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Jeff Parke's return to Major League Soccer is going to have to wait.
Parke has left the Seattle Sounders after spending less than a week with the club. The former New York Red Bulls defender could not reach a contract agreement with Seattle and has left, the Seattle Times reported on Thursday.
Sources have told SBI that Parke will train with the USL Vancouver Whitecaps until a resolution is reached within MLS, most likely in the form of a trade for Parke's rights. If a resolution cannot be reached, Parke will return to Europe for more trials this summer after failing to secure a deal in Belgium this winter.
So where might Parke wind up? Three destinations make the most sense: New York, D.C. United and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The Red Bulls are clearly in need of central defense help and Parke was one of the team's best defenders for the past five years, before a 10-match suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs coupled with the end of his contract, led to his departure. After failing to reach an agreement on a new contract with Parke, the Red Bulls left him exposed in the expansion draft, where Seattle selected.
As much sense as it makes, it is very unlikely to happen. Along with New York needing to come up with a trade package to get Parke, there is also the matter of any lingering resentment over the entire drug suspension fiasco. Parke told SBI last week that there were still some bad feelings for how the Red Bulls handled his suspension.
"You don't ever want to close all doors or shut the door to a place," Parke said. "New York is a great place, and I liked playing with the guys, so I can't say that I wouldn't ever want to go back, but it's going to take some time for me to get over the whole situation and what happened."
Perhaps the most likely destination is the Los Angeles Galaxy, which could use a central defender. Sources tell SBI that LA has already inquired about Parke and LA head coach Bruce Arena is very familiar with Parke, having coached him with New York in 2006 and 2007. Just what LA could give up in a trade remains to be seen.
D.C. United also makes sense because of the team's need for central defense help. The club did sign Dejan Jakovic and Anthony Peters in the off-season, but Parke could still step right in and start for D.C., after serving the four remaining matches of his suspension, that is.
Who else could use Parke? Not many teams in MLS don't need a centerback. Toronto FC could use him, and has made attempts to acquire Parke in the past so they can't be ruled out. San Jose and Colorado are also clubs that could use a solid central defender.
The reality is that Parke could start for several teams in MLS, but the Sounders have to agree to a deal and a team has to be willing to sign a player who will serve a four-game suspension. Sources tell SBI that the Sounders have set the bar high for a trade price for Parke's rights, meaning a deal may not be made before Parke heads back to Europe for trials this summer.
Where do you think Jeff Parke should go? Could you see him in LA? Still holding out hope for a reunion with New York? Think Seattle is crazy for not signing him?
Share your thoughts below.