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[00:00:00]

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[00:00:35]

But that's a wrong podcast. Although this is going to be a familiar voice to people that support some of my properties. It's a local power and I'm sorry. It's soccer intensive, soccer intensive. But there was actually a local sports story that's around it in Miami that we didn't really cover. In yesterday's local hour, a swinging interrogation light was flung by Dan Le Batard, Chris Codi and Billy Gill. I tip my hat to you, sir. He hasn't fielded a question as difficult as what's the most romantic thing you've ever done.

[00:01:05]

So congratulations to you. You made him sweat.

[00:01:07]

Chris and Dan built that up so much that I just had to throw a change up there like Dan was doing. This thing about Chris and Billy are the hard interrogators all of a sudden. I don't know what show Dan's been watching for the last year.

[00:01:18]

Dan, just so he's an anarchist, right? He just wants things like he texted Chris and I this Armando Salguero tweet. He's like, in case you want to make the local our not just about soccer, which we've got it. OK, you're a 50 year old sports media personality. You don't like soccer in America. I got you. But I mean, there's this phrase, tell it on himself. I mean, Armando invented that. I'm not going to the Armando Salguero thing.

[00:01:47]

Nothing I can say will change your mind about Armando Salguero. I will also say now, I'm not even going to say that I was going to say something. I'm not taking the bait. See, this is what Dan wants. He wants division. I'm not giving it to him. I'm not talking. Armando Salguero, I will talk to Chris Winningham, the audio voice. I can't call you the radio voice or audio voice of inner Miami.

[00:02:10]

I mean, we call it radio, even though for the moment it's not air on a radio station.

[00:02:15]

But you can say radio voice, radio play by play, voice of Inner Miami Sieff, even though the club KRESSE that doesn't make any sense whatsoever. But they're known as inner Miami. KfW, the Herron's Chris Codi. Chris Kotey is one of the few people on this show, actually the only other person on this show that is supportive of the world's game like soccer, and also realizes that we bore the audience when we talk about it. So we're just constantly taking notes.

[00:02:40]

But it's a local ours. So let's talk about a surreal local sports team moment. Chris Winningham, you went to Lockhardt Stadium two days ago to watch in Miami take on Atlanta United. The MLS is trying to make up some games and we'll ask you about that in a moment. All this stuff was going around sports. The Milwaukee Bucks leave the court and it's weird. In the national media, the NBA sort of gets all the credit for being the progressive leaders and and being on the same message and on the same page.

[00:03:11]

The Orlando Magic had no idea this was happening. No one else in the NBA had any idea this was happening. So it's not like the communication was that much better in the bubble in Miami takes a field to take on Atlanta, United in Miami, four points out of the final playoff spot. We'll also get to that later. In Miami seems ready to play Atlanta, United also seems ready to play, and just before kickoff, the two captains meet in the tunnel, Chris, and decisions get made.

[00:03:36]

When did you know that there wasn't going to be a soccer match that you were supposed to call?

[00:03:42]

I actually think you knew before I did, because you were watching on local television and they had a reporter on the sidelines, Kaitlyn Kyle, who was keeping the broadcast up to date with everything that was going on. We were basically doing conjecture based off of appearances. We were watching the captains and players talk and we were trying to discern. So there was one moment where an equipment guy was picking up all the loose soccer balls on the edges of the pitch, like, I don't know, maybe they're not playing now because they don't have balls to play with that.

[00:04:13]

I guess they're not playing. And then really the moment that sealed it was when an equipment guy wheeled away a cooler back to the corner of the stadium. He's like, well, if there's no coolers and there's no game. So we were just trying to figure it out based off of appearances. It's really hard when the players are making the decisions and because of social distancing and all that, to get club officials that were being kept aware of what was going on.

[00:04:35]

The sporting director, Paul McDonough, was kind of all over. It was actually kind of surreal to watch George Moss in the stands, just kind of watching this all happen. So I think we were all kind of in a position of guessing what the players are going to do. But there were some signs, right? When ROFO pizzano takes the pitch without wearing a full uniform, then you're at least somewhat thinking that he might not play. Yeah, you mentioned the Hormoz thing.

[00:04:58]

And in watching this broadcast on my thirty three, I mean, we're already two games into this experience and they're already bumped from QBs. What was it, Big Brother that bumped them? Either way it's on my thirty three Hormoz in the stands as one of the few people that get to actually be in the stadium and watch in Miami and he's caught off guard by this as well. It would seem this was totally a player decision, Chris.

[00:05:24]

Yeah, if you listen to Jeff Laurino, it's the captain for Atlanta United. They were basically in communication as captains even during the warm up period, which for me was the biggest sign that they were going to play. We had heard about an hour before the game that the players are pretty well leaning towards not playing. But they we had also heard that it was kind of contingent somewhat on the game. That was earlier that night, thirty minutes before Atlanta and Miami were due to kick off.

[00:05:51]

So we're Orlando and Nashville. And so we had heard that if Orlando and Nashville go ahead, that the players wanted to present this united front. But according to Jeff Lerato, it's him and Luis Robles who were the two captains for the clubs. We're talking even during the warmups and then during this period that we saw the public discussion take place. And according to them, they were in communication with the players union, with the Black Players for Change coalition, which was something that was starting that started during the pandemic.

[00:06:21]

And so I think that communication and really the clear signals from MLS is black players like, for example, Marc Anthony K of Lefse, who is due to play in the AFC Real Salt Lake match later that night. There were some pretty loud messages that they didn't want to play. And so I think that became clear that at some point there will be cancellations tonight. And I think the Atlanta and Miami players just decided we want to be on the right side of this.

[00:06:45]

We want to be supportive of our black teammates and leaders.

[00:06:48]

And so we are going to not play the optics of Orlando and Nashville actually happening. We're not great. And on social media, it played out kind of ugly. You had players wives. I mean, I don't want to undersell Sidney Laroche. He's an absolute legend for her national team side, but a lot of people were critical of the decision to play. Now, this is a scheduling problem, and I want to get into that in just one moment.

[00:07:11]

But it would seem as though in watching this broadcast in the news that trickled in after this went down in the two clubs, went out in full uniforms for the most part and took a photo, and it still seemed like there was going to be a game. And then everybody just walked back to the tunnel. It was positioned as though this was in Atlanta. United decision, as in Miami, was actually indeed ready to play. And Luis Robles had to just communicate to his team that, hey, Atlanta United's not feeling this.

[00:07:36]

We have to be united here. I don't know just because I don't know what the layout of the stadium is, and so Miami's players exited or entered from like a corner of the stadium, where is all the Atlanta players came from the tunnel. I don't know if that's just because of the layout of where they are within the stadium. And so I really don't know what Miami's level of support is. There's a lot of conversation kind of about and then Lorena was asked about this.

[00:08:01]

There's a lot of players that come from South America that don't know a lot of what this is. So how supportive are they really when they show up to a stadium and they're told they're going to play a game and then they're not like, are they down with this? But Lorena would seem to suggest that they are and that they've educated themselves and have been actually big parts of the discussion. So we really don't know who the leaders are in all of this or what the the the polls were amongst the teams about support versus not support.

[00:08:25]

We do know that for other clubs, this was not a unanimous decision. There were some clubs and some teams and some group of players that were not down with not playing. But in the end, the league takes a decision and enough strong leaders take the decision. And so I can't really tell you whether or not Atlanta favored it more than Miami did. So Atlanta just hopped on a plane immediately that evening and went back. What happens to this match?

[00:08:49]

Well, there is a window if now MLS is basically scheduled for four more games and then they have 12 more to play after that. So there is time to make up this game at some point. But if you look at the schedules, there's the midweek between September the 6th and September the 13th where neither Miami nor Atlanta play. And so that would be the most likely scenario. I think it's September the 9th would be a Wednesday that they could play this game.

[00:09:16]

But there's also plenty of time after that. MLS still has quite a bit of ways to go with the regular season. I think their goal is to finish the league season by mid-December. So there is some time for this game to be made up to me. It gets a little bit hairy. If games this weekend get postponed, then all of a sudden you're really pushing the timeline even further back.

[00:09:35]

We're talking with Chris Whittingham, the radio play by play voice of inner Miami. Chris Cody is here for emotional support.

[00:09:41]

Let's talk about enjoying this. I'm learning because, like, you know, I've really got I dove in headfirst to the Marlins the last week or so, so I haven't really had all the details of this story. So I'm learning a lot. I'm like, I'm enjoying this.

[00:09:53]

I'm also learning to Chris Whittingham is plugged in and the MLS has sort of like a mutated cash grab playoff situation where all the old rules of the season are thrown out the window similar to baseball. But they did have their MLS is back tournament that the Portland Timbers won. And there's a qualifying position that goes to the Portland Timbers because we're just making the rules up as we go. What exactly are the particulars surrounding qualifications for the playoffs? How many teams make it?

[00:10:20]

Where does in Miami fit in on that and when will they happen?

[00:10:23]

So again, they're due to try and finish their season by mid-December, which means they probably start their playoffs in mid-November. So they have a couple of months here to play out the remainder of the regular season. Inter Miami's so far has played just the one game post, the second restart, and they're due to play eighteen. So they still have seventeen league games to go, which is which is quite a bit. And so right now they're trying to limit travel.

[00:10:49]

So they have teams in a bunch of mini groups. So Miami is playing Orlando, Nashville and Atlanta twice because that's kind of like the closest cluster of teams to them. So these are six games. Then they'll have twelve more presumably against the whole of the Eastern Conference. At the end of it, the fourteen team Eastern Conference will send nine teams to the playoffs and the twelve team Western Conference will also send nine teams to the playoffs. So very similar to the other sports.

[00:11:16]

They're expanded playoff yields. Eighteen of twenty six teams are going to qualify for the playoffs. So Miami, despite their five losses in five games to start the season, have a chance to make the playoffs. So you're telling me there's a chance it doesn't feel like there's a chance watching them play? If I know the coaches, they're drawn to star names. I mean, Greg Cody is in here every week saying, when are they going to sign someone I've heard of?

[00:11:43]

He's going to write that column until they get messy. Yeah. So the messy stuff is out there. It's fun. And I don't I think it's actually a realistic possibility for inner Miami, just not this year. In fact, if I were to handicap it, I know you do some work with Graham Wall. Graham Wall seems to think the most likely scenario is that he actually stays at Barcelona. Well, I don't know if his position has evolved on that.

[00:12:04]

How realistic is Messi to MLS? I probably know your answer there. And then if that doesn't happen, where do Inter Miami pivot? Chris Winningham?

[00:12:13]

Well, now it seems pretty hugely unlikely from what I've read. And I think it's largely it's largely down to the money and particularly if Lionel Messi leaves on a free from Barcelona we're talking about in order to make him whole, you've got to pay him in the neighborhood of fifty to fifty five, probably even 60 million dollars a year. And the highest paid player. We don't know what David Beckham's official salary was. We know he got paid an ownership contract and sponsorship.

[00:12:41]

We know that MLS can generate some money, but we just don't know if it's in this neighborhood. But for example, last year, the highest paid player in the league was lots of Abramovich at seven million dollars. We're talking about seven times that amount to make Lionel Messi whole. So this is always felt like something that's in the distant future, maybe after the twenty twenty two World Cup, which presumably Messi will play with Argentina and then he can start to pivot towards the latter stages of his career kind of move.

[00:13:07]

Messi is still in the conversation, his best player in the world. Right. It may not be as clear cut as it was maybe two years ago. And now you have a lot more names that are in that arguably the best player in the world category. But if someone picks Messi as the best player, the best attacking player in the world, they're not going to get much of a fight. So at thirty three years old, right, Chris?

[00:13:28]

No. And you look at his numbers from this past year in La Liga. It's twenty five goals and twenty one assists in all competitions that no balloons to thirty one goals and twenty six assists. This is still a massively productive player. And again we're talking about within a structure that has declined around him, the Barcelona squad has gotten considerably worse from when Lionel Messi was in his prime. So he's still producing and an immensely high level. And this is one of the things that's frustrating to me, particularly when we're talking about MLS and you hear, for example, names like Luis Suarez, like then people go, well, he's washed and he's old and he can't run anymore.

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It's like, well, he's not the best at the very highest level of the game.

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But MLS is such a different ballgame that Suarez can still come here and dominate like he would still be an incredible player here. And I think very much the same with Messi, which some people as well. He's lost a step and he's not as good. Not as good. It's still incredible. Yeah. Chris Coady, does Luis Suarez do it for you? And more importantly, does he do it for your dad?

[00:14:27]

Oh, yeah. Luis Suarez definitely does it. I'm I'm wondering who are the other guys are in that conversation who were best players in the world right now? Like, if you had to name for people, if Messi is one of the four, who are the other three guys that you would put in that discussion?

[00:14:39]

So I would go for obviously Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar. I thought he was incredible in the Champions League, even though they ended up losing in the final. And then the name that may not be as well known, but he was incredible in the run up to the Champions League final, even if you didn't score in it, it was Robert Liveth of our world's top scorer. It's kind of remarkable. He's a bit older. Chiliad in BOP for sure.

[00:15:03]

Someone who I absolutely love play. And that's probably your top five right now.

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Best players in the world, I would argue. Maybe CDB as well. Trent Alexander Arnold for Liverpool. If we're going to pivot the conversation away from attacking players and obviously Christian Pulisic, I think we can all agree. Christian Pulisic, maybe Tiago Silva as well. I'm very excited because I. Oh, yeah, that's right. You produce a Chelsea podcast for the club, right. Chris Waddingham your co-host and producer, what does that podcast called?

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Because I can say it held Chelsea miked up and there are some other people that participate in the frivolity and the fun. Talking about Chelsea Football Club, I think you might be involved in that. And right now, Chelsea spending money like it's right out of style. I mean the transfer spend Chilwell Thiago Silva having already added team over and Zac and incredibly fun club to watch right now. And if you want to hear more about it, it's Chelsea miked up.

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Subscribe where we get your podcast.

[00:16:00]

And let's just say I'm wearing Leader Hosein today, highly anticipating one of the most impactful signings in Chelsea history. We're actually going to still stay on soccer and bring in a more national voice than the neutral observer and radio play by play Voice of Inter Miami. Chris, waddingham, we're going to bring in Sam staes Cal, who covers the MLS and soccer for the athletic. And you could talk to us about this insane Reale Salt Lake story that I think jumped across everyone's timeline and.

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People hearing about real Salt Lake for the first time, I imagine, just want to talk to him about the chances of messy and the weird financials that go into MLS, because no one can really explain to me how Zlatan got his money and made that work. So I want to talk to Sam about that and more coming up next. Bringing in yet another soccer voice to further turn you off, if you haven't skipped past this episode by now, surely you've done it.

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Sam stays cool from the athletic.

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He wrote a well researched, well reported story about what's going on with real Salt Lake, which is, you know, not on the tip of everyone's tongue, not one of the marquee franchises, even though they have a good bit of success from years ago. Original Miami fusion player Kyle Beckerman still kicking around at Real Salt Lake. There was a name that popped across everyone's timeline, Deloy Hansen, Deloy Hansen. And he is the owner of Real Salt Lake.

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And he is not exactly supporting what's going on right now in the league. He's very made very upset by the salvages of play. It seems as though he's setting up a political platform. So, Sam, can you explain this to the uninitiated in our audience right now and why this is such a wild story going on in Salt Lake?

[00:17:46]

Sure. Thanks so much for having me. I guess so. MLS players basically boycotted or decided not to play, I believe would be the proper term, I guess similar. Similarly, the NBA players the other night on Wednesday night, five and six games that were scheduled, one of those games was in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake was set to welcome up to five thousand fans to Rio Tinto Stadium for the game, had workers. They had people in the stadium when they decided to play.

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And that caused a bit of a bit of an uproar. Some fans were upset. And the owners, like Hansen went on the radio on Thursday morning in Salt Lake City on a radio station that he owns quite a few out there and basically expressed his disappointment, I believe he said it was completely disrespectful and he felt it had a profound level personally to him. The is in his sixties. He's a billionaire white guy. And as several of the players said to me and my colleagues in the course of reporting a story, you just basically profoundly missed the point.

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His comments kind of started this uproar in the morning. And Jozy Altidore, a national team player, basically went on Twitter. It was like he should sell the team that Donovan Mitchell got in on the action. Obviously, Utah jazz player who's familiar with RSL goes to some games from time to time. And my colleagues and I started making some calls and basically learned that this is a pattern for delay. This is an isolated incident.

[00:19:20]

This is something that unfortunately he has, you know, these comments, they fit them off.

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And full disclosure here, I used to work for something from twenty to twenty fourteen. I was the owner of the team the entire time I was there first as a minority stake and then starting in early 2013. It's full control. So full disclosure there. But we called some people and I spoke with Andy Williams, who was the second player in history. He's been out there since 2005, that there is a player scout is furloughed in April. He is black man.

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And he basically outlined three instances that he was aware of, two of which he was witness witness, four of just some pretty seriously racist stuff that I had done. I spoke to another guy, Aaron Montes, to play for the team and currently plays an uncle for Charlotte. We spoke to another one, another incident, and we spoke to a few other players.

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Nick Rimando, another Phusion, former Fusun guy who retired last year, played with national team for a while with the World Cup in twenty fourteen. He retired that year, like I mentioned, and kind of an RSL legend. And he said, you know. I don't know if I could be able to play for this game or native Manou former man city guy who plays City now is one of my colleagues. He's like, I'm re-evaluating what I want to be here.

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So lots going on. It's not like the league is now investigating.

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Yeah, this this seems to go back a ways. And when it first came out, full disclosure to the audience and really heard of Deloy, I don't know the inner workings of RSL. I'm an inner Miami supporter and I'm just getting into MLS is story caught me off guard. And initially, while tone deaf, his initial statements that leaked out from that radio interview there were conservative. But I mean, if we started getting rid of conservative owners, we'd have no professional sports owners.

[00:21:21]

A lot of them are privately conservative. But there is a history here. And it seems as though he's seizing this opportunity with the players not taking the field to furlough more workers, to fire people permanently from foundational efforts that really don't have anything to do with RSL. And you mentioned your Andy Williams, who I'm familiar with and is indeed a club legend, not mincing words, quote, He's a racist, to be honest. What exactly are these specific examples of racism that he's talking about?

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So Andy brought up with you? One of the one that was probably the most shocking to me was a situation in Dallas in twenty sixteen Deloy and Andy and a few other people from our sales front office staff had flown down from Salt Lake to Dallas to see their academy team playing in a playoff game. All right. So first team that played in Dallas the night before and they had lost Kellen Acosta, who now plays for Colorado. He's also had some time with the national team.

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Some some listeners might be familiar. He had scored in the game before he was at some of these academy games. He came up through the Dallas Academy and he was there with his agent child support, and they bumped into him. All right. So contingence bumped into him and his agent on the field and the game at the time. His name is Craig Wible. He recognized the agent and they started talking. And Craig went to the law and said, this is Kelin.

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He's one of the guys that scored against us last night and deloy by way of meeting this this man who is probably I can't remember exactly who he was, probably no more than 20 years old at the time. Kellen Acosta is black said, oh, this guy played good last night. So when are we going to lynch it? She something to that effect, so that's it's just it's you hear that and you're like, what? And so we spoke with the cost of Agent Williams relayed that story.

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There is another situation where Hanson, according to Williams, used use the N-word in front of Williams, who I believe I I've mentioned, is black. He didn't use it at Williams, but sort of in my telling of the story, in the making of a point to someone else, just way too comfortable saying the racial slur.

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Yeah. And that's the theme here, is that he's very casual with all of these things and all of these settings. And if he feels comfortable saying these things in front of black people, by the way, what is what else is he saying?

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What is he thinking? You know, I think that's a that's a fair thing to wonder. And I'm guessing there will be more stories coming out. Yeah.

[00:24:02]

As the details come out, this seems more like a Donald Sterling incident than just your run of the mill conservative owner. There is something going on here. Something has been bubbling. Have there actually been formal complaints filed against this owner or is it this or is this an example of systemic racism and people are afraid to even take action? Yeah.

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So, I mean, I asked Andy Williams if he ever wants H.R., if he ever elevated to the league. And he said not that he didn't like a really powerful guy in Utah. He owns a ton of real estate there. He's a big landlord, a lot of commercial real estate. He just he owns a lot of stuff. And he called him several times Donald Sterling Park, too. That's what he said this was.

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And I asked him, did you ever go to anybody? And he said he said no. He's like, you know, to be totally honest, like I'm one of the few black employees at this organization and several of these instances. And they took place over the course of years. He was the only black guy in the front office on the sporting side of the club.

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And if he's he was like, what am I going to do that? Like, if other people are going to go, I'm supposed to go. He's like, things aren't going to change. I'm going to go to H.R. and they're going to do something about the owner, like, what am I supposed to do? That was kind of his his attitude towards it.

[00:25:22]

So there are some powerful people that have the ability to kind of supersede Hanssens power. And there was a real conversation yesterday about similar to the Donald Sterling situation, him being potentially be removed as owner of Real Salt Lake. Is that a real possibility?

[00:25:38]

Yeah. So the league is going to investigate and we'll see what shape that takes. But there is a clause in the MLS constitution which was made public, bizarrely enough, because a former real Salt Lake head coach sued the team for wrongful termination last year under controversial circumstances of his own. Anyway, that came out in that court case. And basically what it says, and I think I'm remembering this correctly, it's early, so forgive me if I'm not.

[00:26:06]

But basically, if two thirds of the fellow owners say, you know, you're out, then you're compelled to. So. So I would imagine that there will be this there will be this investigation. I would imagine the results that might trigger a vote. And we'll see where that goes.

[00:26:21]

And the punishment ultimately might be to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in the pocket of Hanson.

[00:26:28]

Yeah, although it's interesting, I was I was thinking about this with some with some folks last night. And, you know, I don't think this is a situation where they could sell to just anyone. They would have to sell to someone who would keep it in Salt Lake City to Hansen, for all of his faults, has built a lot of stuff around that team in terms of infrastructure.

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And I'm not sure what the market would look like for a sale. It would be very interesting to see. All right.

[00:26:51]

Shifting over to another big MLS story. We touched on it before you got here. A little bit messy. There's rumors of Manchester City with their Citigroup adding a clause not unlike Chelsea manager Frank Lampard had to come to Manchester City for a bit and then close out your career potentially at New York City FC. I actually think that hurts the negotiations a little bit. I mean, this isn't I mean, who doesn't want to close out their their soccer career at Yankee Stadium?

[00:27:19]

How realistic is Messi to MLS? Maybe not so much this year, but eventually. And how does MLS pay him? I've been told that Adidas will have a large say in Messi to MLS. How does that work out and how do some of the more key stars get paid? Because they have a salary cap and DP's and certain players require even more money and more coaxing?

[00:27:40]

Yeah. So first, is Messi the MLS realistic? I don't think it's realistic at all. This year. It seems like he wants to still compete at the highest level, maybe go back, goes back to city and then try to win the Champions League there in the future. Sure, why not? Like plenty of aging European stars have come to MLS to close out their careers. Messi has said, I believe that, that. Something that would be attractive to them in the past.

[00:28:05]

So I think that's a real possibility in terms of how you pay. And so you mentioned designated players that you can pay those guys whatever you want. So Messi would be a designated player in all likelihood, unless you have a situation where a team has filled all three of their DP spots already and then you have to find a way around, which is something that Apple has lots on. It's sort of something that happened down there in Miami with the tweetie recently.

[00:28:31]

And so that would be interesting. But in terms of how to pay him, he would most likely be a DP. You can do whatever they want. And their budget charge in MLS terms is like six hundred and twelve thousand there would be this year. So you can pay 90 million or whatever. What Adidas contribute to that maybe. I don't know what the what, what the what that would look like. Adidas is a league sponsor. They provide all the uniforms and they pay MLS a certain amount of money every year.

[00:28:58]

So maybe they could get in on that action.

[00:29:01]

So there is no cap as to what a DP can get paid. But MLS owners, if they were I mean, there are some mega wealthy MLS owners, but for the most part, they're also capped as to what they can bring to the table. L.A. Galaxy are owned by AEG and they were sort of capped and they did some funky business with Zlatan, as you mentioned, because they had all their DP's. How does this work where they borrow from different budgets and get different sponsors or partners to help supplement a player's salary?

[00:29:33]

Yes.

[00:29:33]

So for slots on that instance, the Galaxy had all three of their DP spots go. So the max that they could pay him was one point five million per year and keep him on a targeted Alemi allocation money contract. Chris Cuomo, know what I'm talking about?

[00:29:46]

I will be speaking a foreign language to most people listening to this, but we've lost every just so the Mexican open was one point five million that was making a lot more money than that when he was playing for Manchester United, which is where he was before he joined the galaxy. So they have to make them whole in some way. Now, a lot of these teams have relationships with corporate partners, is a massive company, right, in the entertainment and sports space.

[00:30:11]

So there's lots and came over and immediately he had a presumably fat sponsorship deal with Lisa. Right. So maybe AEG helped swing that right and helped make them whole in that way. He also we learned after he left the club, got a stake in AEG Sweden, which happens to own Hamady, which is a club in Stockholm, and the Swedish league. Harambee happens to be the big rival of Malmo, which is zloties boyhood club. That's where he came by and turned pro.

[00:30:42]

Flowtown had a statue outside of the stadium when this news emerged. That's what's at stake in Sweden and thereby was a part owner of Hamady. The fans in Malmo got really pissed and tore a statue down. So you know that MLS shenanigans causing huge unrest in Sweden.

[00:31:01]

It's a story is all this time, I believe. The last question for Sam staes, call to Chris Codi, our resident soccer. What lunkhead?

[00:31:12]

What do I call you, this casual, casual soccer fan? When is my inner Miami going to be good craic?

[00:31:22]

They should be good pretty soon. They got their first win here recently. Tweetie is going to start playing soon. He'll make them a lot better. They will sign a forward and a third DP.

[00:31:33]

That's something that I keep hearing that I mean we've been hearing it now I think for like four years. Yeah, that is about as long as they've got there. They were going to be a team, but they will presumably get that deal done at some point. And this should have been better than 015 to begin with. In between, he'll make them a lot better. So I think I think they'll be pretty good here pretty soon.

[00:31:56]

To answer your question, withI I was listening to the Ornstein and Chatmon podcast, and they have I think the athletic over in the UK has unveiled a messy cast and they said, er, my name is not really in it because they looked at Williams contract and said we can't really afford that. Well, they couldn't afford that for Willian. How deep potentially. And maybe this is a question better for Chris and Timkin sort of spackle. How deep are the pockets of inner Miami?

[00:32:22]

Because I see a lot of talk and this seems like a fundamentally South Florida operation. Hormoz says all the things that get you excited and then you're counting on Robbie Robinson to back a brace.

[00:32:33]

So can they actually go out there, be competitive and sign a player like Luis Suarez? Do they have the financial stability to do that in the wake of a pandemic? Because there's a lot of lost revenue out there? And can this indeed be the club that David Beckham is positioning it to be, which is one of the famous clubs in the world? And Sam can obviously speak better to this, but the reports are that Inter Miami have offered big money to some of these players.

[00:33:00]

Right. Edinson Cavani was out there and. He was asking for 12 million and maybe of could pay him eight, and it's not just about what they can pay him, it's also is this a sound financial investment? Right. Is it sound to spend ten million dollars a year on a thirty three year old player and give him a four year contract like the last year that you're going to be eating it? So I do think that if you just look at the net worth of their ownership group, they can afford it.

[00:33:26]

The question is sort of do they want to? And also it will be a loss leader, considering that we don't know the next time that they're going to be welcoming any fans, much less a full stadium into their new stadium that they've spent a lot of money on an MLS expansion. Clubs generally deal with this expansion fees and building out your initial roster and building out a staff takes hundreds of millions of dollars before you can start making money. And that is only further impacted by the pandemic.

[00:33:52]

Yeah, I think this kind of hit it on the head, the inner Miami owners can't afford to do pretty much whatever they want. It's not just the Marx Brothers that are involved there. There's some real money elsewhere and that ownership group. And but could they have paid Coveny more and would have come here? Probably, but they didn't want to set themselves up to be kind of this club that you can go make Ramdisk ridiculous salary asks for even more than they already are.

[00:34:17]

It does seem like they're not going to sign a third DP for signing one snake. Right. They've been in with William, they've been with Coveny, and they've ultimately decided we're not going to compete with you financially. If they really wanted the likes of Cavani and Willian, it seems as though they can happen. So it seems as though the priority prioritizing Luis Suarez. Is that a fair assessment here, Sam?

[00:34:39]

I'm not sure that that's I mean, at this point, perhaps. But Cavani and willing out of both those discussions were very real. From what I've heard, and I'm not sure it's a situation where they couldn't meet the European kind of money that they were offered. It's that both of those players wanted more money to come down less and they weren't willing to reach the levels that they wanted. I think I think it's been reported both of them would have been the highest players in the league, highest paid players in the league by a significant margin.

[00:35:06]

And so they weren't willing to get to that level, which I can sort of understand. That being said, they made this promise, right, that they're going to go sign a star and they haven't really done it between. He's a great player, a World Cup champion two years ago, but he's not the name in South Florida. Right. So they've made that promise and they haven't found it yet. I assume that they will eventually, but it's taken a lot longer than anyone would have thought.

[00:35:31]

So we're talking about this third slot and that means two are occupied. Pizarro's been great for Inter Miami, a bit of a ball hog. I don't know what's going on on the pitch. He seems to get into a lot of disagreements with teammates, but he's he's obviously their most talented attacking player by a pretty wide margin. Pellegrini's the other DAP, and this one hasn't really worked. This is replicating some of the template from Atlanta United. Go down to South America, sign a talented young player and then flip him over to Europe.

[00:36:00]

And Pellegrini seems to have really struggled. Now, this is not a fair year to judge anybody, really, because it's unprecedented. But Pellegrini's seems to be really struggling to pick up on MLS.

[00:36:10]

Yeah, and it's been all six games, right. So we should give him some time.

[00:36:16]

One thing that I've heard regarding Pellegrin, and it's really interesting from a source, there's this new initiative coming into MLS planned to come in. I can't even remember the specific term I've taken to calling it the Young Money Initiative. Basically, it qualifies certain players of a certain age at certain salary numbers. You can spend whatever they whatever you want on their transfer fee and they won't count as a designated player. From what I've been told, Pellegrini might eventually fall into that category, which would open up another deep spot for Miami, which could be interesting.

[00:36:46]

So who knows? I mean, I'm willing to give the kid more time. He's got some talent.

[00:36:52]

And Sam, the adjustment period for young Argentinian players and young South Americans, like as much as you know, Miguel, you don't hit the ground running and they got sold to twenty five million. There have been plenty of players who are end up becoming very good, who are very good. That take a while to settle this league is well into this league for you. Like what are the difficulties in settling into Major League Soccer?

[00:37:15]

Yeah, well, there's a lot, right. First of all, it's a young person moving across the world that's first and foremost. That's a big thing, leaving everything and everyone, you know, behind. Second of all, you know, it's a different style of play. It's a fast style. And in some ways, it's in other ways it can be very physical. There's a lot of good athletes in this league. You know, the defending isn't always the greatest.

[00:37:38]

So you can see attacking players make that jump pretty successfully, pretty quickly. Pellegrini hasn't done that. It hasn't helped that he hasn't really had a forward to aim for through all of this. Like, that's that's a factor as well. But there are a million different things and all of them are exacerbated by being in a pandemic, too. So I would give him some air time.

[00:38:01]

You mentioned MLS and the reputation sort of precedes itself, especially with MLS is back. That tournament was just I mean, it was a fever dream at certain points. And I watch San Jose earthquakes. And the best way to describe it is Kokanee.

[00:38:18]

You know, that scene in that horrible scene in The Departed where Jack Nicholson throws like a mound of cocaine on the bed and his eyes look possessed?

[00:38:28]

That's sort of what my face looked like, watching San Jose earthquakes. Why is I guess the question, if there is one here is speaking of Kokanee, is why does MLS look so odd?

[00:38:42]

That that is a great question. And maybe this is a story that I should write to it. It's a combination of things, right? You have multimillion dollar attackers going up against right backs who are making sixty five thousand dollars and we're playing in western Michigan the year before. Right. That's that's one aspect that, like Carlos Vela is taking apart Germany's World Cup defense and that he's going up against. No disrespect to any of these people, but Eric Miller, who went to Creighton and has been bouncing around MLS for seven years, like, you know, it's it's just like the the difference there is large, right.

[00:39:22]

And so that's a part of it. In reference to San Jose, they play this completely unique style where they can work all over the field, which means not only in soccer, you pass off your attacker. If you're a defender to other people as he moves out of your zone, you're playing his own defense. San Jose, they run with everyone, so they follow their guys everywhere. And that's because their coach, Matthias Olmeda, who lives by the Samurai code, by the way, former Argentina World Cup player, kind of managed to ask and several clubs the river down in Argentina.

[00:39:55]

Guys, he's a legend on his own. He's got them on a different planet. Like the thing I kept hearing from players in the bubble down in Orlando is like, first of all, they all say San Jose is crazy. Like they're like they're like you see the guys walking around the hotel and they're just like the happiest people out there.

[00:40:17]

Like, nothing bothers them. They were like they were the first team to arrive in the bubble and and they're just haven't they played this game against Vancouver, which is among the craziest fans of any sport I've ever seen in my life. I mean, it ended at like 2:00 in the morning. They scored three goals in the last twenty minutes to win. Vancouver is one of the worst teams ever. And they went down three to one and then stormed back to win it.

[00:40:39]

It ends with them doing a dogpile like they just won the World Cup and the trainer taking the magic spray and like, firing it off in a circular motion like it's a smoke bomb and everyone just like losing their minds two in the morning in the swamp in Florida.

[00:40:57]

I love the earthquakes. They're amazing. Honestly, answer your question. Sam had to go off on a tangent. Sam, I've been cracking up the entire time you've been talking because in my mind, while you're talking, I'm just playing the role of them, just pin balling down. It's insane. The man mark every single person and the samurai code is a perfect way to describe it. If I'm ESPN, I lead sports center would just like here's forty minutes of San Jose earthquakes highlights.

[00:41:21]

It is the most insane looking soccer I have ever seen. Go ahead, Chris Kingscote.

[00:41:26]

I was just going to say, he said like a world class player playing in MLS is like playing FIFA on easy mode. Right. That's like essentially what you're saying it can be.

[00:41:35]

I don't want to disrespect these guys. You know, they are professional athletes and there are some good defenders in MLS too. So but yes, Carlos Vela can make it look like that. Yeah. Sam stays cool, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it. Look, we lost everybody by the time it got to San Jose earthquakes. But if you're one of the 17 people that stayed up to watch the Vancouver game, there is a huge smile on your face.

[00:41:59]

Chris Whittingham, the neutral observer of Chelsea, miked up. You said it so I can say it and also play by play, Voice of Inter Miami and our resident soccer lunkhead, Chris Codi. Thank you so much for joining us here on a local hour that probably has a cume right now of 25 people. We will annoy you in a couple of months time.