Who knows if Geoff Cameron’s move to Stoke City will happen, or if it will tumble into the waste basket of failed moves abroad? That’s all about larger MLS financial philosophy, asset protection, player valuation and slide rules that help determine all that critical sell-point information.
Either way, we inch ever closer to the day that U.S. national team matches come and go without MLS having anything to say about them. Cameron’s graduation from the Houston Dynamo into European soccer would move us further down the line.
Over the last couple of years, plenty of U.S. games have featured only two or three MLS men, but they have almost always been part of the proceedings. Now it’s fair to ask how much longer that might be the case?
As it is, Landon Donovan is the lone, remaining MLS man who can be considered a starter.
As more backups or sometimes-starters like Cameron, and peripheral U.S. figures in the player pool (think Robbie Rodgers) move abroad, the days of U.S. international contests regularly playing out without Major League Soccer representation are nearly upon us.
Not all of them will, of course, because there will always be a Brek Shea in the pipeline, a young man ready to contribute, but whose interest from abroad has yet to reach critical mass.
Check out the lineup from the last U.S. match, the recent World Cup qualifier against Guatemala:
Tim Howard; Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson (Geoff Cameron), Carlos Bocanegra, Fabian Johnson; Maurice Edu, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones; Landon Donovan (Kyle Beckerman), Clint Dempsey, Herculez Gomez
The only MLS men among that group of 13, of course, are Cameron, Donovan and Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman.
None of this is a bad development. MLS is what it is in 2012 – a lower rung on the global game’s ladder, where players will be developed and sold for financial gain, as well as for the player’s overall betterment.
Irony is, as Major League Soccer has improved, it’s become more of a “seller’s league,” not less of one.