Monday, August 20, 2007

Designated superstars

Perhaps one thing that stands out the most to me from this weekend's MLS games is the impact the league's designated players had. Three of the four DPs each produced in the highest possible manner as the rule continues to pay dividends.

- The New York Red Bulls had average somewhere around 11,000 per game this season. Some 66,000 turned out to watch David Beckham, for whom the DP rule was paved. Beckham hadn't played a full game with the Galaxy yet, in fact, he had barely pieced together 90 minutes in his three previous matches. But against the Red Bulls, before the largest non-doubleheader crowd to take in an MLS match at Giants Stadium, Beckham performed his magic. Beckham racked up three assists as the Galaxy dropped four goals on the Red Bulls. The stunning performance would surely have led to a Galaxy victory...

- ... had it not been for the game's other designated player. Juan Pablo Angel, who likely would not have considered MLS an option with the salary restrictions in place for non-DP players, had two important goals. He ripped an early free kick that was too much for Galaxy goalkeeper Joe Cannon to handle and broke a 4-4 tie with another shot Cannon failed to handle at the death. It was the ninth goal of a match that will go down as one of the best MLS games ever.

- Lost in the spotlight of the Galaxy-Red Bulls clash was Cuauhtemoc Blanco's visit to Real Salt Lake. Blanco and the Fire have not received as much attention as Beckham and the Galaxy but the Mexican icon still lured Club America-backers and Blanco fans to Rice-Eccles Stadium. Late in the first half, Blanco buried a wicked long-range, left-footed volley into the back of the net. Later, he assisted on Paulo Wanchope's first Fire goal as Chicago won 2-0.

- New York's Claudio Reyna, the fourth DP, did not play due to an injury. Capable of producing like the aforementioned trio, Reyna's injuries have nonetheless taken some of the luster off that particular signing.

7 comments:

EastRiver said...

I can imagine MLS increasing their DP slot from one to two at the end of the season. The league must find a way to address the Donovan issue so he want have to leave LAG. Even if they don't away a 2nd DP slot expect the MLS to some rules somewhere so as LD stays a member of the Galaxy.

My Opinion Over Yours said...

Chicago will make the playoffs. That team is already heating up and is likely to keep improving. With Mapp and Rolfe coming off recent injuries and Conde's imminent addition the Fire seem to be the team most likely to make a fast climb up the standings. I wouldn't be surprised to see only Dallas and Houston make it out of the West.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - but Reyna, even when fit, is not capable of producing like the other three. He just isn't.

Anonymous said...

Chuatemoc is NOT going through all the growing pains that many, including myself, thought that he would go through.

He is intergrating very well with Chicago. Add Rolfe and Wanchope up top....could be dangerous.

Anonymous said...

I agree with eastriver, that MLS will probably expand from one DP to two to get around the Donovan situation (surely a way to bail out the Galaxy. look at it from the perspective of any GM if they keep it as one slot. You KNOW the Galaxy will need that extra DP slot. And knowing that Lalas can barely make a deal for a ham sandwich, you'll shakedown the Galaxy for everything they got).

Hopefully, though, if they bump up the DP slots, they acknowledge the Guevara trade and allow the Red Bulls to have three DPs. That's only fair.

Anonymous said...

Anoymous beat me to it, but Reyna is nowhere near the class of the others as you've mentioned. Your kindness, and unwillingness to offend, infringes on your opinions. stick to the game reports maybe.

Anonymous said...

So the MLS should increase to 2 DP slots when there are only 6 (4 DP's, Donovan and Johnson) players I believe getting DP money out of a possible 13. You would have 28 DP slots in a league struggling to break even at this point. A more logical thing to do would be to gradually add to the cap allowing teams to bring in players without using a DP.

As a point of debate what exactly is Landon Donovan really giving the LA Galaxy for the money they are paying him? If they didn't have him on the team next year and had his money to spend on other players I would have to argue they should be in a better position.