Designated Player Rule

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FC Cincinnati signs one-time Brighton record transfer Locadia

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FC Cincinnati got it done: Jurgen Locadia on loan from Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion.

The loan will run just a few months before Cincy will have to decide on its option to buy on July 5.

It’s an incredible low-risk deal for Cincy, besides his PL wages and the likelihood of a club transfer record come July. If he turns out to be the worst of combustible problems, Cincy isn’t out millions and millions. If he bails after four months, Cincy deserves credit for the effort and can seek a solution in the July window.

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Put plainly: It’s a new one for MLS, as a Premier League club transfer record attacker joins an MLS side within a couple of years of the aforementioned transfer.

We say likelihood because it would be truly surprising if Locadia doesn’t score goals. The second-year MLS club gets a 26-year old who was a club-record signing for Brighton in 2018.

Locadia bagged six goals and two assists in 43 appearances for Brighton but has four goals and an assist on loan to Hoffenheim this season.

The numbers didn’t impress in relation to his price tag, but the English and German top flights are levels above still-growing MLS. And his production at PSV Eindhoven before Brighton was special: 176 appearances, 62 goals and 39 assists across all competitions.

The only danger is he might not find the league, travel, and nation to his liking, though he stressed he’s spent plenty of time in some of the United States’ biggest cities.

Here’s what Locadia told Cincinnati.com’s Pat Brennan regarding what will go into the decision come July 5:

“I think the main thing for me is playing games. Like, play all the games, but obviously it’s my thing also. I need to show the coach that I want to play and be important for the team,” Locadia said. “Beside that, scoring goals and I think I will like it here, of course, because I’ve been in the United States often. Depends on the league also. Like, the level of the league.”

Locadia is a Designated Player, joining fellow Cincy new boy Yuya Kubo, a permanent signing from Genk.

Almost regardless of how this move plays out in MLS, it’s a statement-making success for the league.

Report: MLS discussing significant change to Designated Player Rule

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Major League Soccer is toying with a change to its roster structure aimed at spreading the wealth, according to The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal.

That’s both a literal and figurative turn of phrase.

Currently, the league allows teams three Designated Players. Put too simply: a Designated Player is a player that is considered outside the team’s salary cap.

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Some of the biggest names in league history have come via the DP rule, and they’ve brought immense cred to the league: Wayne Rooney, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sebastian Giovinco, David Beckham, and Didier Drogba are a handful of players who fit the bill.

Well now the league is aiming at making sure at least one of the three DPs is under the age of 23, which would eliminate DP triumvirates like Toronto FC’s uniting of Giovinco, Michael Bradley, and Jozy Altidore.

The idea is that players under the age of 23 bring a lot more money to the table when they are sold than the the older guys.

The new plan would break down something like this, via The Athletic:

Sources said that the league and its influential product strategy committee are considering a new set of DP rules designed to more strongly encourage the signing of younger players. Under these new rules, if none of a team’s three DPs are under 23 years old, the annual spend for one of those players would be capped at a sum of $1 million plus that season’s maximum budget charge. In 2019, that total would’ve been $1.53 million, or the upper limit for a player who could be bought down using targeted allocation money. If teams have at least one U-23 DP, they would be able to spend any amount on all three of their DPs.

Stejskal cites sources as saying it’s not just about making money for its coffers, but that it could help close the gap between those spending boatloads and those not quite willing to do that.

My opinion? I don’t like it, unless the league is going to let all of the sale money stay with the individual clubs.

There has to be another to encourage teams to sign young bucks without taking away from the people bringing neutral fans to the table. And if a team feels it’ll get more acclaim from three David Villas than three Matias Pelegrinis well, which name did the average fan need to look up?

Take your average U-23 hot shot who’s yet to reach his peak. He may score some bangers and capture the league’s imagination a la Miguel Almiron. And that’s great, especially Atlanta, Portland, Seattle, and other markets which have really embraced their clubs regardless of the stars’ identities.

Some of that is myopic, and the league’s progress has rocketed because of players from all over the planet. Scientifically speaking, MLS is 100 times better than it was even 10 years ago. To put age restrictions on DPs in order to fuel transfer fees not just for clubs, but for the league itself? Nah.

Finally, I have to beg a little bit of ignorance to the incredibly complicated world which is the MLS rulebook. If I’m missing something, well, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Report: MLS to consider lowering maximum Designated Players

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A report claims Major League Soccer is considering lower its maximum amount of Designated Players per team from three to two.

Right now, each team can select up to three players whose salaries do not count against the salary cap. Starting with David Beckham in 2007, the rule has been used to bring well over 100 players to the league.

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But some owners have been bashed inside the markets for not taking on the maximum number of stars.

For example, New England’s Claudio Dielna is the Revolution’s only DP and reportedly makes under $1 million per season. At least three teams (LA Galaxy, Toronto FC, Atlanta United) have three DPs all making more than that.

There are reasons to consider the move a rational one in the eventual destination of unspent money going to the rest of the roster. Problem is, according to The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio, that’s almost certainly not going to happen with most teams:

Some owners … will claim it simply moves the spend from one area of the roster to another, from the top to the middle. But the league could just as easily keep improving the middle of the roster by adding more TAM and leaving everything else alone.

Some owners clearly don’t want to do that because they don’t want to spend in both places, and so they want to make sure other owners don’t spend in both places, either. They would effectively be tying an anchor to a league that is finally starting to ascend.

There’s a lot to that, and it treads a logical path. MLS is as watchable as ever, with more talent top-to-bottom than ever before, but the slope can get pretty slippery as the league continues its bid to be the best league in North America. Liga MX has consistently won meaningful CONCACAF competitions, but MLS has made some in-roads.

The idea of lowering DPs to two is not being well-received by some fans or soccer minds. This one made us laugh.

Minnesota United lands first DP in Club America’s Quintero

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Minnesota United announced the signing of its first Designated Player on Saturday.

That historic figure is Darwin Quintero, the 30-year-old Club America winger arriving on a low $200,000 transfer fee.

Quintero was more playmaker than finisher for the Mexico City club, where he fell out of favor with the Mexico City club after a successful run with Santos Laguna.

The diminutive player stands 5-foot-5 and will face a physical test in MLS, but should produce at a good clip for the Loons.

And it’s great news for big target man Christian Ramirez.

Here’s coach Adrian Heath, from mnufc.com:

Bringing a player with Darwin’s quality and pedigree is another step in the right direction for this club,” said MNUFC Head Coach Adrian Heath. “He’s a player with the finishing of a striker and the vision to open play up, he’s got great technical ability and our players will enjoy playing with him. We are delighted he has decided to join — he didn’t need a lot of persuading after hearing about the club’s growth, Allianz Field and our incredible fans. The fact that he has only had two different clubs in the past 10 years shows you he wants to be part of a something. He wants to help this club and this community.”

Honestly, this is one of those signings which should be good for the club, but could present some with a step back in perception if he’s an out-and-out, top-of-the-pops star.

Real Salt Lake signs Plata to multi-year DP deal

Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP
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SANDY, Utah (AP) Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Joao Plata to a multi-year contract and he will continue to hold a designated-player spot.

The 24-year-old was acquired from Toronto FC before the 2013 season and he has 30 goals and 30 assists in regular-season play with RSL.

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Plata ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time assists list and No. 5 in goals. He has 33 goals and 35 assists during his MLS career.

Real Salt Lake begins the season Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC.