Dynamic Duo set to leave MLS

Stuart Holden 1 (Getty Images)


If the Houston Dynamo is to continue its relative MLS success next season, it will likely have to do so without two of their most talented players.

Midfielders Ricardo Clark and Stuart Holden are out of contract at season's end, and both players are unlikely to return to the club, having been strongly linked with moves to Europe during the upcoming winter transfer window.

The first of what should be many teams interested in Holden surfaced on Thursday, and it is Scottish club Aberdeen. According to a report out of Europe, Aberdeen manager Mark McGhee is closely eyeing Holden, and is hoping to entice the midfielder to sign with the club during January's winter transfer window. McGhee also said that the club may have to wait until the summer to sign Holden, who was born in Scotland.

The news of Holden receiving interest from European clubs is no surprise, but it comes just two days after the Dynamo revealed that Clark would indefintely not return to the club. Clark, who sent the Dynamo a thank-you email prior to the MLS playoffs, has no intention to re-sign with MLS, and is going to pursue European possibilities. Clark received interest abroad from Italian club Livorno earlier this year.


What do you think of Holden possibly joining Aberdeen? Think he would find lots of minutes with the club, or should he avoid the physical league at all cost? Where do you see Clark landing? Think the Dynamo will be able to cope without Holden and Clark next season?

Share your thoughts below.

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101 Responses to Dynamic Duo set to leave MLS

  1. OmarVizquel says:

    What’s that bit about Clark sending the Dynamo a “thank-you email”?

  2. OmarVizquel says:

    Holden just needs to avoid violent drunken Brits.

  3. Ed Ho says:

    Holden can do much better than Aberdeen. A mid to low table team in England, Spain, Holland, Italy, Germany or a top club in Portugal, Belguim, Denmark, Sweeden who are in Champs / Euro league would be better options. Just pick a place he can play if that doesn’t work out.

  4. Lee says:

    I’d rather Holden go to a spot on the mainland rather than the SPL. Would love it if he went to the normal places (France, Netherlands), but honestly I could see him do a Dempsey, step into a Premier league team and become a mainstay.

  5. I know Holden is from Aberdeen, but SPL would not be a step forward for him. He could latch on in EPL, Spain, France, etc. ALAHP! As Long As He Plays! That should be the battle cry for all future former MLS’ers/

  6. ian says:

    Holland. Go to Holland young man.

  7. Blokhin says:

    Between the injuries Edu and Beasley have sustained in the SPL, I’d rather see him play elsewhere. Besides Celtic and Rangers, SPL is more of a hack pub league at this point….

  8. Martin says:

    Wait, didn’t Ricardo Clark sign with Livorno earlier this summer and was gonna head over after the MLS Season? Or am I imagining things?

  9. i think livorno is a great fit for clark.

    as far as holden is concerned, go to spain. go to the netherlands. Prove to the world that americans can produce quality, creative and attack minded players.

  10. BSU SC says:

    If Dominic Kinnear can still put together a winning team after losing De Rosorio, Holden, and Clark in consecutive years, then he deserves to be the next U.S. National Team coach.

  11. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Aberdeen? The Dynamo would kick their butts. What a waste that would be.

  12. dman says:

    Calling it now…Holden will have a blown out knee by next season from a rough tackle vs. celtic/rangers

  13. wally says:

    Of course Aberdeen wants Holden. Hopefully, he and his agent are holding out for something better.

  14. ELAC says:

    Good for them both.

    Bad for the MLS and its cheapskate/low expectation ways.

  15. Jdavids says:

    You guys are talking some sense. Look Ives! Good post Franco!

    We all agree! Go somewhere better Holden, you hard worker.

  16. HoneyHell says:

    Hopefully the next US National Team Coach will be someone with some interantional experience. Don’t know if Kinnear has international experience, but would like to see maybe Guus now that Russia is out of the WC.

  17. afc says:

    You don’t want to burn any bridges.

  18. Mark says:

    I know it’s his home country, but please Stu, don’t go to that joke of a league. Look what it has done to Beas and Edu.

  19. Josh says:

    Although I understand the emotional appeal playing in the SPL might have, Holden’s GAME won’t develop one bit in Scotland. He needs to go to a league where he’s good enough to get playing time, but where he’ll be pushed if he’s complacent. He needs to be in a league with tactically savvy players, not hacks. This is especially true if Dempsey winds up moving up top for any extended period.

  20. ko'd says:

    If there is no interest in Holland (or Spain or France) than he can’t very well go there, right?

  21. fan4usa says:

    I lived in Aberdeen for 6 years and am an avid fan of both Holden and Aberdeen.

    Although Holden and fans may hope for bigger and better, Aberdeen is a quality club that has produced great players in the history of Europe. It is the last club that Ferguson coached at prior to Man U.

    Holden sitting on the bench at a bigger club is less valuable than getting good playing time against quality teams such as Celtic and Rangers.

    I hope it works out for both of them.

  22. ThaDeuce says:

    This is exciting for both of them. I wish them luck!

  23. OmarVizquel says:

    But I was wondering where Ives heard this, b/c I didn’t read anything about it. Did he send an email to management saying “Thanks, but I’m out”?

  24. Hokierama says:

    I would rather see Holden play in the English Championship than the SPL unless it is at one of the Old Firm. As for Clark, I am not all that sold on him technically. Hopefully it will work out for him.

  25. Aaron in StL says:

    If he’s going to the SPL – he should go to Hearts. Solid management, and less turmoil than Rangers and Celtic have (and I’m a Celtic supporter).

    But, I’d rather see Spain. I really want to see a guy go there and succeed. If he could latch on at a club like Espanyol, Mallorca, any mid-level club that will let him operate on the fringes, he could really make an impact.

    I just doubt those other leagues will get him the playing time he needs pre-WC. If at all possible, maybe sign a short 1 year deal in the SPL (where I know he can outrun/outclass most) in hopes of moving on after a solid performance in SA. Likely a pipe dream though.

  26. metro says:

    I’m happy about where Holden could end up. He’ll probably get playing time. Look at Jozy at Hull. The kid never plays.

  27. b-hags says:

    i’m in total agreement with you – i’m sick of seeing young talent ride the pine in bigger leagues. he should be in the starting eleven and will play in more games – including matches against top clubs like Celtic and Rangers. wouldn’t be surprise to see him get PT at Aberdeen and then transfer to higer profile club in the EPL or SPL.

  28. UDGF says:

    Kjlestan is another player who should be playing abroad. He seems to be developing a lot like how dempsey was befroe he left.

  29. tim says:

    Clark is gone. I think Holden will stay at least until after the WC. And he certainly wont be going to Aberdeen of all places.

  30. Kutama says:

    For those saying that MLS is better than the SPL……..u’all gotta specify in what areas, skills or financial, or in terms of hacking down people. For the first two, SPL is better (for e.g. Andy Dorman making peanuts ($30,000/yr) with the Krafts and transferring to St. Mitten making almost 14 times that (300,000 Euros/yr ~ $400,000/yr) if u factor in the exchange rate) and the Rangers (making it to the UEFA finals in 07) & Celtic reaching the QF of the Champions league last season (I wonder if any MLS side can do that right now with their measly 1.6 million Euro budget yearly) so the SPL is better in skills & financially. In terms of physical play, I would say they are on par, MLS is also a physical league of it’s own just like the EPL. Holden will go where the money is especially if Abedeen will give him the same deal that St. Mirren gave Andy

  31. attenborough says:

    Hahahaha…too funny.

  32. tim says:

    And Houston will be fine even if both go. Clark’s loss free’s up a good chunk of cap space and Houston still has Cameron (who was never a real defender) and Mulrooney coming back to the midfield.

  33. attenborough says:

    I think Holden could survive and work up some PT. I wouldn’t worry too much about the physicality over there. Sure he’s just a little guy, but weight rooms do exist over there, too I imagine.

    Anyway, I don’t see Clark doing anything significant at all in Europe.

  34. Kutama says:

    Even Aberdeen made it to the UEFA Europa group stage last yr so they are of a quality side though Hearts or the big two would have been better if they wanted him…..hey you never know, maybe they are planning on something especially with the transfer window opening in the next 40 days.

  35. nate says:

    i was under the same impression (and have been since then). i guess nothing was signed?

  36. Spectra says:

    Hasn’t Sir Alex been at Man U for 22 years.

  37. Spectra says:

    he could even go to a bottom level team like villareal

  38. Dudeinho says:

    Holden needs to go to Spain it suits his style of play.

  39. Al_OC says:

    You might want click on the link that Ives posted in the article. Here’s an excerpt:
    ‘Canetti said Clark, 26, informed the team of his intentions via a heartfelt e-mail prior to the start of the playoffs in which he thanked the team for his time in Houston.’

  40. MVK says:

    questions now arise how the great Guus couldnt get a talented Russian team into the finals… is this seen as a blemish on his record


  41. JohnC says:

    Why do people keep mentioning Sweeden with Denmark. The leagues arn’t even close to one another. Denmark is typically ranked top 10 where Sweeden sometimes doesnt even fall into top 20. Hell, Charlie Davies set the record for transfer free for his club team with a measly 2 or 3 mill.

    I don’t think Holden will be able to start instantly in EPL or SPL. But a move to Coca-Cola or Bundis 1 I think would serve him well.

  42. Scott says:

    I think we all wish Holden could go to a better league or a bigger name club but to me I feel like Davies really set a good precedent. Go to a smaller league, get your playing time, then if you do well there you can move up the ranks. Baby steps. We don’t want him sitting on the bench until this summer.

  43. Carlo says:

    To bad MLS wont be getting money from selling these guys! But I do hope they light up the fields wherever they go!

  44. Kobao says:

    you said it right there…quality time against clubs like celtic and rangers…but what about the other 27 games?

    Besides the SPL doesn’t seem like a very good fit given his skill set. Speed and technical ability aren’t what serves you best in the SPL. He is tough but a league like the dutch one would prolly serve him better in the long term.

    Regardless its pretty clear wherever he can play consistently will play a huge part in where he ends up.

  45. Andrew says:

    These stories get so old. It would be really nice to have the money to resign some of these guys. Sigh.

  46. Kobao says:

    it seemed he was developing…till he let that trial at celtic go to his head. hopefully he can turn it around and return to his 08 form

  47. Kobao says:

    one thing is for sure…regardless of what seems to happen Houston always reloads

  48. Brian says:

    No not Scotland! Unless you want to see your career turn into Beasley’s!

    I thought Clark to Livorno was a done deal? Whatever happened to that?

  49. Joamiq says:

    I’m sure Aberdeen is going to pay Holden a lot more, but, meh

  50. cfig says:

    From what I understand there was interest from Livorno but they’ve had some management changes since.

  51. strider says:

    I’m rooting for Spain and Holland for Holden. The KEY, as noted by several, is to go somewhere he can get PT. I’d love to see him develop his touch and vision for a PSV or comparable club. However, he has to balance long-term vs. 2010 WC. That is, he might do well long-term to go somewhere that he wouldn’t start at first, but could in a year or so. However, not getting playing time in early 2010 will make it hard to go to the Cup.

    Clark is another matter. Perhaps he can play and grow in Serie A. Let’s see what happens.

  52. RLW2020 says:

    agreed. someday the MLS will enter the talent market where they will understand that developing youth players and selling them to Europe before their prime is a great revenue source.

  53. tg says:

    Anywhere he goes, Holden is bound to make more than the $30k he made this season.

    He’d do very well with a West Brom.

  54. cfig says:

    I’m sorry to see them both leave us but excited to see what they can do. I’ll echo the idea of Stu heading to Spain or Holland as a good one, just get the minutes man. And I wouldn’t put too much stock in the Aberdeen story, this is just the first of many rumors to come.

  55. primoone says:

    Hold your horses…Holden ain’t that special enough to play first team soccer in the top 3 leagues. He is not going to crack those lineups…With that said, He needs to play consistently…the better option would be lower table teams in Netherlands…France…even Scotland.

  56. Gilby says:

    I’d like him follow the Baby Bradley plan go to the Dutch league play for a mid table team where he can start today. Then use that experience to leverage a move to a bigger league.

  57. BenRE says:

    I though Clark already signed with Livorno…?

  58. Michael Vann says:

    Solid management at Hearts? Come on. They are owned by an absolute whack job in Vladimir Romanov and ran by equally nutty son Roman. They’ve thrown a butt load of cash at players. Sadly, they’ve essentially just moved Hearts up one or two spots in the table from where they traditionally sit. Since the Roamanov’s arrival in ’05 the club has gone thru 8 managers (including caretakers) last time I counted. Not to mention players have walked out and demanded transfers. The Romanov’s also brought over players from their other club FBK Kaunas (which they no longer own) and demanded the managers play them.

    I will say Hearts are starting to turn a corner and the Romanov’s are removing the tight grip of things but the club still has a ways to go before calling them stable. László is a good manager but he’s thrown his name into the hat for the Scotland job. So more uncertainty abounds.

  59. Robert says:

    That was my impression too. I thought they were just waiting until the winter transfer window.

  60. Doc says:

    Houston w/o Clark and Holden…We say Cameron & Mulrooney & Cruz

  61. Michael Vann says:

    I love the fact that Stuart is a duel Scottish citizen because it opens up many options for him. It’s obvious playing in the UK is no problem but his passport opens the door to La Liga who, because of their tight non-EU limits, usually go for South Americans because they can fast track them to citizenship or exploit linkages for passports. His Scottish citizenship also open some doors to Holland, too. Eredivisie clubs must pay non-EU citizens on a 1st team contract a 400K (Euros??) minimum salary. So being a Scot some might not shy Eredivisie clubs away from signing him. Though I think he’s work a 400K salary.

  62. Chris in Belfast says:

    Wait… he wouldn’t start in the SPL for Aberdeen, but he would start in the Bundesliga? That doesn’t quite equate for me.

    That said, I don’t think US players should go ANYWHERE near Scottish football. It’s a losing proposition right now. Championship- lower table if you’re going to England. I want more of the guys to go to France and The Netherlands, though. Those will be great leagues for the guys to improve their technical ability and ability to read a match.

  63. gihilaehgi says:

    why would he want to play in the scottish league?

  64. bigvic says:

    yes, this is great news for MLS. Actually, its great news for MLS fans.
    This will show that the supposed 4mil payroll MLS will allow for next year isnt even enough to keep it all from going down the drain. More is needed, and Garber will eventually allow such from profitable teams. This will be a league-saving play.

  65. alex says:

    i think right now playing time in 10′ is woth staying in MLS until after the world cup he could play himsel into an even better contract since most here believe this is all about money, so with the new cba he could sign a better MLS deal he is bound to take over what clark was making and more put a transfer clause in his contract after next season he transers either mid way or at the end win, win for him and the league, personally jozy’s form and conidence would be enough for me to want to stay and play in an environment I know and be fresh and ready for the world cup then be rotting on the bench in a different environment with the conidence of a 16 year old. Clark to me this is his only shot I think he is overrated if edu doesn’t get hurt he doesn’t even go to the confederations cup so he should go but stu should wait atleast til after the world cup.

  66. alex says:

    wow I need spell check conidence is confidence…sorry

  67. HoneyHell says:

    Agreed. Without a reasonable salary MLS cannot attract good players or develop depth to compete in the multi tournament/leauge play where most clubs in europe make their money. Without the ability to re-sign key players and develop teams over time the MLS leauge will always be a 3rd table leauge where players get a start or finish their carrers. In other words inexperienced or over the hill players.

  68. Seriously? says:

    are you asking about the email, or the fact the article says Clark would “indefintely not return” to the club? That’s an interesting turn of phrase that I’ve not seen before 😉

  69. J Duck says:

    Chris, are you currently in Belfast? I was just there for the first time this summer and loved it. On the subject of where US players should play; I completely agree, France or the Netherlands would be a good choice for players trying to ply their trade in Europe.

  70. DL says:

    Most interesting comment is that Maghee said they may have to wait until the summer to sign him. Indicates that he may stay in Houston until after the World Cup. If he does, that is a great move IMO and not just because I am a Dyanmo fan.

  71. Rngoldberg@aol.com says:

    Did I read somewhere that Holden is fluent in French?
    Does he speak any Spanish?
    If so, two good league possibilities for his style of play…

  72. Levent says:

    Don’t go to Scotland. They play rough there and you will end on the bench injured. Seriously, Holden Scotland is overrated….go somewhere else, don’t take the first offer.

  73. HoustonBallz says:

    WTF Beas hasnt done well since he left PSV. As i recall he stunk it up in Man City. He never understood that his biggest asset are his jets….run forest run!!!!

  74. Kutama says:

    The only problem Holden staying still next summer before going to Europe is that MLS minimum signing time is 2 years (in which he might not be eligible because he is not a “veteran” – I guess Heath Pearce used this to sign for 2 yrs minimum so as to go back to Europe after his contract is up) & that will trap him in MLS unless a European team is willing to shell out a transfer fee…..I don’t think Holden will go for that. This is the problem with a March – Nov league instead of a European style league of Aug – May

  75. Stephen says:

    And to learn what a run-on sentence is…haha. I couldn’t resist. But If Holden goes now he’s likely to start playing now, whereas if he waits for the MLS season to start he will have been off for 3-4 months.

  76. Silent fan says:

    As much as I want him to stay in MLS, the kid has to go to Europe now. He has gotten paid like crap here for 4 years, he’s already won 2 MLS Cup titles, been to an All Star game, voted best 11…what else is there for him to accomplish here? MVP? His goal is to develop as a player, make the World Cup roster in 2010 and play regular first team football in Europe. Besides, IF there is a work stoppage in MLS the timing of this move looks even better for him.

    Send us a postcard from Europe Stuie!

  77. cfig says:

    Bingo. I’m sure he’s been offered a lot of cash from the Dynamo (they’ve implied as much) but this is at least as much about his development as a player as it is about salary. I really think Holland would be a great choice for him, I’d love to see him get some great training somewhere like PSV, play in some UEFA/Champions League matches, then move onto the Premiership in a few seasons.

  78. Eric_the_King says:

    Precisely….100% agree with you Scott. Even some of the best players in world over the past decade or so have started out with the baby-step method. Ronaldo (of Brazil) played for PSV. Van Nistelrooy did as well (and also played for Heerenveen and someone else prior). Ronaldhino played for PSG. Even Zidane spent a full 8 years in France before making his move to Juve. And these are top-class players. We can only hope that whoever these agents are for our young talents realize how this concept works.

  79. Martha says:

    Holden should avoid that crap hack league before they ruin him like Edu and Beas there’s only two teams in that league good enough tobplay in coca cola mls is a better all around league. He can get. Hacked here he doesn’t need to go to third rate euro league for that

  80. aron says:

    Guus is a tactical genius.

    He would improve the caliber of US soccer without a doubt.

    End of.

  81. Berlin says:


  82. Juan Carlos Osorio says:

    What about tactical geniuses?

  83. rob says:

    Holden should come to Newcastle, were stable!! Well, at least as stable as a chair with two legs missing…

  84. madmax says:

    Agreed Martha. I hope Holden turns down the SPL offer. It could be argued it is not a step up from Houston in quality. Hopefully he’ll get an offer outside of the SPL.

  85. alex says:

    How does going to europe now better him? And he hasn’t gotten paid crap he was a GA with no other offers, he is an endorsed athlete. Going to europe in the middle of the season has worked out for who exactly? Unless you are a game changer, you have to come in fighting to get past the other guys who have been there all season,Instead of worrying about making this team he should be concentrating on working on the things that the US team will need from him in SA.

  86. Jamie Hex says:

    Why on Earth would Holden go to Aberdeen? They aren’t as good as Houston and the SPL is AWFUL.

  87. Michael Vann says:

    He wouldn’t go to Newcastle those bastard fans are the ones that nearly ended his career before it even started. They did quite a number on his eye when he was a pup at Sunderland. Then again it was a blessing in disguise because the injury and attack allowed him to come home.

  88. Katatonia says:

    lol at the mls snobs. houston would end up in the Scottish Division 1.

  89. b-hags says:


  90. bigvic says:

    yes, it actually is a good thing for MLS to spend 4mil on payroll and still see its attendance go down, its ratings stay flat, and its entries into concacaf cl get dealt a big can of mexican whoop-ass. For MLS teams to be taken seriously on the regional and international stage, you’ll probably need payrolls in profitable cities like LA & Sea & TFC & Chi in excess of 10mil. Obviously, the league wont be able to support KC or Col (crew or rapids) also having that payroll leeway.
    When that happens, MLS should probably push hard for the Concacaf CL to pay through the nose for a couple of S. Amer. brand names to join in at the group stage to improve the international lustre of the tournament.

  91. DC Josh says:

    Please God don’t let Holden go to the SPL. Look at Edu and Beasley, they’ve both spent significant time INJURED!

    SPL is a ankle-hack league. Bob Bradley needs to keep all his players out of their.

    I’d rather Holden go to Holland or France, where he can work on his technical ability.

    The US team can ill afford to lose that wonderful right foot of his.

  92. SrySnffy says:

    Stuart should go to Russia, Holland, or Portugal before he goes to the SPL. I think France would be a great league for him.

  93. Nats fan says:

    Until the national team starts showing more consistent success abroad and the U.S. system produces more polished players the top young American talent is going to be perpetually stuck in this Euro-limbo. The top 4 leagues will only sniff at the cream of our crop and let them ride the pine while many of the other leagues have too much financial instability or institutionally don’t want to take expensive chances, especially in this global recession, leaving our players undervalued. It’s cheaper and easier for top clubs to bring over talent from soccer-mad, poverty-stricken areas like Brazil, Africa or their develop own youth programs. What real incentive is there to import 20-something year old players from the U.S. who still need more training in subtle game aspects like awareness, timing, creativity, passing, finishing and defending? Until American players outside of our goalkeepers start showing more mettle in UEFA competition our players aren’t going to see that stage. Chelsea would much rather establish some little development team and hold 80K seat sold-out exhibitions in the U.S. and sell us their jerseys than take on our players. Can’t wait to see how Donovan’s awaited Eurotransfer will fare.

  94. agfar says:

    Kyle Beckerman has been solid and move to a Scandinavian team could do wonders

  95. ShonMiguel says:

    They might as well, they aren’t making any money in MLS.

  96. cfig says:

    Apparently Aberdeen fans think he’d be a step up for them:
    link to boards.footymad.net

  97. bee dubya says:

    You nailed it Kutama. Holden was making peanuts this year ($34.5K I think). No wonder he wants to leave the MLS.

    I think Holden is the sort of player that the MLS needs to hold on to but until they start paying players more money, the MLS will always be a feeder league.

  98. tim says:

    Ives (or one of his minions) reported it and basically implied it was done. Of course, they dont do research on this site. There was never any confirmed deal, just the rantings of Livorno’s president. Clark always maintained that he would see at the end of the season.

  99. Tony Toca says:

    More good players heading to terrible teams/leagues. It’s time for Garber to lift the cap. For the sake of MLS and Team USA, do it now!