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

8 Comments

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.

Kane scores early and late, England narrowly top Tunisia

AP Photo/Sergei Grits
Leave a comment

England’s 2018 World Cup debut began brilliantly, then appeared headed for a disappointingly familiar outcome, but was ultimately saved by Harry Kane who scored both goals in the Three Lions’ 2-1 victory over Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

England came sprinting out of the starting blocks — so quickly they nearly took flight — and taking an early lead through Harry Kane in the 11th minute (WATCH HERE). John Stones‘ header was spectacularly saved by Mouez Hassen, but Kane was in the right place at the right time and swept home the rebound for his first World Cup goal (on his World Cup debut).

The opening half-hour was all England, with the likes of Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling cutting through the Tunisian midfield and defense with very little resistance and creating a half-dozen golden scoring chances. Unfortunately for Gareth Southgate‘s side, they couldn’t capitalize, and they were made to pay for it.

Kyle Walker caught Fakhreddine Ben Youssef with a raised arm as an innocuous cross came into the box, prompting referee Wilmar Roldan to blow his whistle and point to the penalty spot immediately. Ferjani Sassi stepped up and converted, just out of reach of Jordan Pickford, who perhaps got a fingertip on the ball (WATCH HERE), to make it 1-1 and negate an otherwise dominant first-half performance by England. It would be Tunisia’s only shot on goal for the game.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

England’s best chance to re-establish a lead came during a six-yard-box scramble just seconds before halftime. Alli’s header hit the crossbar and Stones badly scuffed — nearly whiffed — on the follow-up. Kane was dragged to the ground during the rest of the commotion, to no interest of Roldan.

It took far longer than anyone back home in England would have liked, but Kane grabbed the winner in the 91st minute, heading home from acres of space at the back post. Jordan Henderson got the first crack at heading the corner kick, but it was blocked and bound high into the air. Somehow, some way, Kane was unmarked and snuck his redirect just inside the post.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

Up next for England is a meeting with Panama on Sunday, a day after Tunisia take on Belgium, who thrashed the Panamanians, 3-0, on Monday.

VIDEO: Tunisia equalizes on controversial penalty kick

Leave a comment

England centerback Kyle Walker put his arm up to halt the forward progress of Fakhreddine Ben Youssef. Unfortunately for Walker, Ben Youssef was in the box and Walker’s elbow caught Ben Youssef’s face.

Referee Wilmar Roldan quickly whistled for a penalty kick and despite the protests from a half-dozen of England players and a check from the VAR, the called stood. Ferjani Sassi’stepped up to the spot and found the lower-left corner, just barely beating Jordan Pickford to tie the game in the 35th minute.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news

How will England respond?

VIDEO: Captain Kane puts England on the board early

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It may be the easiest goal-scoring opportunity Harry Kane‘s ever had in an international competition, and he finished it as easy as you’d like.

Kane side-footed home after Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen made a terrific save on John Stone’s header off a corner, but the save was directed right into a wide-open Kane who was standing ready inside the six yard box. The 11th minute goal will surely settle some of the Three Lions’ nerves as they open their World Cup bid in Russia.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news

After slow start, Belgium takes care of business against feisty Panama

Getty Images
Leave a comment

All it took was one goal to bring Belgium to life.

Following a frustrating first 45 minutes, in which Belgium put a pair of shots into the side netting and forced saves from Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, Dries Mertens 47th minute goal opened the floodgates, as Belgium went on to defeat Panama, 3-0, Monday afternoon in Sochi.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

But Panama never made it easy for the Belgians. From the opening whistle the CONCACAF nation showed its incredible spirit, chasing down Belgium all across the field and making life incredibly difficult for Belgium attackers Romelu Lukaku, Mertens and Eden Hazard. Hazard was hacked down all over the field, and while he did earn fouls and a few yellow cards were issued to Panamanian players, it was enough to get in Hazard’s head.

Two minutes into the second half, everything changed. A wonderstrike from Mertens opened the game, and forced Panama to attack and try and tie the match, which gave Hazard, de Bruyne and Lukaku more space to operate.

In the heat and humidity of the Sochi summer, Panama’s veteran defense began to tire, allowing de Bruyne the space to deliver a terrific assist to Lukaku in the box, putting Belgium up 2-0 in the 69th minute.

 

Six minutes later, Lukaku was put through on the break, chipping over Penedo to confirm the victory.

With the win, Belgium moves to the top of Group G. Up next for Belgium is Tunisia on Saturday, while Panama takes on England on Sunday.