Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chivas USA Decides not to Ruin Benny Feilhaber's Career

Chivas USA has passed on the chance to sign USA international Benny Feilhaber. Feilhaber signed with Major League Soccer last week after the league paid a transfer fee to his former club AGF Aarhus who currently play in the Danish second division following relegation last season. Feilhaber's contract was up after this season, and Aarhus cashed in on arguably their prized asset.

Until moving to Aarhus Feilhaber had an indifferent club career playing a hand full of matches for SV Hamberg's first team in Germany and Derby County in England's Premier League. It was his national team form that made Feilhaber a "household name" as far as USMNT players are concerned. He burst on to the scene with a fantastic volley against Mexico in the 2007 Gold Cup. Since then he has played well for the national team, and was an integral part at the 2010 World Cup when the USA dropped a holding midfielder and became more attacking late in matches.

With Chivas USA passing on Feilhaber this gives him the chance to play for a team that will not be rooted at the bottom of the league all year. Instead of helping his career, a move to Chivas could have hindered it with the lack of talent he would have around him. It would have also been a sideways move leaving the Danish second division for the worst team in MLS. It's worth considering that MLS may have worked out a deal with Chivas to pass on one of the stars of the USMNT much like they did with Brian McBride. McBride was allocated to Toronto FC, but he wanted to play for Chicago and after some MLS intervention was granted a trade to the Windy City.

The Philadelphia Union is on the clock, but all reports have the club passing on Feilhaber. This makes sense with the good young talent and cap space the Union currently have. Feilhaber's contract will eat up a large chunk of salary cap space. It is said he will earn around $350,000 which is the maximum salary for a non-Designated Player. I would love to see Feilhaber end up in Philadelphia, and I think the team could use his creativity in the midfield. They haven't created many goals this season. Carlos Ruiz's goal against Vancouver has been the only goal the team has actually created from open play this season (goal mouth scrambles and errors by by defenders would not count as a created goal). Perhaps Feilhaber's vision in midfield would allow the attackers around him to express themselves more.

The current allocation order looks like this:

1. Chivas USA (By passing Chivas USA still hold the top spot)
2. Philadelphia Union
3. New England Revolution
4. Houston Dynamo
5. Toronto FC
6. Chicago Fire
7. Sporting Kansas City
8. Seattle Sounders FC
9. Columbus Crew
10. New York Red Bulls
11. Real Salt Lake
12. San Jose Earthquakes
13. Los Angeles Galaxy
14. FC Dallas
15. Colorado Rapids
16. Vancouver Whitecaps
17. Portland Timbers
18. D.C. United

New England has just signed striker Rajko Lekic and being the cheapest team in the league may not want to spend on Feilhaber. They've also continued to talk about signing a DP this summer, but I'll believe it when I see it. Houston Dynamo has just signed Koke from Aris in Greece, and is playing well. They may not want to add to the squad at the moment. TFC may have the cap space to sign Feilhaber after the Dwayne De Rosario trade. Feilhaber would work well with Julian De Guzman as the attacker in the midfield. But TFC's 4-3-3 may not suit Feilhaber who may prefer a 4-4-2 formation. Also, will MLS want a key USMNT player playing in Canada after Jay De Merit signed for Vancouver? Chicago has a good shout at getting him and should have the cap space. They could use someone that can boss the midfield after their poor showing in Portland. Sporting KC maybe interested, but do they really need anymore attacking players? This team needs defence. Columbus could spend big and add him to the fantastic pair that is Eddie Gaven and Robbie Rogers. This addition would all of a sudden upgrade the Crew's midfield from good to excellent. New York and LA Galaxy don't have the money to afford Feilhaber, Colorado should be set in their midfield, FC Dallas could have their Dax McCarty replacement (but will he want to play for FCD). I would love to see Feilhaber end up in Salt Lake, but they already have Javier Morales. If  Feilhaber makes it past Columbus I see him signing with San Jose. He would be fantastic playing next to Simon Dawkins or playing off Chris Wondolowski as the second striker. Seattle may have the space, but they seem to have a full midfield already.

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