OK, now that the MLS season is over, it's time to figure out which players won't be back next season, as they make the move to Europe. Here's the odds-on picks on who won't be back:
- Landon Donovan, L.A.: The MLS' top scorer in 2008 is making his third try at playing football in Germany. He's on loan at Bayern Munich, but he has made clear his commitment to try and stay in Europe full-time. The January transfer window is when the move could go permanent.
- Sacha Kljestan, Chivas: One of the best young midfielders America has produced, he has seen his contemporary, Maurice Edu, already jump to Rangers. Supposedly, there is plenty of interest in the Netherlands.
- Marvell Wynne, TFC: Wynne stepped up his game considerably in the second half of 2008, showing the ball-control skills that his coaches had been hoping for. He already has the speed to be a starting wing player in Europe.
- Kenny Cooper, FC Dallas: His planned move to Cardiff City was aborted in 2008. He's the best target man in the MLS, a tall, strong striker who can draw fouls and win balls deep in opposition territory. Plus, he's a good finisher. Not quick enough for a top-tier league, but supposedly interest is high in Scandinavia, where many Americans -- including soon-to-be former TFC player Hunter Freeman -- go to play. As well, Eintracht Frankfurt want a look.
- Michael Parkhurst, New England: Parkhurst scored an audacious goal from half against TFC in 2007. He's also one of the best young defenders America has to offer. Scandinavia beckons as his entry point into Europe.
- Robbie Rogers, Columbus: So far, the Crew have stated that Rogers is expected to stay in the MLS for at least another year. But he's had a breakout season and, now that the Crew have won the MLS Cup, what's left for Rogers to prove in this league?
-Dave Van Den Bergh, New York: A decade ago, Van Den Bergh was on the subs bench for Ajax when the Dutch club played in the European Cup final. Now, after a solid second half of the season in New York, rumours are Van Den Bergh may be heading back to his native Netherlands, to a smaller Eredivisie club.
This is the final instalment of The Red Card for 2008. I'll be back when TFC starts training in 2009. But, check The Full 90 at blog.canoe.ca/thefull90 for more footballing tidbits!
-- 24 hours sports editor Steven Sandor has written about the Beautiful Game for numerous publications around the globe.