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.