There is a real value to be discussed if Jermain Defoe is chosen for England’ World Cup roster. It could potentially nudge up global intrigue and awareness in a league increasingly blessed with World Cup-worthy talent – beyond the World Cup-worthy talent that plays in a U.S. shirt, that is.
Defoe, of course, was among two new Toronto FC players introduced by the suddenly very intriguing Canadian club today.
Michael Bradley may have sucked a bunch of media oxygen from the room – what, with all the debate about what this does for the development of the best U.S. player of the moment.
But there’s another big element to discuss in today’s newsiest of news days around BMO Field: does Toronto now own the best MLS striker?
Defoe hasn’t been a consistent starter at Spurs for the last few years, but he’s been an important element around White Hart Lane. And we are talking about a record $10 million man, a top-shelf striker who has 55 England caps.
So the question becomes this: where does Defoe rank straight-away among MLS strikers? Here’s where I would put the current Top 5:
1. Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy: He has 32 goals over 50 league games in the last two years. I’ll be shocked if Defoe can match that kind of prodigious production.
2. Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy: Familiarity with the league and a long history of “getting it done” in MLS puts the league’s all-time leading scorer ahead of Defoe in the rankings.
3. Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC: It will take the former Spurs man a few games to adjust, but expect him to produce regularly around BMO (especially with Michael Bradley running the midfield behind him).
4. Mike Magee, Chicago Fire: The league’s MVP might be hard-pressed to repeat his 21 goals last year – a career high by a long, long way – but it’s not unreasonable to expect something in the 14-16 range around Toyota Park this go-round.
T-5. Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls: His totals declined last year (from 15 goals in 2012 to 10), but the veteran Frenchman still scores some real doozies.
T-5. Camilo, Vancouver Whitecaps: His numbers were more than double Henry’s, and a Golden Boot-winning 22 is certainly worthy of Top 5 consideration. Then again, going from 5 goals in 2012 to 22 smells a bit like “lightning in a bottle.” Let’s watch this one. Besides, his status as an MLS man is a bit up in the air.