Friday's match between the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls puts the spotlight on MLS's Designated Players and their impact on the league. Between them, they have five DPs: David Beckham, whose arrival in 2007 inspired the designation, and Landon Donovan, the lone American DP, for the Galaxy; Juan Pablo Angel, the injured Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez for New York, the lone team with three DPs.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber says the DP rule allows the league to provide fans “with a brand of soccer that competes with what they can see on television, within the financial parameters that exist today for an emerging professional sports league."
There are 14 DPs in MLS, but more will follow soon. Mexican Luis Angel Landin was a bust in Houston, but Tim Leiweke gave the Dynamo the go-ahead to sign another DP. “His direct words were, I think, ‘Go big or go home,'" Houston COO Chris Canetti said of Leiweke's directive at a recent dinner that was also attended by Coach Dominic Kinnear.