Hey Rico, Stu: Hold the Cab I’m Coming With…

It’s been a great week here at TSG from our opening rivals piece, to the community gathering on Tuesday and to Wednesday’s piece and your support of Little Feet. (If you didn’t check out our Little Feet piece, please do.)

Now promise me you'll call every night...

…and it continues today with a knockout of a first-time piece by TSG community member Brian Mechanick of Philadelphia and Ann Arbor U.

Brian’s a seasoned writer, penning pieces for the Michigan Daily and CHorridus.com (a Philly Union blog which is dynamite). B-Mac’s also a USMNT fan and a Tottenham Hotspur fan. Two out of three isn’t bad Brian.


After an MLS offseason that saw young USMNT players Ricardo Clark and Stu Holden transfer to Europe, it’s now time for the next wave of players to get the chance to showcase their skill in the best leagues of the world. I’m going to focus here on the seven young Americans playing domestically and where they should move to abroad to best further their careers:

Rogers needs to take his balancing act overseas

1. Robbie Rogers – PSV Einhoven

Robbie is no stranger to the Eredivisie, having been a member of Heerenveen in his first professional season. He was unable to break into the first-team in the Netherlands, but since he has come back to the States he has developed into a premier MLS player. I think Rogers would do well to return to Holland as a member of a PSV side that helped DaMarcus Beasley to the best years of his career. The team is managed by Fred Rutten, a Guus Hiddink protégé, who has led them into Champions League contention.  With winger Balázs Dzsudzsák a transfer target this summer, Rogers could find himself playing time quickly at PSV.

2. Sacha Kljestan – Paris Saint-Germain

Ah, Sacha Kljestan. Hard to believe that less than one year ago he was starting against Brazil in the Confederations Cup. Since then, the majestic haired attacking midfielder has fallen way out of form and has gotten himself a girlfriend that looks like this. So… we’ll call it even. Still, everyone can agree that he needs to move to Europe for his game to keep growing.  We can’t stick Sacha and his WAG in some backwater town, so how about a move Paris with PSG? With Claude Makélélé not getting any younger, you could see Sacha taking an attacking role as Jérémy Clément replaces Claude. Hey, if PSG was good enough for Ronaldinho, it’s good enough for Sacha.

Gonzo is definitely ready for better competition...

3. Omar Gonzalez – Everton

I’m going to defer to TSG Headquarters who already suggested this move, but I absolutely love it. David Moyes is a fantastic manager and there may be no better place for Americans abroad. With a defense that isn’t exactly top notch (as giving up two goals to West Ham today shows) and Sylvan Distin not exactly setting the world on fire, I could see Omar quickly becoming a starter at Goodison Park.

4. Jonathan Bornstein – Wigan Athletic

The Latics have been the most inconsistent team in the EPL this season, and their leaky defense (9-1 to Spurs ring a bell?) has been their biggest weakness. With arguably their best player in LB Maynor Figueroa likely moving this offseason, Wigan is in the need for a replacement. Bornstein, who is very talented going forward, would fill in suitably for Figueroa’s dynamic role on the team. For all their problems, Roberto Martinez has installed a nice brand of football with the Latics, and it would do Johnny B. well to go up against top-flight wingers week in and week out.

5. Chad Marshall – SC Freiburg

I admit I have ulterior motives for this one. The USMNT chatter has begun to focus on 21 year-old German left back Daniel Williams, who has US eligibility. I’m sending our boy Chad over to be a diplomat of the Yanks, to convince young Daniel to ditch däs Deutsche for Coach Sweatpants and the USA.  Presuming Freiburg is able to stay up this year, Marshall could really improve its putrid defense that is tied for 3rd worst in the Bundesliga. I’d like to see Marshall work on his game against the likes of Edin Dzeko and Mario Gomez.

6. Robbie Findley – SC Braga

Robbie is a guy who I think could benefit from playing in the more open football in the Portuguese Liga. Braga, who will likely be playing in the Champions League next year, has had a fine season despite a major dearth of scoring. Leading scorer Ze Meyong has only 9 goals, so Findley could be an instant impact guy on the side. Braga has shown an interest in American talent, acquiring U-20 layer Gale Agbossoumonde recently, so they wouldn’t seem to be averse to going after a guy like Findley. Let’s hope Robbie could have the success in Portugal that Freddy Adu has not.

7. Heath Pearce – Newcastle United

After a one-year stay in the Championship, Newcastle United is coming back next year to the Premiership, and will need some new players to strengthen the side. Heath Pearce excelled in Denmark, and if not for a fallout with Hansa Rostock, he would still be in Europe. The man is too talented for MLS. Fullback is an obvious need for Newcastle, and Pearce could be the man to lock down left back for the Magpies. Pearce would do well to learn from manager Chris Hughton, an excellent former fullback with Spurs and an Ireland international. The man has done an excellent job since taking over the team in-crisis and swiftly and decisively led them back to the EPL. Everyone in England is excited to see Newcastle back in the top-flight, and it sure would be exciting to see Heath coming through the tunnel of St. James Park with the new, retooled Toons.

37 responses to this post.

  1. Some nice ideas, especially as my suggestion in the MLS Jumble was to send Rogers back to Holland. I like the moves for Sasha and Gonzalez as well, Findley is another one who would seem to benefit from some better competition in a higher league.


  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/07 at 11:17 PM

    Good article Brian.

    Here are some thoughts:

    1) We need to start a campaign to get Gonzo over to Everton. Can’t we just make the Galaxy part of the Everton reserves and move players up and down

    2) I like Rogers move but I could also see him at Celtic as well…he needs to get a little bit more nasty with his size…so sending him to the SPL might work wonders…he’d be like a Kieran Richardson on the outside (only without the #fails in big situations)

    3) A lot of folks don’t think that Borny is EPL quality — I disagree…starting him out at Wigan might be difficult because he needs to build his confidence…might he be a good fit at say Middlesborough first (who them have a pipeline of players up to the Premiership?)

    4) Forcing Chad Marshall to the technical German league is a good move and exactly what he needs…

    5) Heath Pearce, absolutely stellar call on Newcastle…fits his personality and style of play

    Some other players fit for overseas from MLS…I’d like to see Sean Franklin at Arsenal…at some point (I know..aggressive..I’m also a founding member of the Franklin bandwagon)

    I’d like to see Dax McCarthy at Sampdoria feeding Antonio Cassano…if Pirlo’s frame can make it in that league…


    • Posted by Berg on 2010/04/08 at 10:20 AM

      I’m really becoming a fan of Gonzalez. He’s got size and a savvy that seems above his experience level. Everton would be absolutely fantastic. Maybe Donovan can sneak him over on the next trip across the pond, though I doubt he’s one to fit in the overhead bin.


  3. Posted by Marcos on 2010/04/07 at 11:34 PM

    i think i rather see robbie in spain instead. Perhaps with a team like Depor or why not villareal?? a fast tempo league that would show him how to master that pottential he has while still posessing control of the ball and better his technique


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/07 at 11:36 PM

      @Marcos…another good idea.

      I’d like to see Rogers shrug off physical challenges a little more, play to the strength of his size, but I understand “honing” his technical abilities..


    • I’d love to ultimately see Robbie in La Liga, but I don’t think he’s ready yet to start week in and week out in league of that caliber. I’d rather see him improve and get regular playing time in Holland, a league which values possession in a way that MLS does not. If there’s anything that the American players who have been successful abroad has taught us, it’s that it’s better to go to a lesser club where you can play than having to spend years fighting for appearances at higher quality sides.


      • Exactly my thoughts. As well stated in the article it worked for Beasley, at least till he fell off the edge of the earth as far as playing time goes.


    • Id like to see rogers learn how to pass the ball


  4. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/08 at 5:18 AM

    Some interesting food for thought. Great article.

    Matthew, the only issue I have with Rogers moving to Scotland is the quality of the teams outside the Old Firm (who would not come close to finishing in a CL spot in a major European league) – they just don’t play enough football on the deck. Plus, I feel that the Dutch template of a 4-3-3 would be a brilliant move for a winger – I love this call B-Mac.

    Also, it’s not like 2006 where you had players plying their trade in the MLS (Dempsey is a classic example of getting a transfer on the back of the World Cup). My point is that all of your first XI don’t play in the MLS anymore, so the fringe MLS players might not get a chance to put themselves in the ‘shop window’ this summer, so to speak.


    • Completely agree on going to Holland vs. Scotland for a player of his ilk, he’ll get plenty of seasoning on the physical side of the ball against some of those Dutch midfielders, just look at van Bommel’s tackles yesterday on Rooney and co.

      You’re right, their opportunities will be more limited this time around but they will still be there. And, with the world getting smaller and smaller by the minute, most of the clubs scouting the MLS and USMNT looking for talent have plenty of opportunities to view the wares on display, i.e. the Costa Rica game where Rogers was arguably the spark-plug that got things going. True that wasn’t the biggest stage, but WC Qualifying is a decent sized stage regardless of the region (excluding OCEANA).


  5. Posted by Colin on 2010/04/08 at 6:11 AM

    I like the article for the most part, but the heath pearce one may be off…as a newcastle fan, I have to say that Pearce would have a lot of work to do before ousting Jose Enrique from left back. Enrique and Jonas Gutierrez have linked up phenomonally this season on the left. Enrique is a 24 year old spaniard and still has his best days yet to come. They call him “The Bull” and at least from what I have gathered, a majority of the fans like him. He has made 34 appearances at left back this season and 26 last season in the premier league. Any of his time out was due to injury because when he is healthy, he is the de facto left back on tyneside.

    His performance this season has earned him at least a consideration from Del Bosque for a bench spot on the Spanish roster for the world cup.

    Coloccini is a sub-standard premier league central defender tho…could you find someone to play in the middle of defense at Newcastle? Would have been nice for them to have held onto Gooch when they had him on loan from St Liege…but o well.


    • Pick Gooch back up on loan while AC Milan is trying to figure out which retirement home to put their current CBs in. Without funnyman Bramble back there I think Gooch’s impact could be much better this time around.


      • Posted by Colin on 2010/04/08 at 11:46 AM

        haha true…without Bramble back there, i think even I could have a better impact. I can only imagine how strong they would be had they also held onto Bassong and paired him up with Goochl. For now, in the championship, sideshow bob coloccini will do.


    • I like Enrique, but I remember hearing some noise about a transfer coming for him, possibly to Sunderland? I think Newcastle would be wise to sell high on Enrique an re-invest the funds, perhaps in getting a new cheaper left back (e.g. Pearce) and an upgrade at another position, like center-half.

      All honesty though, the original team I thought of moving Pearce to was Nottingham Forest, but I would only want the move done if the won the playoff. I like Pearce at Newcastle a lot, but totally agree that if Enrique becomes a mainstay, it is not the spot for Heath.


      • Posted by Colin on 2010/04/08 at 11:43 AM

        Its always a possibility for the best players to be sold with the current owner of newcastle (more interested in $$$s than Ws)…so yea, if Enrique were sold for a high fee…reinvesting it in a more solid CB and Pearce at LB would be a good move. To be honest tho, I have not seen much of Pearce.


      • Posted by Colin on 2010/04/08 at 11:48 AM

        o yea…and no way enrique goes to the mackems…hes way too good for that scum.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/08 at 12:56 PM

          Take a look at the league tables Colin – you’ll see that Sunderland are in the Prem, which suggests that they’re currently a better team than Newcastle Utd…


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/08 at 1:06 PM

          Technically George that means Sunderland were better last year…this year…I’d say it’s pretty even…Lee Cattermole killed the latter.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/08 at 1:11 PM

          I’m just pulling his leg. It cracks me up when a team in a lower division slates their local rival who happens to be in the league above…

          Steve Bruce left Palace high and dry – I would loveit if they failed, love it (in a Keegan-esque ranting voice!).


        • Posted by Colin on 2010/04/09 at 10:52 AM

          haha yea yea…theyre in the prem and may or may not be a better team in terms of talent…that still doesnt make them any less scum. I have to say that…youll understand.


  6. Posted by Jim from NC on 2010/04/08 at 9:17 AM

    I thought it was very funny that you put the inconsistent Jonathan Bornstein on the inconsistent Wigan side. I had to read the article twice just to make sure you were not poking fun people.


  7. Posted by marcos on 2010/04/08 at 10:12 AM

    wow just read some surprising news. El chicharito hernandez from chivas (mexico) just signed a deal with manchester united wtf! this should defenetly give us some hope that some of our players can have an outstandidng season an perhaps get some interest from europe as well, I know its random but do u guys have any toughts on this? Can this happen to a young and prosperous american player?


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/08 at 10:32 AM

      United have taken a gamble as do all the big clubs when it comes to signing young promising players – especially ahead of the World Cup where a good tournament will see his value increase. He’s obviously a very talented player, but look at the players who go to Uniited and ‘fail’ – Howard, Rossi and Spector should ring a bell…


      • There’s also Forlan, Djemba Djemba, Kieran Richardson, Berbatov, and I’m sure there are plenty more who aren’t CONCACAF national teamers.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/08 at 11:21 AM

          Didn’t mean to touch a nerve Nick – just used those guys as examples, as this is predominantly a US board. I could have mentioned Milne, Miller, Veron, Poborski, Taibi… but not sure if people’s memories stretch that far back. I think you’re slightly paranoid, as you always think I am taking a pop!


        • Only a little paranoid, but the point is still valid if you look beyond the homer paranoia. By the way you forgot to mention Jovan Kirovski and Kenny Cooper if you wanted to get all the yanks in there.

          United has had some great players and some collosal failures. Veron is a perfect example of someone who just didn’t really live up to their potential whilst in England; even at Chelsea he wasn’t what he was made out to be.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/08 at 1:05 PM

          I think you’re missing my original point. I am not bashing CONECAF players. I said that all the big clubs take a gamble when it comes to *young* (and *unproven*) players from ‘less competitive’ leagues (and that includes the Championship) – they’re all after the next Rooney or Messi, and are trying to get these scarce gems before their competitors and before their price sky rockets.


  8. Posted by Tom M on 2010/04/08 at 10:17 AM

    I know this is off topic for this thread but thought it newsworthy. Always was a big fan of Claudio’s and hopefully he does well in his new job. I like this selection.


  9. Posted by Tom M on 2010/04/08 at 10:39 AM

    In regards to Hernandez moving to Manchester I think there are a couple of ways of looking at it. Obviously Sir Alex has seen some upside in him and its not just putting up numbers. It could be just taking a flyer on a player where if it doesnt pan out not much is lost. The Mexican league is hard to judge on numbers alone ( ie Hercules). If you put Altidore in that league what kind of numbers do you think he would put up? Heck even Adu probably could put up some stats in the Mike Dantoni ( no defense) league. The American player for me to watch is Bedoya. With continued good play in Sweden and some positive minutes ( if he makes the plane) could see him moving to a bigger league for next season.


  10. Posted by KL on 2010/04/08 at 11:08 AM

    Hey not sure if you guys have seen this yet or not but it looks like Duece is back to the training table. Hopefully we don’t have to downgrade him to MEDIC!



  11. Posted by Dylan on 2010/04/08 at 11:33 AM

    I think I’ve become an Olic fan after the series with Man U. That guy’s pure hustle.


    • He would fit perfectly on the Bob Bradley All-Time “Hard Tryers” XI. Though he also has a touch of finishing ability that sets him apart from the other ten on the “Hard Tryers”


  12. Posted by pino on 2010/04/08 at 3:31 PM

    Those mexicans sure love going to the big name clubs. Then they wonder why none of them get playing time. Their ego’s are too big for their own good!


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/08 at 3:55 PM

      Remember Hugo Sanchez? He’s probably achieved more in the game than all Americans put together…


      • Posted by Dave on 2010/04/08 at 8:47 PM

        While I sort of agree with pino that Chicharito to a club like PSV might be a better fit, do you think the striped nanny-goats(Chivas rayadas) management would rather have the small transfer fee or the big one? I have to think the player’s salary may well be higher too, and soccer is after all a profession and a business as well as a game.
        Who knows how it will turn out, as GeorgeCross pointed out, Hugo Sánchez did well. Could also mention Rafa Márquez as having had some success. Anyway, I see no reason not to wish any player a good run (if giving good effort) and no nasty career-ending injuries.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/09 at 5:57 AM

          I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of United loaning out Hernandez – epecially if he has work permit issues – for some reason, other EU member states have more relaxed conditions…


  13. […] you think Sacha Kljestan from the MLS could hack it in Ligue 1 at PSG?  [Credit:  Shin […]


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