Major League Soccer will reach another milepost when someone figures out that defenders, holding midfielders or goalkeepers can hold their value as Designated Players. Not many, perhaps, but some.
I have said it several times before: attackers have hogged up all the DP spots, but someone will eventually be smart to break from convention here. It seems that the LA Galaxy may be close. (That’s progress, I suppose.)
ESPN’s Alexi Lalas reported via Twitter this morning that Galaxy GM Chris Klein “told me he’d like to keep Omar Gonzalez and Omar wants to stay. He wouldn’t rule out making him a DP.”
See there; nothing like a little solid clarity on a situation, eh?
That’s sarcasm, of course. Nothing much has moved here except a little more information from the Galaxy side. Gonzalez’s contract ends this year. The Galaxy is already past the point where the club can make big bank on their talented U.S. international center back. Since he can sign a pre-contract as early as this summer, they are already likely to lose him without compensation.
So the club is left with just two options regarding the man most important in last year’s successful title defense – yes, Gonzalez was more important than any of the Galaxy’s three DPs, Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan or David Beckham.
They can lean on him through 2013, hoping the 6-5 center back can guided the Galaxy to a third MLS Cup crown, then lose him without zero compensation. Or, they can sign him to a DP deal – and it would surely take a figure beyond the Designated Player threshold to keep Gonzalez at the Home Depot Center.
Coaches and general managers will tell you that quality defenders, holding mids and goalkeepers can be found for lesser money. Attackers cost more, therefore they get the DP spots.
But there are surely exceptions, and Gonzalez is one of them.