With the signing of American international Michael Bradley last week, Major League Soccer took another step forward in its commitment to improving the league.
On the heels of the Clint Dempsey signing last fall and the recent re-signings of United States men’s national team regulars Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez and Graham Zusi, MLS is also proving that it can now be a realistic alternative to a career in Europe for top American players.
Here are six American players the league should go after next.
Despite the fact that Bobby Wood earned his first international cap against Bosnia-Herzegovina in August, most Americans still don’t know who he is.
The 21-year-old forward plays for Bundesliga 2 side 1860 Munich, but starts are rare. In five seasons abroad, he has only made nine. This season, he is averaging 16 minutes per league game for 1860.
A talented young attacker like Wood would be a plus for any stagnant MLS offense and good for Wood as well. He’s still at a young age and needs regular games.
Diskerud is affordable (transfermarkt.co.uk rates his transfer value at slightly less than $2 million) and would provide an offensive spark to any team he joined. His current club Rosenborg would probably be willing to deal, as he is free to leave when his contract expires at the end of the 2014 season.
At 22 years of age, Terrence Boyd may still have a bigger European move left to make, but he has been plying his trade, relatively anonymously, in the Austrian Bundesliga for the past two seasons.
His 29 goals in all competitions over the past two seasons make him an attractive target and he is a natural finisher in front of goal. He’s relatively cheap (transfermarkt.co.uk rates his transfer value at less than $2 million) and would likely become a fan favorite due to his expressive personality.
This deal could be done any day now, but negotiations to bring Maurice Edu back to MLS have reportedly snagged over his salary.
Edu has had a nightmare stint with Stoke City over the past year-and-a-half, playing only a measly 10 minutes in all competitions over two seasons.
This one is good for the league and good for Edu.
Joe Corona had a breakout season for Tijuana in 2012-13, but has seen a steady decline in playing time over the past year-and-a-half. He started 13 games in the 2012-13 Apertura as Tijuana won the Liga MX championship, but then only started seven games in the 2012-13 Clausura. In the 2013-14 Apertura, that trend continued as he only started five times.
If Corona cannot find regular playing time to showcase his considerable attacking skills, a move to MLS makes sense. And like Diskerud, Boyd and Wood, Corona’s skill set would be an instant upgrade to almost any side.
After the World Cup, an MLS grab for DaMarcus Beasley makes a lot of sense. Beasley was a fan favorite in five seasons with the Chicago Fire and a move home towards the end of his playing career is a common move for Americans abroad.
His ability to play as a left-back, left wing or even as a withdrawn forward gives him a versatility most teams would enjoy.
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