October 27, 2012; Chester, PA USA; New York Red Bulls defender Heath Pearce (3) and Philadelphia Union midfielder Danny Cruz (44) collide while heading the ball in the second half at PPL Park in Chester. The Red Bull defeated the Union, 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Which USMNT player should leave MLS and who should return? (Defender Edition)

Continuing in this series, here’s a look at one which defenders should consider joining or leaving MLS. Instead of creating a laundry list of players that should leave or join MLS, I decided to focus on one player for each category.

As I mentioned in my keeper edition with the transfer window a couple of weeks away, there will be lots of rumors about players moving clubs. With February qualifiers not too far away, there will be players in (as well as on the buddle) of the USMNT player pool that will be making moves.

Who should join MLS to enhance his status and in turn enhance the USMNT Player Pool: Jonathan Spector 

I really believe that the versatile Spector (he’s played all the defender positions as well as midfield in his club career) would be best suited as a CB. The main positions in the back four that he has played has been at fullback. Unfortunately, I don’t think he has the pace to be a fullback at the international level. However, I think he’s comfortable with the ball at his feet and his a solid passer which is exactly what Coach K wants from his CB position.  He’s plays quite  a lot for his club Birmingham City but the team is a mess and he’d be in the starting line up every game with a MLS team. Will he do it? Nope, he’s making too much $$ in Europe and while he’s not a sure bet to make the WC squad, he’s probably one of the top alternates at worse.

Who should leave MLS to enhance his status and in turn enhance the USMNT Player Pool: Heath Pearce

The obvious answer in Omar Gonzalez but I didn’t want to go with someone easy. So, why Heath? Because at 28 yrs of ago, this is probably his last chance to go abroad and make a case from himself. If he doesn’t, then he’ll probably never get a chance to be given serious minutes with the national team ever again. He has some versatility but I think he needs to challenge himself to see if he can make a step forward with his game.

Be on the look out for the next part of this series as I’ll explore the same question with  midfielders.

Tags: Americans Abroad Football MLS Soccer Transfers Us Soccer USMNT

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