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Stoke City still looking to our shores; who is next from MLS?

Mar 11, 2013, 11:02 AM EDT

Fulham v Stoke City - Premier League Getty Images

First there was Geoff Cameron, who arrived into Stoke City and immediately established himself as a starter for Tony Pulis’ club.

Then came winger Brek Shea (pictured), who could not gain a similarly quick stranglehold on starter’s duty for the Potters, but whose future looks promising at The Britannia.

And Pulis is far from done.

America’s a new place for us. It’s a place where you can get some raw material … The Americans are a bit like the Australians, they are fantastic sports people. The two lads we’ve brought in have fantastic work attitudes.

“We’ve got a scout over there who knows the league very well and we might add another one next year. We think it’s somewhere we can get players from. Newcastle have done fantastic with French players and we’re trying to find a market that suits us.”

It’s a little early for us to begin the good guesswork on candidates – but let’s do it anyway!

Candidates will emerge through the spring and into early summer, of course, just before the transfer window swings open in July. But here is one looming possibility:

D.C. United’s Chris Pontius. He’s not a giant in terms of physical stature, and Pulis loves his giants. Still, the D.C. United man is talented and full of want-to, a must for the helter-skelter EPL proceedings. And as a figure yet to bust into the U.S. national team scene, he’s not yet priced beyond Stoke City’s frugal budget.

  1. mkbryant3 - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Adu to Stoke!

    • Steve Davis - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      He’s 5-foot-6 on a good day. Not sure that’s a good fit for Stoke style

      • mdac1012 - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        Adu just isn’t good enough, if the talent and attitude were there, Stoke would find a spot for him, regardless of his height.

  2. dfstell - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Would Pontius be able to get a work permit?

    • Steve Davis - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      Hmmmm. That’s a great question … would need a few summer U.S. appearances (Gold Cup?) to improve those chances

  3. tylerbetts - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    MLS, in current form, is probably a perfect shopping ground for a club like Stoke City.You get good players, most of whom have national team ambitions, and thus a drive to perform high even after a first “good” contract. Plus, the normal transfer rate is quite reasonable, lacking the high sticker price of most European feeder leagues. It’s great for a club who has their #1 goal: not get relegated. And, perhaps #2 goal: becomes the next Everton (and, by that, I mean be a good upper-mid table team, be in a position that if everything breaks for you, be able to contend for a European spot once every five years, and have the talent to win a knockout cup).

    You also get the added bonus of being able to better promote yourself for those Summer friendlies. Those can be lucrative not just in terms of gate receipts, but in terms of expanding your brand into the US and getting those Euro-loving soccer fans a team to cheer for. A know many, many, many folks in Columbus who adopted Newcastle as their EPL team after the Crew-Newcastle friendly. Again, when your biggest goal is not get relegated, every revenue stream is important.

    As for targets … Zusi? Omar? Besler?
    And, going outside of MLS, but to US players who could be available for a decent price – Parkhurst (when/if his club gets relegated)? Boyd? Bedoya?

  4. Aaron Stollar - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    I’d be stunned if Matt Besler is in MLS next season. I suspect he’s next.

  5. drewvt6 - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Realistically Stoke could try to sign every defender on the MLS Bext XI list…

  6. charliej11 - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    A big part of me wants this to end. Not going to follow a league 10,000 miles away ( no idea if that is accurate ), and a team 40 points down ( again, who cares if it is accurate ).

    A guy like me is left rooting for Man U and hoping they don’t have to share TV revenue sooner rather than later. When that happens, like in La Liga, the talent goes the correct way. OBA MARTINS !!

  7. valiantdraws - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    The talent goes the right way? What, all to a few teams so that the rest can languish in the dust? That’s exactly why I *don’t* watch La Liga often. And I don’t watch upper tier EPL teams much. I dunno, call me a dipshit, but I really like watching a team find a way to win, despite adversity or a cement footed defender. I like parity, because it fuels competition.

    • unitedlee - Mar 12, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      I believe that was his/her point. The comment about Stoke being like an Everton is what drives me nuts about the EPL and why I don’t understand the infatuation with it. If I’m a fan of Everton then what do I have to cheer for? Everton can beat a lot of top teams outside of England. YIPPEE! They have about a 1% chance of winning the EPL title every year and about a 10% chance of making a champions league spot. And lets say they happen to get lucky and achieve that status. How quickly will they be knocked out of the CL. There realistic goals are maybe winning the FA or Carling/Capital One or whatever other sponsor name you want to place on it Cup once every 10 years or so. Toronto FC or Chivas USA has a better chance at winning an MLS Cup than Everton ever competing for even those 2 cups and that is sad!

  8. dcary31 - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    If I am scouting MLS, I am targeting Zusi.

  9. schmutzdeck - Mar 11, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    The problem is the work permit situation. Which limits Stoke to USMNT regulars or up and comers.

    Or else someone with a Euro passport like Timmy had.

    So Pontius is out but Besler, Gonzo, Beitashour, Morrow, Zusi, CJ Sapong (??), Agudelo, Sean Johnson, Berry, George John (Greek passport), Jozy, EJ,Gatt, and so on.

    Some of these guys don’t necessarily fit Stoke’s current player profile but who’s to say they might not be looking to evolve their style a bit.

  10. wfjackson3 - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    I could see Zusi going wide right for Stoke, but I think Sapong or Bunbury would fit in much better.

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