7 Major League Soccer players who desperately need a change of scenery
Teal Bunbury, New England Revolution
Change is coming to the New England Revolution, and part of it has to come by flipping assets.
Bunbury was able to take advantage of his time on the field this season. Despite being part of a rotation and starting just 10 games, Bunbury has bagged seven goals with one assist in 996 minutes, his best total since 2011 with Sporting KC and a clip of 0.63 goals per 90 minutes.
As New England starts to sort how it’s going to play next year, Bunbury is an attractive trade option for a number of teams in MLS. Minnesota United has loaded up on wingers, but it seems like a natural trade partner for a player with ties to the state. There should be other suitors, though.
Russell Teibert, Vancouver Whitecaps
The Whitecaps have been one of the surprises of MLS this season, currently sitting in first place in the Western Conference. That rise, though, has corresponded with a continued dip in playing time for Teibert. The once-regular starter in 2013-15 looks once again to be bound for fewer than 10 starts this season, and his minutes have dipped again.
Teibert has good qualities to be a rotation player in this league, and perhaps a new location will tap back into the potential he showed in 2013, when he had two goals and nine assists for the Whitecaps.
Rafael Ramos, Orlando City
The oft-injured right back lost his starting job in Orlando mostly due to hamstring problems that have continued to crop up and hold back the potential of the former Portuguese U-21 player. Ramos, 22, is a gym rat, but that work hasn’t helped to keep him healthy on the field.
When he’s out there, he’s one of the best attacking fullbacks in MLS, though his temper has also caused some disciplinary problems. It wouldn’t be shocking to see an MLS team take a flier on him to see if they can solve his hamstring problems and get him back to his 2015 form.
Saad Abdul-Salaam, Sporting KC
With Graham Zusi’s move to right back a success, Abdul-Salaam has been limited to just 10 games this season. The 26-year-old proved capable of being a regular starter in 2016, and Sporting may be hesitant to trade Abdul-Salaam during a World Cup year in which Zusi will be absent for a long period.
Still, plenty of MLS teams will be looking for relatively-cheap options at right back and Abdul-Salaam will be on the list. The asking price from SKC was too high in the past couple windows, but perhaps that will change.
Kenwyne Jones, Atlanta United
The Trinidad and Tobago men’s national team forward just isn’t a fit for the way Atlanta United likes to play. United gets out and run, and the soon-to-be 33-year-old is a target striker who plays best with his back to goal and with plenty of service from the wings. The result is a season in which Jones has played just 417 minutes with Atlanta, though he has two goals to show for it.
Jones has a higher salary – around $415,000 – and might have to take a cut to catch on with another team, but there are a few teams in MLS that might see him as a top option for the forward line. Could he end up with a squad like Colorado or even Sporting Kansas City?
Jordan Hamilton, Toronto FC
The Toronto FC homegrown doesn’t have the resume of a striker like Jones, but he has so much potential and no clear path to regular first-team minutes.
Hamilton, who will be 22 next year, started 11 games in 2016, scoring three goals, but has no starts this season and just 142 minutes. He’s taken advantage of that time, scoring twice with one assist, but with Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and Tosaint Ricketts ahead of him, Hamilton is surplus for TFC.
He could be a worthy candidate for a team to test out in a starting job, much the same way D.C. United looked to Patrick Mullins a few years ago. Hamilton has all of the tools, and could he turn in regular goals with a starting job.
Earl Edwards Jr., Orlando City
He’ll be 26 in 2018 and without his MLS debut, but the former U.S. youth national team prospect has turned in a very good year for Orlando City B and looks ready to get his shot in MLS. Could he be a target for LAFC in the expansion draft? Will other goalkeeper-needy teams come calling? Hello, LA Galaxy?
Edwards had nine clean sheets for Orlando City B in 22 games played with a 78.9-percent save rate and 0.91 goals allowed per 90 minutes. With Joe Bendik firmly in place as the starter in Orlando and on a good long-term salary number, Edwards is likely going to have to move somewhere else to get his shot.