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Clubs rely heavily on foreigners in front sixes
by Paul Kennedy, April 21st, 2014 9:09PM
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[MLS SPOTLIGHT] A majority of 2014 U.S. World Cup players will likely come from MLS teams -- in a sharp contrast to four years ago when only four of 23 players were based in MLS -- but the MLS pool of players Coach Jurgen Klinsmann has to pick from remains quite small. A survey of the front sixes MLS clubs started last week shows that just 40 percent of the midfielders and forwards are Americans eligible for the national team.

Liberal import rules mean MLS teams can give international player slots to eight players, more if they want to trade for slots, and that doesn't include players who hold green cards. The dilemma is nothing new. In many leagues, foreigners hold down key attacking positions.

Only five of 19 teams -- including Philadelphia in its second game of the week -- started a majority of American players in their front sixes last week.

Two teams -- Portland and Vancouver -- did not start any Americans eligible for the national team -- the Timbers' Canadian international Will Johnson is American -- while three marquee matches -- Portland-Real Salt Lake, Vancouver-LA Galaxy and FC Dallas-Toronto FC -- were played with only two U.S. national team-eligible players holding down the 12 midfield and forward spots.

Looking toward the future, just 10 of the American starters were under the age of 24. Of those 10, three were rookies and three were second-year pros.

After the USA with 45 starters in front six positions, Argentina led all other countries with 11 starters, followed by Brazil with nine, Canada with six and France and England with five.

Of note were the number of foreigners with college experience (13), and how few Americans had not played college soccer (7). All told, almost 44 percent of the players (51 of 116) had college experience.

Chivas USA (2)
AGE PLAYER (COUNTRY)
33 Mauro Rosales (Argentina)
18 Marky Delgado (USA)
23 *Carlos Alvarez (USA)
31 Agustin Pelletieri (Argentina)
23 Leandro Barrera (Argentina)
21 Erick Torres (Mexico)

Colorado Rapids (4)
22 *Jared Watts (USA)
29 *Nick LaBrocca (USA)
23 *Dillon Powers (USA)
34 Vicente Sanchez (Uruguay)
32 *Edson Buddle (USA)
23 *Deshorn Brown (Jamaica)

Columbus Crew (2)
25 *Hector Jimenez (USA)
21 *Wil Trapp (USA)
25 *Tony Tchani (Cameroon)
25 *Bernardo Anor (Venezuela)
29 Federico Higuain (Argentina)
28 *Dominic Oduro (Ghana)

Chicago Fire (4)
28 *Patrick Nyarko (Ghana)
30 *Jeff Larentowicz (USA)
25 Alex (Brazil)
22 *Harry Shipp (USA)
29 Mike Magee (USA)
26 *Quincy Amarikwa (USA)

FC Dallas (1)
21 Fabian Castillo (Colombia)
32 Michel (Brazil)
29 Hendry Thomas (Honduras)
30 Je-Vaughan Watson (Jamaica)
23 Mauro Diaz (Argentina)
23 David Texeira (Uruguay)

D.C. United (5)
31 *Chris Rolfe (USA)
22 *Perry Kitchen (USA)
33 *Davy Arnaud (USA)
23 *Nick DeLeon (USA)
28 Fabian Espindola (Argentina)
30 Eddie Johnson (USA)

Houston Dynamo (3)
26 Andrew Driver (Scotland)
31 *Ricardo Clark (USA)
29 Oscar Boniek Garcia (Honduras)
24 *Tony Cascio (USA)
24 *Will Bruin (USA)
25 Giles Barnes (England)
   
LA Galaxy (2)
32 Marcelo Sarvas (Brazil)
25 Juninho (Brazil)
31 Stefan Ishizaki (Sweden)
26 *Baggio Husidic (USA)
33 Robbie Keane (Ireland)
32 Landon Donovan (USA)

Montreal Impact (2)
24 *Calum Mallace (Scotland)
34 Patrice Bernier (Canada)
29 Justin Mapp (USA)
23 Felipe Martins (Brazil)
25 *Collen Warner (USA)
37 Marco Di Vaio (Italy)

New England Revolution (2)
27  *Lee Nguyen (USA)
27 Saer Sene (France)
31 *Andy Dorman (Wales)
31 Daigo Kobayashi (Japan)
19 Diego Fagundez (Uruguay)
24 *Teal Bunbury (USA)

New York (2)
29 Lloyd Sam (England)
26 *Dax McCarty (USA)
34 Peguy Luyindula (France)
26 *Eric Alexander (USA)
29 Bradley Wright-Phillips (England)
39 Thierry Henry (France)

Philadelphia Union (3.5)
32 *Brian Carroll (USA)/22 *Leo Fernandes (Brazil)
28 *Maurice Edu (USA)
26 Vincent Nogueira (France)
27 Christian Maidana (Argentina)
23 *Andrew Wenger (USA)
32 *Conor Casey (USA)/30 Sebastien Le Toux (France)

Portland Timbers (0)
28 Diego Chara (Colombia)
27 Will Johnson (Canada)
27 Diego Valeri (Argentina)
23 Kalif Alhassan (Ghana)
23 Maximiliano Urruti (Argentina)
23 *Darlington Nagbe (Liberia)

Real Salt Lake (2)
31 Kyle Beckerman (USA)
25 *Luke Mulholland (England)
30 *Ned Grabavoy (USA)
34 Javier Morales (Argentina)
32 Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica)
21 Olmes Garcia (Colombia)

San Jose Earthquakes (5)
29 Atiba Harris (St. Kitts & Nevis)
27 *Shea Salinas (USA)
21 *JJ Koval (USA)
27 *Sam Cronin (USA)
31 *Chris Wondolowski (USA)
32 *Alan Gordon (USA)

Seattle Sounders (2)
26 *Lamar Neagle (USA)
28 Osvaldo Alonso (Cuba)
31 Gonzalo Pineda (Mexico)
26 Marco Pappa (Guatemala)
31 *Clint Dempsey (USA)
29 Obafemi Martins (Nigeria)

Sporting KC (3)
29 *Lawrence Olum (Kenya)
31 Paulo Nagamura (Brazil)
29 *Benny Feilhaber (USA)
27 *Sal Zizzo (USA)
23 *Dom Dwyer (England)
27 *Graham Zusi (USA)

Toronto FC (1)
25 Jackson (Brazil)
26 Michael Bradley (USA)
23 *Kyle Bekker (Canada)
29 Issey Nakajima-Farran (Canada)
21 Jonathan Osorio (Canada)
24 Gilberto (Brazil)

Vancouver Whitecaps (0)
22 Gershon Koffie (Ghana)
22 Matias Laba (Argentina)
28 Pedro Morales (Chile)
21 Russell Teibert (Canada)
23 *Darren Mattocks (Jamaica)
34 Kenny Miller (Scotland)
*Played college soccer.


1 comment
  1. Allan Lindh
    commented on: April 22, 2014 at 12:01 p.m.
    Of note is the number of US players up front for San Jose, a Frank Yallup built team that two years ago won the Supporters Shield, with a very low budget, and a predominant US lineup. And who now has 4 out of 6 attackers from the US -- Frank Yallup in Chicago. Because he builds teams, rather than just throwing money at foreign skill players and hoping for the best. Kuddos to Ben Olson in DC and Pablo in Denver, two intelligent former US midfielders who seem to be attempting something similar.

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