A footnote in the transfer market this week once again highlighted the connection between MLS and the A-League.
Former Arsenal and Everton striker Francis Jeffers popped up on American radar screens earlier this week after the Daily Mirror linked him with a possible move to New England. A successful stint as a guest player with Newcastle Jets sparked renewed interest surrounding the once-capped England striker. Jeffers' exploits also spurred talk about a lengthier stay in Australia, but the two parties couldn't come to terms on a longer deal.
It doesn't appear Jeffers will continue his career Stateside – New England distanced itself from the report, while Motherwell may swoop in to sign Jeffers to address its striker shortage – but the path between the two leagues is fairly well traveled at this point.
A handful of players have logged time in both championships or garnered some transfer buzz on both sides of the Pacific, but the Friday Five trains its gaze on a few of the notable faces to feature in both leagues:
1. Danny Allsopp, former D.C. United striker: Considerable hype surrounded Allsopp's arrival from Al-Rayyan in Qatar last winter after United revealed it had scouted the former Melbourne Victory forward for quite some time. Although Allsopp plundered goals with regularity at the A-League level, his robust approach did not translate into much MLS success. A meager haul of five goals in 23 appearances – plus a horrid season for the club as a whole – encouraged both sides to seek an amicable resolution to nullify his guaranteed deal after the season. Once he reached an agreement with D.C. to conclude his deal early, Allsopp returned to Melbourne and promptly returned to his prolific ways for Ernie Merrick's side.
2. Fred, former D.C. United and Philadelphia midfielder: One captivating performance punctuated the Brazilian playmaker's one-year stint with Melbourne Victory and sealed his lucrative move to D.C. United. His creativity ripped Adelaide United apart in the 2007 Grand Final and supplied Archie Thompson with four of his five goals on the evening. Despite his virtuoso display to fire Victory to the title, Fred could not conjure up similar success after moving to MLS. He failed to establish himself as a star in three fitful seasons with D.C., though he did at times reveal flashes of his quality. D.C. shipped him to Philadelphia in the ultimately disastrous deal to acquire Troy Perkins, but Fred ceded the spotlight to Sebastien Le Toux and found himself exposed in the Re-Entry Process after his MLS deal expired. New England selected him during stage two, but he expressed a desire to perhaps return to Australia or Brazil instead of continuing his career in the States.
3. Tony Lochhead, former New England defender: Before he reached the heights of appearing in three World Cup matches for New Zealand in South Africa last summer, Lochhead started his career in the United States. New England selected him in the third round (33rd overall pick) of the 2005 SuperDraft to press for contention in his natural role at left back. Lochhead's lack of pace hampered his efforts to establish himself as a regular after he finally joined the Revolution in Sept. 2005 and the club released him in April 2007. New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert offered Lochhead a deal with Wellington in May 2007 and the former UC Santa Barbara defender has featured regularly since his return to his native country.
4. Diego Walsh, former Columbus and Kansas City midfielder: Columbus plucked the crafty attacking midfielder out of SMU with the seventh overall pick in the 2003 SuperDraft. The former Santos youth player failed to make an impact with the Crew and moved onto Kansas City for a similarly frustrating two-year stint with the Wizards. After failing to catch on with Real Salt Lake during the 2006 preseason, he moved to Miami FC (USL1) and landed on Australian radar screens after appearing in friendlies there after the season concluded. Adelaide United offered Walsh a two-and-a-half year contract in January 2007 after he subsequently impressed on trial. He floated in and out of the side before departing at the end of his contract. He joined Wellington on a two-year deal in January 2009, but he has yet to earn a regular place in Herbert's starting XI.
5. Cassio, former New England defender: The diminutive left back joined the Revs in 2005 with the hopes of claiming a permanent place in the side, but the move faltered shortly after his arrival. Revolution boss Steve Nicol fielded him three times before deeming him surplus to requirements and the former Flamengo man returned to play in the lower leagues in Brazil. Adelaide United signed him before the start of the 2007-08 campaign and he has featured regularly since then in a variety of roles on the left side of the park. In November, the 30-year-old Brazilian expressed interest in obtaining Australian citizenship and playing internationally for Oz when he is eligible in 2012.
Kyle McCarthy writes the Monday MLS Breakdown and frequently writes opinion pieces during the week for Goal.com. He also covers the New England Revolution for the Boston Herald and MLSsoccer.com. Contact him with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org follow him on Twitter by clicking here.