Aston Villa v Bolton Wanderers - Carling Cup Third Round

Which U.S. players should switch Europe for MLS?


Some argue that should never return to places where you’ve succeeded in the past.

Well, a few national teamers have returned to MLS after excelling in North America in the past.

So, after US national team defenders Carlos Bocanegra and Clarence Goodson arrived back in MLS this week — after spending several seasons overseas in England, Scotland, Spain, Norway and Denmark collectively — can they excel and become regular starters in Jurgen Klinsmann’s side?

Only time will tell.

But let’s take a quick look at three current fringe US national team players who should switch back to Major League Soccer from Europe, to help reignite their USMNT careers.

Stuart Holden

He excelled at Bolton before his horrific injury at Old Trafford curtailed his fledgling EPL career. But all hope is not lost for the 27-year-old midfielder. Holden can show just how good he is with a likely starting spot for the USMNT in the Gold Cup this summer. And instead of languishing with Bolton in the Championship, Stu should return to MLS and show everyone just how good he is. I think his stock with the US national team will rise if he does.

Alejandro Bedoya

Okay, so after Glasgow Rangers’ demise, Bedoya has been hung out to dry a little. But even though the former Boston College attacked never made it to MLS, he should ply his trade back in the USA. A short-term deal looks to be coming to a close with Helsingborgs and Bedoya has been in incredible form since re-joining the Swedish outfit. At the age of 26, Bedoya’s next move will make or break his international career. Expect interest to pour in after a solid Gold Cup campaign.

Maurice Edu

Yes, Maurice has had his struggles over the past few years in a US jersey. But the 27-year-old is bouncing from club to club over in Europe without finding much of a home. Edu should return and dominate the midfield in MLS, just like he did during his rookie season. With Jermaine Jones not getting any younger, Edu could put up a serious challenge for that “destroyer” role in the US national team midfield. Which MLS sides would take him? Plenty. But maybe he should find out what the deal is at Stoke first, it has to be better for him with Mark Hughes in charge than it was when Tony Pulis was at the helm.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.