David Beckham moving toward MLS ownership; Frank Lampard staying
Now that David Beckham has retired from playing, he may be looking to exercise his option to become an MLS owner sooner than later. Beckham has said he plans on becoming an MLS owner, and MLS vice-president Dan Courtemanche tells me his advisers have already discussed moving forward with the MLS. The contract specifies that Beckham would own an expansion team, not an existing team, and his expansion fee would be $25 million, below the $40 million fee that Montreal paid last year. The more people I talk to, the more I'm hearing that Miami is the city Beckham is most interested in right now.
• Frank Lampard is officially staying at Chelsea one more season and not going to L.A. this summer, which is disappointing for the Galaxy. I sat down with L.A. boss Bruce Arena on Friday, and he told me the deal to sign Lampard was "all but done" with the Galaxy at one point. Arena said it was still likely that L.A. would sign a new Designated Player this summer, and he added it was too early to tell whether L.A. would sign extensions with Landon Donovan and Omar González, who are out of contract at season's end.
• Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benítez has yet to finalize a job for next season. (I spoke at length with Benítez over Skype on Friday.) He told me he would prefer to manage in England, where his family now has roots, but he's open to jobs all over Europe if nothing in England materializes. (Some reports have linked him to Napoli, which will play in Champions League next season.) Benítez's wife and two daughters still live in the Liverpool area, and I asked him if he would have any interest in the open Everton job. He said he doubted Everton would approach him given his past at Liverpool, and he thought it would be difficult for him to go there due to the rivalry. That's interesting, considering Benítez was willing to go to Chelsea, whose fans weren't all enamored with him after his Liverpool days.
• Reports emerged from Mexico this week that struggling Chivas USA was about to be taken over by MLS from owner Jorge Vergara and potentially moved to a different city. MLS commissioner Don Garber categorically denied that to me, but the rumors still persist. I'm told that Vergara has communicated with MLS president Mark Abbott and told him reports that a potential sale of Chivas de Guadalajara to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim are not true. The question is whether Vergara is being up front with MLS, whose owners are in some cases tiring of Chivas USA's problems off the field. I recently got a call from an MLS owner who labeled Vergara "a joke."
• New York is another MLS team that plans on signing a Designated Player in the summer window. Right now I'm told there's a difference of opinions between Red Bulls executives Gérard Houllier, Andy Roxburgh and Jérôme de Bontin. One camp wants to sign a "superstar" in his mid-30s, while another camp wants to sign a player in his late 20s who is recognized in the global game but not necessarily a superstar. There's clearly a desire with the Red Bulls to make some noise with their DP signing to compete with the expected upcoming announcement of Manchester City's owners investing in a second New York-area MLS team.
• When a player has problems with multiple teams, the problem is almost always the player, not the teams. Kansas City unloaded Bobby Convey to Toronto last week, and a K.C. source tells me Sporting just wanted to get rid of Convey, who had become a malcontent in the locker room. This is the same Convey who San Jose coach Frank Yallop was overjoyed to move from the Earthquakes before last season.
• You hate to see an officiating call take points away from a team, but that's exactly what happened when Ike Opara's goal for Kansas City was disallowed on one of the worst offside calls you'll ever witness. Opara was four yards onside and K.C. ended up tying D.C. United 1-1 at RFK Stadium.
• Seattle is back, and in a big way. Eddie Johnson's two goals led the Sounders past Dallas 4-2 and showed Sigi Schmid's group has shaken off its slow start. (Rookie right back DeAndre Yedlin was terrific again, by the way.) Especially impressive was the control and patience shown by Johnson the go-ahead goal, similar to that shown by Portland's José Adolfo Valencia in his equalizer against Vancouver.
• Tim Cahill is most definitely earning his paycheck after scoring in stoppage time to send New York past Los Angeles 1-0. The Aussie has rediscovered his scoring instincts, scoring four goals in his last five games as the Red Bulls have won five of their last six. But you also have to say that L.A. goalie Carlo Cudicini should have done much better on Cahill's goal. Cudicini was rooted to his line on a shot that came from inside his own 6-yard box, and you just can't do that. As good as L.A. has been the last three years, goalkeeper continues to be a problem spot.
• Houston went nearly two years without a loss at home, and now the Dynamo has lost two in the past week. New England pulled off the surprise of the week, beating Houston 2-0 and showing once again that 18-year-old Diego Fagundez is a young goal-scorer to watch. Juan Agudelo also looked lively in his Revs debut.
• Chivas USA and Toronto are what we thought they were: Really, really bad. Chivas made a host of elementary back-line mistakes to help seal a 4-1 home loss to Salt Lake, and the Goats are now winless in their last six, five of them losses. Meanwhile, Toronto capitulated 1-0 at home to Columbus, the fourth straight loss for a TFC team that has gone nine without a win.
• Portland captain Will Johnson is the classic "you want this guy on your team, but you don't want to play against him" player.
• Don't look now, but Philly's Jack McInerney (8 goals) is starting to pull away from the rest of the league. The only downside about his likely Gold Cup call-up is that he'll probably fall behind in the Golden Boot race.
• A lot of bad offside traps led to goals this week. I'm looking at you, Dallas, Toronto and Chivas (multiple times).