They came and went within a year, but there's a crop of South American forwards who have found themselves right at home in their continent of origin after a mixed experience during their stints in MLS during the 2011 season.
The likes of Milton Caraglio (New England's first-ever Designated Player), Cristian Nazarit and Diego Chaves may not have set MLS alight during their year-long stay here (less in the case of Caraglio, who arrived in August but was gone by December), but having returned to South America, these young players have found more success.
Two of the players — Caraglio and Chaves — opted to head to Chile instead of their native countries, and have been richly rewarded for doing so. Caraglio tallied for newly promoted Rangers over the weekend to take his total for the season to four and help them continue a run that sees them in playoff contention. Chaves — perhaps the most successful of the group in MLS with six goals in 2011 — has a pair of goals to his name with Palestino over nine matches.
Cristian Nazarit opted to return to his home country, Colombia, after playing just 624 minutes and scoring two goals for Chicago in 2012. Two months into the Colombian season, the 21-year-old — a teammate of former Philadelphia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón — has four goals to his name for Deportivo Cali, including a late winner over the weekend that gave los Verdiblancos a third straight league win.
Chaves' former Chicago teammate, Gastón Puerari, has found less luck back home, however. He has played a handful of minutes for Defensor Sporting and is yet to net a goal in either the domestic league of Copa Libertadores.
So, what is it that has set these players apart in South America? Is MLS now a more difficult league to play in? Is the style of play in South America more conducive to their respective games? Or maybe it just wasn't cost-effective (always a factor in MLS) to keep them? Take your pick.