Monday Back-Pass: The Great LA Midfield Exodus

. . . and Lo! The mountains were split asunder, and the seas drew back.
For the Midfielders of sprawling Los Angeles were on the march.
To Mexico! To Germany! To Scotland! And yea, verily, even unto Italy!
They mounted their glittering steeds, bade farewell
To the denizens of the Mighty (yet half-empty) Toolbox,
Strapped on their many hued boots,
And departed to a great gnashing of teeth.
Behold the weeping of shirt sponsors!
The wailing of the MLS ad-sales gnomes!
These were surely the final days . . .

Yes, there was the FA Cup 4th round, featuring a second Merseyside derby in quick succession (soon to be a third), Carrick and Berbatov doing the bloody knife-work on their old side, and the Blue Square Premier sides producing memorable displays. And yes, Barca continued to plow unchecked through La Liga while Real struggle gamely in their wake. True, there was the spectacle of the Annual Scandanavian Scrub Challenge, played in front of a living-room sized audience at the HDC. But the developing story is the Great Los Angeles Midfield Exodus.

First to go was Chivas USA's Mendoza, recalled by the Great Horned Goddess to the "mothership", as it seems MLS bloggers, journalists, et al, are legally required to refer to the Mexican parent club. Then Donovan started banging in the goals for Bayern in their warmups for the second half of the season, prompting much speculation about the duration of his loan.

Now, the other most-prominent midfielder at each of the LA-based MLS clubs is the subject of much breathless rumor-mongering and transfer-talk. Sacha Kljestan took a brief break from the USA's January camp to provide a test drive for Celtic, who have opened the bidding, though they're not the only suitor. This weekend's hat-trick against the Swedes will only serve to make this next week the more interesting. Bidding war?

But the big story, of course, is the "savior" of American soccer, Saint David himself, who managed to score for Milan this weekend. The worry for me isn't that he'll impress, it's that huge smile he breaks into and the way his new Milan teammates mob him after the goal. Forgive me if I haven't been paying close enough attention, but when has Beckham ever shown any glee in MLS? He looks rejuvenated and happy, rather than the dour, serious Beckham sporting the occasional half-smile that seems to be his de rigueur "MLS face." Witness! And wonder . . .

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