*U.S. defender Michael Parkhurst, desperately seeking playing time for a chance at a World Cup roster slot, has moved from Bundesliga club Augsburg to MLS’s Columbus Crew. Parkhurst was not playing for Augsburg; he will play for Columbus. The Crew acquired his MLS rights from the New England Revolution for the fourth overall pick in Thursday’s draft and allocation money.
The Revs kept his rights because they attempted to re-sign him and did not collect a transfer fee when Parkhurst moved to the Danish league in 2008. Under MLS rules, the club maintains ties to such a departing player. If New England had received a fee, Parkhurst would have been exposed to MLS’s allocation order. D.C. United sits atop that list. (Incoming designated players are exempt from allocation.)
Parkhurst, 29, appeared in two Bundesliga matches in 2012-13 and none this season. He played in central defense during his first MLS tour, but with the national team, he is a right back competing with Geoff Cameron, Brad Evans and Steve Cherundolo for playing time.
*Another American in need of a new home, midfielder Maurice Edu, might be on the move soon. Edu, 27, has not made any Premier League appearances at Stoke City this season. With time running out on hopes of returning to World Cup contention, his representatives at James Grant Sports are working on arranging a loan within Europe for the final four months of the season.
Would Edu, Toronto’s first pick in the 2007 draft, consider returning to MLS? No word on whether the sides have discussed the possibility, but with his ability to play in both defensive midfield and central defense, Edu would undoubtedly draw interest from multiple clubs. Unlike Parkhurst, Edu is not tied to an MLS team. (Toronto received a transfer fee when Edu signed with Rangers in 2008.) So if he returned as a non-DP, United would have first crack at him in the allocation process. A DP contract would exempt him from allocation and allow him a say in his destination.
Inactive since a loan to Turkey’s Bursaspor last season, Edu has fallen behind Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman and Daniel Williams on the U.S. depth chart.
*Bradley’s transfer to Toronto from Roma is complete. He told reporters at an introductory news conference that he might join the U.S. squad for the Feb. 1 friendly against South Korea at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Ticket sales have surpassed 18,000.
*Goalkeeper Brad Guzan played 90 minutes in Aston Villa’s 2-1 Premier League loss to Arsenal. Video:
*In the weeks leading to the World Cup, the U.S. team is planning three home friendlies between May 26 and June 7. Venues and opponents have not been finalized. (The USSF is also working on a friendly for March 5 — a FIFA fixture date — in Europe.)
To replicate group play, the Americans have scheduled three games in a small window before each of the previous five World Cups.
1994: Saudi Arabia, Greece, Mexico.
1998: Macedonia, Kuwait, Scotland.
2002: Uruguay, Jamaica, Netherlands.
2006: Morocco, Venezuela, Latvia.
2010: Czech Republic, Turkey, Australia.
Several World Cup-bound teams are expected to train in the United States before heading to Brazil, a situation that should provide more options for the USSF than in past years.
*The captain and coach of every national team is invited to vote for FIFA’s Ballon d’Or, the world player of the year award.
Clint Dempsey‘s ballot: 1. Cristiano Ronaldo. 2. Lionel Messi. 3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Juergen Klinsmann‘s (curious) ballot: 1. Franck Ribery. 2. Gareth Bale. 3. Radamel Falcao.
Ronaldo finished first, followed by Messi and Ribery.
To see the complete voting chart, click here.
German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer won the women’s award, ahead of Abby Wambach and Marta.