Never mind all that, says Davis -- this is not another Designated Player rule. Teams are still bound by the salary cap, which means they'll still be looking for cheap talent. "Lots of [U.S. players] can compete with foreign players on the lower end of the pay scale," Davis says, pointing to the quality players that have emerged from the MLS SuperDraft and programs like Generation adidas.
Instead, the move is all about expanding the talent pool for the league's expansion. MLS plans to add four more teams by 2010, which is still far too early for the league's youth development programs to have born fruit. "To risk losing that momentum as we go through this period of expansion would really be shooting ourselves in the foot," says MLS Deputy Commissioner Ivan Gazidis, adding that foreign players like Luciano Emilio and Juan Toja contributed greatly to the league's overall improvement in quality -- a trend he would obviously like to see continue.