MLS clubs load up on Designated Players from Latin America

From its first season in 1996 when players like Colombian great Carlos Valderamma and Mexican keeper Jorge Campos were signed, MLS has always looked to Latin America for talent.

That is certainly true in 2020, MLS's 25th season, as more than half of the players currently classified as Designated Players  -- 37 of 66 players -- hail from Latin America.

Designated Players (by country)
South America 29 (Argentina 13, Uruguay 6, Brazil 2, Colombia 2, Peru 2, Venezuela 2, Chile 1, Paraguay 1)
Europe 17 (Netherlands 2, Poland 2, Portugal 2, Slovakia 2, Spain 2, Denmark 1, England 1, Georgia 1, Germany 1, Romania 1, Scotland 1, Slovenia 1.)
Concacaf 14 (Mexico 6, USA 5, Canada 1, Costa Rica 1, Honduras 1)
Asia 3 (Iraq 1, Japan 1, South Korea 1)
Africa 3 (Algeria 1, Cape Verde Islands 1, Liberia)

Argentina has the most DPs with 13, five signed in the offseason. Mexico and Uruguay are next with six. Just five Americans currently have DP status.

Of the 66 DPs, a third have been signed in the offseason, and another 19 arrived in 2019.

Ten clubs -- seven with two and three with one have less than the maximum three DPs. In some cases, they are holding spots for players are hoping to sign as DPs.

Clubs have until the MLS Compliance date on Feb. 28 to get down to three Designated Players.

Atlanta United
Ezequiel Barco (Argentina, 2018)
Josef Martinez (Venezuela, 2017)
Pity Martinez (Argentina, 2019)

Chicago Fire
Robert Beric (Slovenia, 2020)
Ignacio Aliseda (Argentina, 2020)

FC Cincinnati
Allan Cruz (Costa Rica, 2019)
Siem de Jong (Netherlands, 2020)
Yuya Kubo (Japan, 2020)
Juergen Locadia (Netherlands, 2020)
(A player's contract will be bought down using Allocation Money ahead of the Compliance date on Feb. 28.)

Colorado Rapids
Younes Namli (Denmark, 2020)

Columbus Crew
Pedro Santos (Portugal, 2018)
Gyasi Zardes (USA, 2013)
Lucas Zelarayan (Argentina, 2020)

FC Dallas
Santiago Mosquera (Colombia, 2018)
Bryan Acosta (Honduras, 2019)
Franco Jara (Argentina, 2020)

D.C. United
Paul Arriola (USA, 2017)
Edison Flores (Peru, 2020)

Houston Dynamo
Alberth Elis (Honduras, 2017)
Tomas Martinez (Argentina, 2017)

Inter Miami
Matias Pellegrini (Argentina, 2020)
Rodolfo Pizarro (Mexico, 2020)

LA Galaxy
Jonathan dos Santos (Mexico, 2017)
Cristian Pavon (Argentina, 2019)
Javier Hernandez (Mexico, 2020)

Los Angeles FC
Carlos Vela (Mexico, 2018)
Diego Rossi (Uruguay, 2018)
Brian Rodriguez (Uruguay, 2019)

Minnesota United
Jan Gregus (Slovakia, 2019)
Thomas Chacon (Uruguay, 2019)

Montreal Impact
Saphir Taider (Algeria, 2018)

Nashville SC
Hany Mukhtar (Germany, 2020)

New England Revolution
Carles Gil (Spain, 2019)
Gustavo Bou (Argentina, 2019)
Adam Buksa (Poland, 2020)

New York City FC
Maximiliano Moralez (Argentina, 2017)
Jesús Medina (Uruguay, 2018)
Alexandru Mitrita (Romania, 2019)

New York Red Bulls
Kaku (Paraguay, 2018)
Josh Sims (England, 2019)

Orlando City
Dom Dwyer (USA, 2012)
Nani (Portugal, 2019)
Mauricio Pereyra (Uruguay, 2019)
Junior Urso (Brazil, 2020)
(A player's contract will be bought down using Allocation Money ahead of the Compliance date on Feb. 28.)

Philadelphia Union
Alejandro Bedoya (USA, 2016)
Jamiro Monteiro (Cape Verde Islands, 2019)

Portland Timbers
Sebastian Blanco (Argentina, 2017)
Yimmi Chara (Colombia, 2020)
Jarosaw Niezgoda (Poland, 2020)

Real Salt Lake
Albert Rusnak (Slovakia, 2017)
Sam Johnson (Liberia, 2019)
Jeizon Ramirez (Venezuela, 2020)

San Jose Earthquakes
Vako (Georgia, 2017)
Cristian Espinoza (Argentina, 2019)

Seattle Sounders
Nicolas Lodeiro (Uruguay, 2016)
Raul Ruidiaz (Peru, 2018)
João Paulo (Brazil, 2020)

Sporting KC
Felipe Gutierrez (Chile, 2018)
Johnny Russell (Scotland, 2018)
Alan Pulido (Mexico, 2020)

Toronto FC
Jozy Altidore (USA, 2006)
Alejandro Pozuelo (Spain, 2019)
Pablo Piatti (Argentina, 2020)

Vancouver Whitecaps
Ali Adnan (Iraq, 2019)
Hwang In-beom (South Korea, 2019)
Lucas Cavallini (Canada, 2020)

4 comments about "MLS clubs load up on Designated Players from Latin America".
  1. Ben Myers, February 24, 2020 at 10:54 a.m.

    This article underscores again why MLS has never been the place to develop elite USMNT players.  All too few young Americans get an opportunity to shine in MLS, whereas managers in the major European leagues do not hesitate to put talented young players into top-level important matches.  Gio Reyna at Dortmund is the current example.  Fortunately, young American men have ample opportunity to play and to have their talent recognized in lower level US leagues.  Then it is off to Europe for many.  You think Berhalter recognizes this?

  2. R2 Dad replied, February 24, 2020 at 1:44 p.m.

    It's all about the business model. Look at who watches more soccer on TV--immigrant communities numbers are much higher. Higher quality players from the Americas are a relative deal, and come from better academies than what we have here. USSF would need to grow a spine, but cartilage and bone are in short supply at (the) Sepiolidae Soccer House.

  3. Ric Fonseca, February 24, 2020 at 4:35 p.m.

    OK, fine and dandy, however the prevous comments say it all as looking down MLS noses at "home grown" talent, whether it be from the "Texas favelas" (that Mike W wrote about several days ago) to Southern Calif, the Pacific N'West to the mid west or east coast, it is all too oabvious to many that the dearth and apparent obvious dislike of local USA talent, is or doesn't even appear on the MLS radar.  Now, will someone out there write a piece on just how much dinero/USD it is costing to bring in players?  And I vaguely remember a saying in the Spanish-speaking communities, that old or the thirtish-aged players only come to the US, not just to retire, but to have a chance to go to disneyland and visit Hollywood, and possible qualify for a green card, and then coach the myriad of unaffiliated teams in the hundreds, and hundreds of unaffiliated Latino/Hispanic leagues, etc.  There seems to be some truth to this, wouldn't y'all say?

  4. Bob Ashpole, February 24, 2020 at 8:57 p.m.

    I don't think the MLS is unique. Every top league that I know has incorporated domestic players in significant numbers, has done so because their FA forced them. This is all on USSF, not MLS. (Unless of course USSF is controlled by MLS.)

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