Fox Sports is reporting Major League Soccer's second leading scorer is taking his services to Germany, though in a signing tinged with ignominy, the club is a relegation-embattled side in the country's second division. FC Inglostadt, currently sitting 17th out of 18 teams in the 2. Bundesliga, is said to have reached an agreement with (soon to be former) Los Angeles Galaxy striker Edson Buddle.
Buddle, who scored 17 goals in helping Galaxy to last season's Supporters' Shield, is out of contract with Major League Soccer and is said to have rejected an offer below the designated player threshold. According to the report, Buddle has been offered "potentially double" MLS's offer to move to Germany.
Buddle was recently on trail with Birmingham City of the English Premier League, though his ability to secure a work permit was considered doubtful. To gain a work permit to play in England's first division, players must have appeared in 75 percent of his country's 'A' team matches over the previous two seasons. While appeals are possible, Buddle's six appearances in eight years for the U.S. Men's National Team left him unlikely to receive clearance.
Buddle has been in Los Angeles since being acquired via trade int 2007. In 87 league appearances with the Galaxy, Buddle has scored 42 goals. Set to turn 30 in May, Buddle's strong 2010 earned him a spot on the States' World Cup roster, where he made appearances against England and Algeria.
Better described as known than marquee, Buddle would be a notable loss for Major League Soccer, particularly given his destination. While it could be argued Inglostadt's paying excessively for a striker past his prime age, Buddle's name look set to add to a growing list of U.S. stars who are looking to Europe after establishing themselves in MLS. Stuart Holden's move to Bolton has been best documented, but the likes of Ricardo Clark, Kenny Cooper, Robbie Findley, Jonathan Bornstein, and Sacha Kljestan have left since the end of the 2009 season.
Major League Soccer has balanced their recent losses with a number of high profile signings - the likes of Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez. However, concerns about MLS's ability to retain recognized U.S. internationals will be renewed, with another in Bob Bradley's player pool set to leave MLS.
But whereas Clark signed with a Bundesliga side, Findley went to a historically significant English club, and Sacha Kljestan went to a very successful Belgium team, Buddle is going to a club few have heard of, one which will lead people to ask "Why?"
Why is the league's second leading scorer moving to that club? Why isn't he staying in the domestic league? Is it Inglostadt overpaying? Or is it Major League Soccer not doing enough to retain him?