With buzz swirling that multiple MLS clubs are among the crowd of suitors clamoring around possible Newcastle departure DeAndre Yedlin, stateside fans will naturally quickly pivot to wondering where the former Seattle Homegrown Player might turn up if he heads this way.
Big props to ace CBS Sports reporter Roger Gonzalez for keeping us all up to date, but I must admit to not really feeling a few of his ideas about "logical landing spots" for the US men’s national team defender. As you probably expected, I went ahead and drafted up my own list of good-fit Yedlin destinations. These picks are based first and foremost on need, which is precisely why you won't be seeing his hometown Sounders listed below.
More on DeAndre Yedlin and #MLS:— Roger Gonzalez (@RGonzalezCBS) September 16, 2020
Logical landing spots...
Seattle - hometown kid
Austin - Expansion team who needs a USMNT player and has tax advantages like Washington to accommodate salary
Before we dive into that list, let's quickly touch on three potential Yedlin landing spots I considered before passing on them due to extenuating circumstances.
The departure of Reggie Cannon opened an FC Dallas job, but adding a pricey veteran to fill that opening doesn't jive with their Homegrown vibe, especially with Bryan Reynolds looking bright in limited minutes. Inter Miami could probably use him, but they're rightfully more concerned with fixing the attack right now. And while Vancouver could absolutely use him, moving to one of Seattle's main rivals is probably a bridge too close to home for the 27-year-old.
Chicago Fire FC
The Fire have been crying out for an impact right back since Matt Polster went down with an injury early in the 2018 campaign (before subsequently leaving for Rangers after the season). They've tried numerous solutions since, and none have panned out. Chicago are still leaking goals too often and scoring them too rarely, and right back issues have played a part in each letdown. A lack of pace has often hampered them at both ends, and of course this is what Yedlin brings above all. I also have the idea that a speedy, attention-drawing running mate might help unlock the full havoc-wreaking potential of Przemyslaw Frankowski.
From an Allocation Order standpoint, the Orange and Blue are currently in pole position. From a need standpoint, Cincy have yet to enjoy consistent play at right back since joining MLS. Of course, head coach Jaap Stam and his charges can certainly make use of another play driver to rev up the league's most anemic attack. While we're at it, Yedlin's world-class recovery speed certainly wouldn't hurt their hot-and-cold defense.
Full disclosure: Because of his repeated serious injury woes, I've yet to be convinced that signing Andy Najar is a sustainable answer to LAFC’s right-back problem. From the start of the rumor, it has always felt to me like a speculative long ball. It might pay off, but nobody should confuse it as a high-percentage play. Adding Yedlin would be a high-percentage play that better ensures Bob Bradley won't need to do things like pull Latif Blessing out of midfield.
Despite having a right-back crew that ranges from still unproven to inconsistent, the expansion side doesn't really need much help defensively. Nashville are already one of the stingiest teams in MLS. What they do need help with, however, is finding new avenues for sparking offense. Bringing in Yedlin would undoubtedly open up a fast lane on the right flank. His gravitational presence could grant extra time and space for Randall Leal and Alex Muyl to boost their wing production.
Finally, there's the club that won't begin MLS play until next season. Is there even a way for Austin to clinch such a signing at this time, despite not yet being listed in the allocation order? I'd like to think there is some mechanism available to them. Of course, they would also want Newcastle to hang onto Yedlin until January (which might be one way to solve that allocation order conundrum) or need to convince some club to take him on loan until then. These are all hurdles, but hurdles are meant to be cleared. Any way you slice it, sporting director Claudio Reyna has a squad to build, and grabbing a USMNT player in his prime would boost fan fervor ahead of their 2021 debut.