Friday, July 27, 2012

Smitty's Mailbag

Can you explain the MLS's designated player rule? The most I know about it is that teams are limited to 3 designated players. Which seems kinda odd to me cause I would think everybody on the team would be a designated player. - Cory L., Raceland, LA
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Nicknamed "the Beckham Rule," the Designated Player Rule was adopted as part of MLS's salary cap regulations for the 2007 season. The rule allows each MLS franchise to sign up to three players that would be considered outside of the team's salary cap (either by offering the player higher wages or by paying a transfer fee for the player), allowing MLS teams to compete for star players in the international soccer market. In a nutshell, it's a way for the league to either bring in talented foreign players or keep our better domestic players in the league by being able to offer them more money without incurring a penalty.

Each club has two Designated Player slots and clubs are allowed to “purchase” a third Designated Player slot for a one-time fee of $250,000 that will be dispersed in the form of allocation money to all clubs that do not have three Designated Players. Clubs will not have to buy the third DP roster slot to accommodate Designated Players 23 years old and younger. Designated Player slots are not tradable.

Here's a list of the league's current designated players:

Álvaro Fernández (Uruguay) - Chicago Fire
Sherjill MacDonald (Netherlands) - Chicago Fire
Oswaldo Minda (Ecuador) - Chivas USA
Hamdi Salihi (Albania) - D.C. United
Fabián Castillo (Colombia) - FC Dallas
David Ferreira (Colombia) - FC Dallas
Julian de Guzman (Canada) - FC Dallas
Oscar Boniek Garcia (Honduras) - Houston Dynamo
Landon Donovan (USA) - Los Angeles Galaxy
David Beckham (England) - Los Angeles Galaxy
Robbie Keane (Ireland) - Los Angeles Galaxy
Marco Di Vaio (Italy) - Montreal Impact
Shalrie Joseph (Grenada) - New England Revolution
Jerry Bengtson (Honduras) - New England Revolution
Thierry Henry (France) - New York Red Bulls
Rafael Marquez (Mexico) - New York Red Bulls
Tim Cahill (Australia) - New York Red Bulls
Freddy Adu (USA) - Philadelphia Union
Diego Chará (Colombia) - Portland Timbers
Kris Boyd (Scotland) - Portland Timbers
Álvaro Saborío (Costa Rica) - Real Salt Lake
Javier Morales (Argentina) - Real Salt Lake
Fredy Montero (Colombia) - Seattle Sounders FC
Mauro Rosales (Argentina) - Seattle Sounders FC
Danny Koevermans (Netherlands) - Toronto FC
Torsten Frings (Netherlands) - Toronto FC
Eric Hassli (France) - Toronto FC
Barry Robson (Scotland) - Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Kenny Miller (Scotland) - Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Michael Bradley just made a move to AS Roma. Chievo Verona got $4.6M and half-ownership interests in Romanian Adrian Stoian. Who got the better end of that deal and is that a good move for Bradley? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
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There's no question that Roma is a better team than Chievo Verona and the addition of Bradley makes them that much more competitive and a favorite to grab a spot in a postseason tournament. In that regard, Roma is getting the better end of this deal as they get a starting central midfielder while giving up less than $5M and a 21 year old prospect who spent last season playing in Serie B. Stoian may turn out to be sensational, it's too early to tell, but for what Roma's looking to do right now and what the addition of Bradley means for them this season, it was an easy decision to pull the trigger.

As for how the move affects Bradley, I love it. After a terrific debut season in Serie A he now goes to a better team which, assuming he can win a starting job, will only help further his development as a player. And that is exactly what the U.S. Men's National Team needs from him right now. The move seems to be working out well so far as Bradley tallied a goal in this week's exhibition game against Liverpool.

There's been a lot of talk as to whether or not this Spanish National team is the best team ever to be assembled. Pele seems to think his Brazilian team from the 70s was better. How do you see it? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
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That's a tough one. Pelé's 1970 World Cup Champion Brazil team outscored its opponents 19-7 in 6 games en route to a perfect tournament. Three times in the tournament they scored at least 4 goals led by Jairzinho's seven and four more from that guy Pelé who you might have heard of. On the other side of the coin you have the 2012 Spain squad. Spain went 8-0 in Euro 2012 Qualifying outscoring their opponents 26-6, and then went on to go unbeaten and conceded just one goal in six games en route to the Euro 2012 Championship. It's worth noting though that Spain did draw with both Italy (1-1 in group play) and Portugal (0-0 before winning on penalties in the semifinals). If we're talking best team ever, I don't think you can have those kinds of slip-ups. Advantage: Brazil. However, don't forget that Spain won this last tournament without David Villa and without Carles Puyol. If they'd had both of them healthy then you might have a real debate on your hands.

There are plenty of rumors rolling around the Deuce may be headed to Liverpool. It's also widely reported that Deuce wants to play Champions League ball. Liverpool is not going to be playing in the Champions League this season. Something is not adding up. Can you  help me to understand the "logic" involved here? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
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To me Liverpool doesn't make a lot of sense. Well, let me rephrase. The move makes a lot of sense to Liverpool. Dempsey would pair nicely with Steven Gerrard in the midfield and this move coupled with a couple others could make Liverpool a serious contender again. But as you said, Liverpool isn't playing in the Champions League this year. Maybe Dempsey grew up a huge Liverpool fan and that's who he's always wanted to play for. Otherwise, I'm as confused as you are. I'm still waiting for PSG to swoop in and make Deuce an offer. I could see him and Zlatan Ibrahimović teaming up to be quite a tandem. And yeah, PSG is playing in the Champions League this season.

That does it for this issue. As always a special thanks to everyone who wrote in. And remember, as the great G$ Meyer says Reading is for Winners, especially when you read Smitty's Mailbag.

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