[MLS SPOTLIGHT]MLS Americans aren't the only players waiting for word whether they'll be called up to the World Cup.Jermain Defoe, who is set to return to action for Toronto FC on Saturday against New England (live on UDN at 1 p.m. ET), is one of 14 MLS foreigners with a legitimate case for going to the World Cup, though it's far from certain he'll join England in Brazil.
Non-USA World Cup Hopefuls:
Tim Cahill(New York)
Julio Cesar(Toronto FC)
Jairo Arrieta (Columbus)
Giancarlo Gonzalez (Columbus)
Waylon Francis (Columbus)
Roy Miller(New York)
Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake)
Jermain Defoe (Toronto FC)
Jerry Bengtson (New England)
Victor Bermudez (San Jose)
Marvin Chavez (Colorado)
Oscar Boniek Garcia (Houston)
Johnny Leveron (Vancouver)
Steven Beitashour (Vancouver)
Defoe, whose annual salary of $6 million is tied with that of teammate Michael Bradley for the highest in MLS, scored three goals in his first three games, but hasn't played for more than a month since suffering a hamstring injury.
Defoe says the injury, which forced him to miss three games, gave him a chance to get some rest needed after playing straight through since August when he began the season at Tottenham.
"Luckily enough," he told reporters on Wednesday, "it wasn't something that was too serious. It was just a case of resting and doing your rehab stuff."
Defoe, who hopes he'll come back stronger for Toronto, dismissed the notion that the layoff will impact England coach Roy Hodgson's decision to take him to the World Cup.
"I missed three games," said Defoe. "It happens in football, players get injured. But if you miss three games and that changes the fact that you could, I don't know, go to a tournament, that's crazy."
Defoe is no shoo-in to go to the World Cup, though the injury to Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez that has ruled him out of the World Cup eliminated one of the players Defoe is believed to be battling for one or two spots on the England roster behind the frontline trio of Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck.
If Hodgson takes five forwards, Defoe is probably fine, but if only four go, Rickie Lambert, another Southampton forward, might beat out Defoe.