Today’s allocation of United States men’s national team midfielder Benny Feilhaber to the New England Revolution (pending any trades) has sparked discussion over which Yanks should return home to MLS. The Union, who passed on Feilhaber, are still sitting in the second spot in the league’s allocation order, and as such they could grab a USMNT veteran of their own this summer.
Barring a trade for Feilhaber, the I-95 rivalry has now been injected with a large amount of American star power. DC United boasts the league’s leading scorer in Charlie Davies. New York is home to two emerging national team stars in Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream. And New England has now added a talented attacking midfielder in Benny Feilhaber.
The Union, on the other hand, lack a relevant USMNT player who could be that final piece to the puzzle. A number of players have been rumored to be on the outs with their European clubs and mulling offers to return to MLS, like DaMarcus Beasley, Freddy Adu, or Eddie Johnson.
But one player, above all others, would take the Union to the next level. He would fit seamlessly into their system and his signing (in the summer, of course) would be a statement by the Union that the team is serious about winning championships.
Like Feilhaber, Michael Bradley is a talented central midfielder with a knack for scoring against the Yanks’ eternal rivals, Mexico. But Bradley fits the system that Union coach Peter Nowak uses even more perfectly.
In the starting lineup that the Union have been using recently, Bradley would essentially fill right in for Stefani Miglioranzi. He would play a very similar role to Miglioranzi, but Bradley is a far superior player and would perform that role the way that Nowak really needs.
Bradley and fellow central midfielder Brian Carroll would combine to be the best midfield tandem in the league, even better than Colorado’s duo of Jeff Larentowicz and Pablo Mastroeni and slightly better than the Revolution’s new pairing of Shalrie Joseph and Benny Feilhaber. Carroll and Bradley have the positional sense and the tactical awareness to know when to press forward and when to hold back, and Bradley possesses the ability that the Union have lacked most his year; that is, the ability to link between the defense and the forwards.
So is it even plausible? Could, and would, Michael Bradley come to Major League Soccer? His contract with Borussia Moenchengladbach ends this summer, and he has been playing out the rest of that contract on loan at Aston Villa. Villa have an option to sign him to an extension at the end of this season if they so desire, but Bradley has not gotten many minutes during his spell at Villa and at times has not even made the 18-man matchday squad. Bradley cannot be pleased with the way his loan has gone, and certainly would not prefer to return to Germany, where his team will almost certainly be relegated at the end of this season. He could turn his sights to MLS.
Bradley would probably command a salary slightly higher to that of Feilhaber, and so therefore would almost certainly be a Designated Player. The Union, who are just one year removed from expansion and who missed the playoffs last year, probably have a good amount of allocation money to throw around which would allow them to pay a DP.
What do you think of the idea of Michael Bradley in a Union jersey? Would you rather see someone else? If the Union couldn’t have Bradley, then secondary options like Jermaine Jones or Carlos Bocanegra would also be excellent additions. Leave your thoughts in the comments section.