As good a player as Juan Pablo Angel certainly is, he didn't play like an MVP Thursday night during New York's 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy, says USSoccerPlayers Ian Plenderleith. In fact, "continually citing him as the personification of the huge and almighty success of the Designated Player rule is getting old," he says, especially in light of his dodgy finishing. Angel should have easily had three goals Thursday night, but instead of being chided for a poor night, he continues to get "a free ride" from the ESPN2 commentary team.
Plenderleith's point is that the DP rule hasn't turned out as well as the league would have you believe. Sure, Angel has had several good games for New York and so has Cuauhtemoc Blanco of Chicago (although he's played just half a season), but David Beckham can't yet be called a success (four league games, three losses, one draw, and two assists), Denilson of FC Dallas has been a bust so far (will he even start against Kansas City Saturday?), and the injured Claudio Reyna, with three assists in 21 games, "has hardly been an impact player."
And so we're repeatedly hit over the head with Angel as the shining example of the DP rule's success. But let's not forget in assessing the worth of these players that they're incredibly expensive when weighed against the league-mandated salary cap. Meanwhile, none of the teams with DPs will have finished in the top four this season.