Ranking the Top 10 Premier League Imports to MLS on Performance

Since it's inception, Major League Soccer has been dependent on big names from across the pond for an infusion of much needed talent and publicity. Premier League players make for logical targets for MLS teams willing to spend the cash. A handful of former English club stars who came to the States to play in the American competition have made a mark. The list isn't long, however.There are many more players going from MLS to the Premier League than the other way around. Even allowing for players who had a stop in-between their Prem careers and their MLS signings (see the bloke above) and those who started in MLS, played in the Premier League and then returned, the number is relatively small. But let's see how deep we can go, shall we? Here are the top ten Premier League imports to MLS ranked by their performance in the States (including players who didn't arrive directly from England).  Begin Slideshow
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US National Team Players in MLS: Reviewing the Americans’ Performances

Major League Soccer and the USMNT are tied together like bacon and scallops. The MLS bacon imbues the USMNT scallop with a certain smokey flavor. Or, it did. The amount of MLS bacon has dwindled in recent years, to the point that the direct impact of the league on the USMNT is at an all-time low. There are still a handful of MLS players in the USMNT mix. Those who can make Klinsmann's cut are generally the league's biggest stars. This past weekend in MLS, the number of USMNT players playing was limited by schedule quirks and U-23 Olympic qualifying. Those Americans playing in America's top league—as more and more of their countrymen go abroad for brighter lights and bigger paychecks—who manage to get called-up are most often in positions of greatest National Team need. See: Cameron, Geoff. Quick show of hands: How many of you know which Major League Soccer players are regulars in Jurgen Klinsmann's US National Team? Those with your hands them. Quickly!If you said "Landon Donovan", I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Only technically, of course, since Donovan hasn't yet suited up for Jurgen Klinsmann, but certainly will as soon as he is able. After Donovan, it gets a little ...
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MLS Weekend Review: 10 Things We Learned

Week 3 of the 2012 MLS season proved nothing (it's only Week 3), while simultaneously reestablishing what we already knew (but might have forgotten).Parity isn't going anywhere; the best MLS teams can still be beaten by the worst. Thierry Henry is really good at putting the ball in the back of the net. Toronto desperately needs their star defensive mid. Cross-country travel is still a pain in the...well, you know.But wait, there's more. Things in Philadelphia are getting to the desperation stage awfully early, while Chicago is showing signs of life. Sporting Kansas City will run at you really, really fast and dare you to keep up with them.Clubs missing players due to injury or Olympic qualifying call-ups typically aren't deep enough to fill those holes and get by. For a further review of all of those things we learned (but will probably forget by next weekend), let's dive in to the 10 most striking things we learned from MLS Week 3.  Begin Slideshow
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8 Signs the Quality of Play in MLS Could Rival the EPL in 20 Years

Major League Soccer has made significant strides in the overall quality of play over the course of the last 16 years. The natural progression from start-up league—with all of the inherent handicaps that implies—to established competition has done wonders for the level of play. Based on trends, it's very possible MLS play could reach English Premier League levels within the next 20 years.Limitations, mostly the small salary budgets imposed on American and Canadian clubs, keep MLS quality from improving in giant strides. Rules that allow for big spending on a handful of players can only do so much, especially when they do nothing to bring up the quality of player at the bottom of the scale.In order for MLS to reach a better quality of play that could even conceivably rival the Premier League, further movement towards higher spending is a must. More money means attracting better talent. But MLS has a few things going for it that don't necessary have to do with big time spending. The influx of Colombians into the league in recent years shows that simply being stable and open to Latin players looking for jobs will attract a better quality player.Meanwhile, the standard of American players ...
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MLS Wrap-Up: 10 Things We Learned from Regular Season Week 1

Week 1 of the 2012 MLS season is (mostly) in the books. While not exactly chock full of surprises, the first slate of games gave us a tangible set of results to judge how the first part of the season might go.Despite the hype and anticipation ahead of First Kick, it takes awhile for MLS clubs to fully get into the swing of things. New players in new systems rarely head into the campaign flying. Teams moving into the season without massive changes from 2011 should have an advantage, but still have to find their feet. That means the soccer we saw was a far cry from the best the league will offer this year (hopefully).But uneven play can still produce moments of excitement. There were a few of those.Some of what we thought we knew before games kicked off is still true, while some suddenly deserve a reassessment. So what did we learn?Begin Slideshow
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MLS Season Preview: 10 Players to Watch in 2012

Major League Soccer's 17th season starts Saturday and after a busy offseason, the league now boasts a slew of new talent to add to a mix that already includes names like David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane. Several of the new additions figure to play big roles in how this campaign plays out, while the attitude and development of players already in the league will have a natural impact on team fortunes. Between the new guys, the old guys, and the guys in between, it might be a little difficult to keep up. To get you started, here are 10 MLS players worth keeping an eye on as the season starts. Begin Slideshow
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Major League Soccer 2012: 10 Bold Predictions

On the eve of the 2012 MLS season, here's what we know: not much. This is a league with a reputation for throwing up the unexpected, after all, so accurately projecting how a 34-game season (plus playoffs) will unfold is like trying to keep Bobby Convey happy. It's just not going to happen. But you can't head into a new year without making a few predictions, and there are expectations surrounding the league that might need a second look. Conventional wisdom has spoken, but conventional wisdom gets it wrong quite often. That's especially true when things like the schedule format and officiating outlook are so drastically different from 2011.The defending champions, L.A. Galaxy, are heavy favorites to repeat; maybe they're ripe to under-deliver. The West is still the dominant conference, but maybe there's an East team ready to step forward and steal the spotlight. Perhaps a team expected to contend will flop, or a club everyone overlooks will surprise. The list is endless. It wouldn't be exciting if it all went to plan.In that spirit, meaning the spirit of predicting things because predicting things is fun, here are ten bold predictions for the 2012 MLS season.Begin Slideshow
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