Morning, everyone. I hope everyone stays inside today while the air quality outside is dismal. Yesterday was a seismic day in the world of Major League Soccer, so you already know what happened:

Lionel Messi: “I’m going to Miami” (MLS)

It’s happening. Lionel Messi has decided to head to Major League Soccer, where he will sign with Inter Miami in an unprecedented deal. Miami beat out FC Barcelona and a monumental offer from Saudi Arabia to join Al-Hilal. He announced his decision in an interview yesterday that set the world on fire:

Still, the Saudis wanted to get one last blockbuster offer in, and it was a massive one:

The league office tried to temper the excitement by saying a deal wasn’t done yet, but most would expect that after a deal of this magnitude that includes so many moving parts.

How signing Lionel Messi will impact Inter Miami, MLS and American soccer (The Athletic)

There’s going to be a billion of these think pieces over the next month or so about how Messi’s arrival could impact MLS. Its going to be a wild, exciting time for the league.

Lionel Messi’s move to Inter Miami sends ticket prices soaring over 1,000% (ESPN)

Tickets across the league skyrocketed upon the rumors and eventual confirmation that Lionel Messi was coming to MLS. Even here in DC, the July 8th matchup (which is the first Inter Miami match that he would be eligible to play upon the opening of the summer transfer window) is doing numbers. He could also factor into the MLS All-Star Game, which sent those ticket prices up into space as well.

Sergio Busquets in talks to join Inter Miami, Saudi clubs (ESPN)

Messi may not be alone in coming to Miami. Sergio Busquets could also come with him, and there have been rumors of Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba doing the same. This transfer window is going to be bonkers.

Meanwhile, here in the District, despite the wildly awful air quality today, D.C. United played their friendly against Mexican side Necaxa. United lost 1-0.

West Ham win dramatic Europa Conference League final (BBC)

West Ham wins their first European trophy in 58 years when they have a 90th minute goal to beat Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League Final.

Another final was settled last night, as the Vancouver Whitecaps beat CF Montreal to win the Canadian Championship, booking their place in the newly-retrobranded Concacaf Champions Cup.

The U.S. Open Cup has its final 4 set, and it’s all MLS teams:

The rise of Manchester City’s popularity in the U.S. (The Athletic)

With Manchester City’s increased success over the past 12 years has come a rise in popularity here in the United States. The Athletic looks at how City has increased its American support.

In USMNT news, another dual national appears to have chosen to represent the United States:

Real Madrid agree deal to sign Jude Bellingham from Dortmund for €103m+ (ESPN)

Jude Bellingham is officially off to Real Madrid, to the tune of €103 million plus incentives. I’m excited to see what he can do at the Bernabeu.

Qatari sheikh submits fifth, final bid to buy Man United; wants answer by Friday (ESPN)

Sheikh Jassim has launched one final attempt to buy Manchester United outright from the Glazer family. The Glazers also have an offer on the table from British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe that would allow them to keep a 49% stake in the club.

That’s it for today. Stay safe outside if you have to venture out.

ByDonald Wine II

Donald Wine has been a soccer fan since he first kicked a ball as a kid. He moved to DC in 2007 and quickly joined the soccer scene, helping to establish the DC chapter of the American Outlaws and serving as one of the capos and drummers for over a decade. He is currently the manager of Stars & Stripes FC, but this community is where he got his start, and he continues to contribute to anything DC soccer related for this site because he enjoys it so much.

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Kerry Hess

When one would point out that D.C. United has a CONCACAF Champions League trophy, someone would snidely say “No, that was the CONCACAF Champions Cup.” This argument should now get easier.

Daniel H

It’s a very un-American viewpoint, and likely not an overly popular one because of that, but I think the way the secondary ticket market works in US sports is awful.

I wish they’d regulate online scalping. This is a great chance for kids to see arguably the best player of all time and maybe get into going to watch their local MLS team through that experience but large sections of the population will be priced out because individuals – not the clubs themselves – want to make outrageous profits on the tickets.

Talonesque #

To be clear, Ticketmaster is more evil than scalping.

Talonesque #

I’m going to leave Messi comments for when he’s officially announced.

I think the league needs to postpone all matches this week and cancel training for the sake of a large number of players and their health. This is an outdoor sport, this smoke problem is no joke.


Totally, completely, absolutely agree with you. It’s bad out there. And to engage in an aerobic activity for long periods of time (ie: more than a 1 mile run) ain’t good.

David Rusk

From last night’s DCU v Necaxa match:

Another lovely night (and I didn’t sense any smoke). Mid-70s. No breeze. Never wore more than my Black and Red t-shirt.

I have no idea where Necaxa stands in LigaMX or whether we were facing first XI or not.

First 60 minutes lineup: Bono; Ahkimboni (sp??), Hines-Ike, Sargis; Samake, Canouse, Hopkins, Asad, Greene; Fletcher, Hurtado.

It was interesting to see how rigorously Second stringers executed Rooney’s system. Like watching first XI but without the spark. Defense was tight except

For lone goal — a well executed short corner kick headed into top of box where unmarked player hit a seeing eye laser through traffic off left side post into net. Unmarked scorer at top of box — also sounds like first XI sin.

Mass subs at 60 minutes: lineup: Bono; Pines, Hines-Ike, Birnbaum; Santos, O’Brien, Durkin, Dajome, Nadar; Fletcher, Hurtado.

A little livelier performance but DCU never really threatened goal. Without Taxi, KDP and, above all, Benteke, there’s no magic up top. Fletcher showed some spark but needed to shoot a couple of times rather than go for one more pass.

Hurtado is awful. Heavy touch. No speed. Nigel Robertha, please heal soon. Or summer signing, please bring us a credible backup #9.

If that was Necaxa’s first XI, a very credible test for Rooney’s defensive system.

Takeaways: Bono is a very good #2 keeper; Canouse is back from concussion protocol; Hines-Ike is match fit for 90 minutes and gives us a deep three CB corps.

Brendan Cartwright

Thanks for the report. You’re right that CB and GK depth look pretty good. Our midfield and striker depth needs work, especially if/when Lewis O’Brien goes back to England. Cristian Dajome has looked lively, but Yamil Asad hasn’t really nailed down a contributing role. Kristian Fletcher and Jackson Hopkins are hopefully the future, but haven’t shown too much in the present. United will have a little bit of room with O’Brien presumably gone, and will hopefully be able to move Ravel Morrison somewhere.

Hopefully, the powers that be are making plans to bring in an impactful player. Heck, maybe two.

Brendan Cartwright

As I type this, Goff writes that Najar picked up a hamstring injury in his 30 minutes against Necaxa and likely won’t be available against Atlanta.



Lord. Why did Rooney even play Najar. Najar, Taxi are players you don’t play in stupid friendlies. He’s gotta know how breakable they are at this point.


Of course. Glad Rooney made his feelings known, even though he chose to put an oft-injured player in…


Never wore more than my Black and Red t-shirt”–and security didn’t get you tossed for not wearing any pants?

David Rusk

JoeW. That just gave me a good laugh. Had very light weight ankle-long jogger pants on, especially for walk from and to Waterfront Metro


Heh. I had a similar visual reaction to David’s comment. I was going to post “I hope you were wearing some strategically place Coronavirus / Canadian smog masks!”

And, with that, I may have made my first post on this site. If so, the new commenting software seems much easier for me to understand.

And, David Rusk, thanks much for the game report and lineups!

Will Nelson

So Major League Rugby gets more coverage in The Guardian than it does in the States. With that being said. This article in The Guardian: shows that MLR players are trying to unionize. The focus is on contract security and healthcare. Not for higher pay at the moment as the players understand that coffers are tight. It sounds like the early days of MLS. One thing I learned in the article that I didn’t know about it is that there is a player contract category called “Associate Player Contract” that pay only $15/hr. There’s a long way to go for MLR. Also in the article OGDC hometown player Jack Iscaro is interviewed.

David Rusk

Excellent article. Rugby Union world-wide was an amateur sport in my day but in some of the major rugby-playing countries ruggers were amateurs the same way the Soviet hockey team were amateurs. They had well-paying jobs but really were expected to train and play rugby full time.

That helps explain why Los Pumas, Argentina’s senior national team, was never very successful; Los Pumas were amateurs competing with effectively full-time professionals.

On the other hand, Los Pumitas, Argentina’s junior national team, were very successful, competing, in effect, with other nation’s amateur junior national teams.

It’s only with the now-acknowledged profesional rugby abroad that the top Argentine players could play for foreign professional clubs that Argentina’s senior national team has become one of the top ten in the world.

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