So it appears former Seattle Sounders star Fredy Montero might well be making an MLS return … to the Vancouver Whitecaps. Those #CascadiaCup competitors keep it really real, and fun for the rest of us.
Especially when you consider the juicy possibility of other players peeling off the Allocation List to revisit the stateside experience. We'll skip the folks stuck on there due to "Core" status with the US national team or the elite youth national team players who've not yet established any MLS roots, leaving us with the folks who transferred out of the league for more than $500,000.
With nods to recent departees Fabian Castillo and Matt Miazga and the solid situation of DeAndre Yedlin, here's our thoughts on the seven players whose return would get us most amped around the office, with a chance for you to chime in:
Current: Stoke City (ENG) | MLS: Houston Dynamo (2008-12)
A likely starter for the US national team once he returns to health, center back Geoff Cameron would be a boon to any backline in the domestic league. Originally a third-round pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft (No. 42 overall), the 31-year-old played five seasons for the Houston Dynamo, starting more than 100 games, being named to the MLS Best XI (2009) and twice making MLS All-Star appearances ('09, '11). Heading into this English Premier League season, Cameron said he expects to rejoin MLS at some point, though he indicated this campaign would likely decide whether he extends a pact with Stoke that currently runs through 2018.
Current: Pachuca (MEX) | MLS: LA Galaxy (2009-15)
A salary budget squeeze pushed Omar Gonzalez toward a mutually beneficial move to Liga MX side CF Pachuca in December 2015, but the longtime LA Galaxy spent part of a November US national team call-in to Columbus, Ohio taking a "social meeting" with former teammate and current Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter. Columbus currently sit third in the Allocation Order, well within range of an acquisition if they're willing to pay Pachuca's price for the four-time MLS Best XI selection.
Current: Shanghai Greenland Shenhua (CHN) | MLS: Seattle Sounders (2013-15)
One-half of the infmaous ObaDeuce offense powering a prolific three-year run for Seattle Sounders FC, forward Obafemi Martins slipped through the preseason sands last year, taking off for Shanghai Shenhua just before the season opened. Beloved in Seattle for his near-MVP run in 2014 (17 goals, 13 assists), Martins would supercharge the attack of any MLS squad ready to win now.
Current: Anderlecht (BEL) | MLS: D.C. United (2010-12)
Honduras international Andy Najar came up through the D.C. United academy, playing three strong years for the Black-and-Red, notably becoming the first Homegrown Player to earn recognition as MLS Rookie of the Year. After transferring to Belgium's RSC Anderlecht, where he suited up alongside fellow MLSer Sacha Kljestan, Najar quickly established himself on the international stage. Even after four seasons abroad, Najar is just 23 years old, and though he's working his way back from an ACL tear, if an MLS team manages to bring him back, they'll likely do so to hand the keys to a contributor entering his prime.
Current: Al-Gharafa (QAR) | MLS: Sporting Kansas City (2015)
Hungary's Krisztian Nemeth played only a single season for Sporting KC, but provided a threatening counterpoint to Dom Dwyer's hold-up play. Chipping in 10 goals and six assists, including the 2015 Goal of the Year, the 28-year-old Nemeth left for Qatari side Al-Gharafa following a dispute over attempted renegotiations with SKC. If an MLS side can come up with the raised fee – Sporting scored Nemeth on a free transfer in 2015 – they'll get an in-form winger primed to post production and draw attention away from other targets.
Current: Sporting Clube (POR) | MLS: Sporting Kansas City (2011-13)
Another Sporting Kansas City catch-and-release – score one for the research and development crew – Oriol Rosell donated his age 20-22 seasons to MLS, and any squad to sign him now gets the bulk of his prime. They'll have to pry him away from Sporting Clube de Portugal, but would receive a physical talent who can control possession and deliver savvy service up the field.
Current: Santos Laguna (MEX) | MLS: Chivas USA (2007-13); Portland Timbers ('14-15)
A key cog in the Portland Timbers 2015 MLS Cup champion, left back Jorge Villafana was sold to Santos Laguna in the wake of that impressive run. Having recently worked his way into the national team mix under new head coach Bruce Arena, "The Original Sueño" has struggled to maintain regular playing time in Liga MX. Considering how well he showed during January camp, bringing Villafaña back stateside would likely prove a smart buy.