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Sporting KC looks to DP Bieler to boost attack
by Paul Kennedy, December 18th, 2012 7:30PM

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TAGS:  argentina, mls, sporting kansas city

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[MLS TRANSACTIONS] Eastern Conference champion Sporting Kansas City continued its aggressive pursuit of talent by signing 28-year-old Argentine Claudio Bieler, who becomes the first Designated Player signed by an MLS club in the offseason. Sporting KC is banking on Bieler sticking around longer than the club's previous three DP signings.

Bieler, who was introduced on Tuesday in a press conference held at Livestrong Sporting Park, comes from Ecuador's LDU Quito, where he scored 57 goals in 110 league games over the last five seasons.

Sporting KC repeated as the Eastern Conference champion, but scoring remained a problem for the team. It scored only 42 goals in 34 regular-season games and fell to the Houston Dynamo, 2-1, on aggregate in the conference semifinals. The top scorer, Kei Kamara, had only 11 goals.

"He's proven over the years that he's a very consistent goal scorer," Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said. "We think he's got a lot of good qualities that can fit into our team. Everything from his commitment to being a team player, to his work ethic out on the field, to a guy that lives and breathes for club that he plays for. We're excited that we're able to finally secure him and add a player of his caliber to our organization."

Sporting KC has also signed Benny Feilhaber to boost its midfield, which will suffer the loss of Roger Espinoza, who was just granted a British work permit, paving the way for him to sign with Wigan Athletic.

Sporting KC's other DP signings were Argentine Claudio Lopez (2008), Mexican Omar Bravo (2011) and Brazilian Jeferson (2011). Lopez stayed two seasons in Kansas City but accepted a non-DP salary to remain with the club for the second season. Bravo and Jeferson did not return for the 2012 seasons.

MLS TRANSACTIONS:
Tuesday:
-- FC DALLAS signed Brazilian forward Pipico (ex-Vasco da Gama) as free agent.
-- SPORTING KC acquired Argentine forward Claudio Bieler from LDU Quito for an undisclosed transfer fee.
-- PORTLAND acquired Mobi Fehr (ex-FC Basel) through a weighted lottery.
Monday:
-- NEW YORK signed Brazilian midfielder Juninho (ex-Vasco da Gama) as free agent.



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