Designated Player Rule

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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.

San Jose brings back Jamaica’s Simon Dawkins, this time as DP

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San Jose made another significant CONCACAF addition to its squad when it announced the return of Simon Dawkins on Wednesday.

The Jamaican winger, 28, will be a Designated Player for the Quakes, joining Panamanian defender Anibal Godoy as an international star looking to help San Jose with its facelift.

The England-born Dawkins was a Tottenham Hotspur youth product before heading to San Jose on loan in 2011, where he scored 14 goals in two seasons.

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Dawkins then went on loan to the English Championship before being transferred to Steve McClaren‘s Rams, where he spent three seasons before moving back to the U.S.

He has 20 caps for Jamaica, with three goals.

Dawkins joins a cast of Quakes which can now be called a sneaky pick to impress in 2016. More signings are needed, plus the continued growth of Fatai Alashe and Tommy Thompson, but San Jose might just be coming around.

Timbers use TAM to pay down Adi, add new Argentine DP striker (video)

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The Portland Timbers have made use of Major League Soccer’s new Targeted Allocation Money policy to land themselves another forward.

The Timbers used TAM to pay down Fanendo Adi’s Designated Player salary to below the DP minimum, using that extra league money to sign 22-year-old Argentine forward Lucas Melano.

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Melano is a former Argentina U-20 player who has plied his trade professionally with Lanus and Belgrano in his home country, where he scored 15 times in 86 matches.

Melano becomes Portland’s fifth Argentine player, and second Argentine DP after Diego Valeri. Maxi Urruti, Norberto Paparatto, and Gaston Fernandez are the other three.

From Timbers.com:

“This is player we tried to sign several years ago while he was at Belgrano and have followed him very closely ever since,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager of the Timbers. “The process in bringing him to Portland has been a lengthy and challenging one, as he was targeted by several European and Mexican clubs. We believe Lucas is a player that will suit the style and system, will make us better immediately and will be an asset to the club for the future.”

Shortly after joining the club, Melano helped Lanús win the 2013 Copa Sudamericana title, appearing in nine matches and scoring three goals during the cup competition, while finishing tied for fourth among all players in goal scoring during the tournament.

“Melano is a player we’ve had our eye on for some time and we are extremely pleased to finally announce his addition,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “Lucas is a very exciting, dynamic player with pace and individual game-changing ability. His versatility to be able to play any of the front four positions in our system also gives us flexibility to mesh him with our other quality pieces. We feel confident Lucas will make an immediate impact on our goal production this season but will also continue to grow with the club and be a key fixture in MLS for years to come.”

Will this move be a boon to Portland? Hard to say, but the Timbers have gained six points of safety in the race for a playoff spot. But in terms of a relative unknown, will Melano be more Octavio Rivero or Luis Angel Landin?

Well, he did once score a pair of goals in rather quick succession: