Major League Soccer is looking outside of the U.S. to fill in the holes left by the move of American players to Europe. The likes of Kansas City's Eddie Johnson (England), New England's Pat Noonan (Norway) and Houston's Nate Jaqua (Austria) have all sought better opportunities across the Atlantic this month. Meanwhile, Latino-friendly D.C. United dipped its hand further into the South American market once again, signing four players from Argentina, Colombia and Peru.
The trend of promising young Americans like Johnson, Troy Perkins and Brad Guzan trading MLS for Europe is understandable. It's equally understandable that MLS wants to replace them with lower-priced talent from Latin America. However, it's troubling to see the league losing lesser-known but still well-established players like Jaqua and Noonan. These guys are headed overseas for far bigger paydays than they'd be getting here at home. It's guys like these that "form the backbone of the league's top teams," says the Sun-Sentinel's Jeff Rusnak, and they're far more numerous than the league's top stars.