galaxy (or perhaps admire the intelligent midfield play of Real’s Clint Mathis?) and aren’t familiar with MLS or it’s final, here are some answers to the kind of questions you might be asking yourself as you sit down on the sofa and get ready for…
Well no, not really a Cup final. Officially the game is known as ‘MLS Cup’ (or Copa MLS in the league’s Spanish language literature) but unlike say every other Cup final in the world, this is not the final game of a knockout Cup competition. No, this is the game which decides the league champions of MLS.
But what about the team who finish top of the league table? Aren’t they the champions?
Manchester United fans will doubtless be pleased by Wayne Rooney’s latest comments pouring cold, or at least lukewarm water on the idea that he might move to Barcelona, or anywhere else for that matter.
Good news for United it may be, but I’m not so sure it’s in England’s interests for so few of the country’s leading players to try their luck abroad.
Milan have just announced the deal on their website (just in Italian for now), meaning any lingering hopes Premier League clubs had of changing the England midfielder’s mind have finally been dashed.
The US national team beat European champions Spain in the Confederations Cup and give Brazil a scare in the final. In the NFL heartland of Baltimore, 71,000 turn out to watch Chelsea v AC Milan.
In Pasadena, Chelsea v Inter Milan pulls in 81,000.
David Beckham gets booed and jeered on his return for L.A Galaxy and the American sporting public laps it up – top sports talk shows, which usually ignore soccer other than to mock the game occasionally, lead their bulletins on the issue.
He was supposed to be the man who would take soccer in the United States to the next level yet David Beckham is in danger of becoming an embarrassing liability to the game in the country.
On a weekend when 65,000 people turned out for a friendly match in Seattle, 82,000 watched a Gold Cup game in Dallas and the U.S. national team continued their impressive form with another victory, the soccer news was all about Beckham being booed by his own fans.
Florentino Perez is back on the scene and if the Madrid sports press are right the first ‘Galactico’ of his second era at Real Madrid will be Brazil’s Kaka, assuming he wins next month’s election to the presidency.
“Kaka signed” Marca said on a special wrap-around front cover for Saturday’s edition, while AS led with “Kaka, the details of the agreement.”
With the new Star Trek film out, we thought we’d have a bit of fun and see which soccer players could play the famous characters.
They’ve changed all the actors anyway and brought in a youthful crop, so why not?
Ukraine coach Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko said his players had been overawed by the Wembley atmosphere in their 2-1 World Cup defeat by England but their nerves must have been based on the twin-towered mystique of the old stadium rather than the soulless feeling of the new.
At a cost of 800 million pounds ($1.15 billion), the new Wembley undoubtedly looks impressive and there was no hint of the credit crunch as the wine flowed in the packed private dining suites before the game.
So often in the past we have seen transfer deals go through simply because the player asks to leave. Clubs fear the players won’t play to their full potential if their wish is denied so they cave in and take the transfer fee.
But recently, some clubs have started fighting back against player power and have been rewarded.
The prospect of former Real Madrid player David Beckham lining up against a new Barcelona-Miami franchise was a soccer marketing man’s dream — the most marketable man in the game against one of the biggest team brands, playing in the ‘capital of the Americas’.
A couple of months ago that scenario looked on the cards, with Beckham tied into a long-term deal with the L.A Galaxy and Barcelona’s Miami bid for a 2011 MLS expansion slot widely considered a ‘shoe in’.