Commentary

How U.S. players did in transfer window

Updated: September 1, 2011, 11:15 AM ET
By Leander Schaerlaeckens | ESPN.com

During the now-closed summer transfer window in world soccer, no fewer than 10 U.S. men's national team regulars, or recent regulars, changed clubs. The biggest name rumored to be on the move, Fulham forward Clint Dempsey, stayed put. But there were plenty of other notable transfers. ESPN.com weighed and graded them all, for your debating pleasure.

[+] EnlargeAdu
Jamie Sabau/Getty ImagesFreddy Adu's return to MLS is a smart move that will help him rebuild his career for club and country.

Freddy Adu, F, from Benfica (loaned out to Rizespor) to the Philadelphia Union
Grade: A

Sometimes returning home with your tail between your legs is the best possible solution to a quickly deteriorating situation. One-time wunderkind Freddy Adu came to that conclusion, too. And it might save his career yet. Although his short spells with Turkish second-division side Rizespor and Greek club Aris were by no means disastrous like his two previous loans away from Benfica, which poached him from MLS in 2007, Adu's career was going nowhere in Europe. At 22, he is still only as old as many of the college draftees entering the league. Now he returns to the warm embrace of a familiar and nurturing coach in Peter Nowak and an adoring fan base in a place where he can quietly work on polishing his game and rebuilding his national team career.

Jozy Altidore, F, from Villarreal (loaned out to Bursaspor) to AZ
Grade: C

Although the Dutch league has launched the careers of many great strikers -- Romario, Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelrooy -- it also has a habit of making them look better than they really are by inflating their statistics. See Mateja Kezman and Afonso Alves. Altidore is in danger of falling into that same trap. In just four league games, the American forward, who isn't even a first-choice starter, has scored three league goals for AZ, already his best tally since 2008. Signing him on a free transfer, AZ has offered him the stability his career needed after being bounced around by Villarreal, but the Dutch league won't do him any favors. In the Eredivisie, all 18 teams attack furiously for 90 minutes, often resulting in monster scores and easy goals. Padded stats will mask the many defects that still need to be addressed in Altidore's game.

DaMarcus Beasley, M, from Hannover 96 to Puebla
Grade: B+

Beasley, once a dangerous national team winger who has amassed 93 caps before his 30th birthday, has seen his European club career fizzle. He hasn't been a starter since leaving PSV in 2006 and has seen his appearances drop steadily throughout a year on loan with Manchester City and three seasons with Glasgow Rangers. Last year's foray into the German league with Hannover 96 was an outright debacle, since Beasley made just four appearances. Any move to ensure regular minutes was going to be a good one, and you can do a lot worse than mid-table Puebla in the Mexican League, where Beasley has appeared in all seven league games so far this season, with a goal and an assist.

Alejandro Bedoya, M, Orebro to Glasgow Rangers
Grade: A

After a breakout Gold Cup, Bedoya managed to parlay the acclaim into a natural next step in his career. A skilled winger, he should fit in well in the Scottish league and can perhaps use it as a stepping stone to the English Premier League a few years down the line. He joins a strong club, and while Bedoya isn't a starter yet, he should get plenty of opportunities.

Carlos Bocanegra, D, Saint-Etienne to Glasgow Rangers
Grade: B

Joining his third club in three seasons, after being sold by Stade Rennes to Saint-Etienne last summer, the U.S. captain is now with the Rangers. While unspectacular and a step down in terms of league playing levels, the move makes sense for Bocanegra. He has been a starter his entire career and going to Rangers will likely mean the 32-year-old will remain one for several years more, putting him in a good position to remain with the national team through the 2014 World Cup.

Michael Bradley, M, Borussia Moenchengladbach (loaned out to Aston Villa) to Chievo Verona (Italy)
Grade: B

The divisive midfielder probably made a sideways move, trading in more or less equivalent clubs in a Bundesliga bottom-feeder and a mid-table Serie A team. That said, it was one he had to make, since there was no room for him with his former club any longer. Since a regime change and sparse playing time during his loan spell with Aston Villa scuppered a permanent deal to Birmingham, Bradley found himself in the uneasy position of needing to find a new club that was willing to pay a transfer fee, thought to be in the region of $3 million, as he had a year remaining on his contract. Chievo came to the rescue. And while Bradley probably could fit in with a slightly better club, he didn't do badly given the difficult circumstances.

Benny Feilhaber, M, Aarhus to New England Revolution
Grade: C-

Is going from the second division in Denmark to MLS a demotion? No. But is a return from Europe after playing briefly in the Bundesliga and Premier League and having a few good seasons in Denmark a logical move? No. Chivas USA and the Philadelphia Union both passed on Feilhaber, so he now plays on a bad team in a league that doesn't suit his technical game nearly as well as most European leagues do.

Herculez Gomez, F, Pachuca to Estudiantes Tecos
Grade: B-

After leveraging his 10 goals, shared for the league lead, for Puebla in 2010 into a transfer to Pachuca, a bigger club, Gomez's production dropped in 2011, as he netted just five times. Like all of Pachuca's players, Gomez was placed on the transfer list and eventually dealt to the much smaller Estudiantes Tecos. There Gomez is a starter and has resumed scoring. Perhaps he is simply one of those good small-club strikers but not meant for the big-time, making Tecos a good spot for him.

[+] EnlargeOguchi Onyewu
AP Photo/ Francisco SecoOguchi Onyewu has left the purgatory of AC Milan for Sporting Lisbon, where he should get a chance to carve out a starting role.

Oguchi Onyewu, D, AC Milan (loaned out to FC Twente) to Sporting Lisbon
Grade: A

You can't blame Onyewu for jumping at the chance to play for one of the most storied clubs in the world, but his chances of actually playing much at AC Milan after signing in the summer of 2009 were never great. After playing 15 minutes in his debut as a substitute in the Champions League, Onyewu missed the rest of his first season because of a knee injury. The next season, he didn't play a single minute until he was loaned to Twente, and even there he wasn't a regular. There are a lot of factors Onyewu can blame, but ultimately his free transfer to Sporting, one of Portugal's three mega clubs, is just what the doctor ordered. Sporting is competitive internationally and its massive roster overhaul this summer -- he is one of 13 new acquisitions, to offset nine departures and 16 loans -- will give Onyewu every chance to carve out a starting job.

Jonathan Spector, D/M, West Ham United to Birmingham City
Grade: C+

After five seasons with the Hammers, Spector turned down the new contract offered to him after the club's relegation and chose to sign instead with Birmingham, which had also been relegated to the Championship at the end of last season. We'll see if the move works for him, but West Ham has made stronger moves in the transfer window and looks to be the more likely of the two teams to return to the EPL next season.

Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at leander.espn@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @LeanderESPN.

Leander Schaerlaeckens

Contributing writer, ESPN.com
Leander Schaerlaeckens is a contributing writer for ESPN.com. He has previously written for The Guardian, The Washington Times and UPI.