Monday, February 11, 2008

Denilson gone, what did MLS learn from the first DP failure?

On Friday, Denilson made it official, he is done with FC Dallas as he signed with Brazilian side Palmeiras. It is no shock that he is gone as FCD basically told him take a big pay cut, thus no longer being a designated player or don't come back. Since Denilson likes to make money, he decided to move along.

So what lessons can be learned from the first departure of a designated player? Basically don't bring a high profile player into a system that does work well with that player. Also, just because a player was on a World Cup winning team doesn't mean it will make a difference on the pitch or in the stands.

FC Dallas had a pretty tight midfield during much of the first part of the 2007 season, but then it all started to fall apart in September. This was not due to Denilson alone, as they also had some injury issues, but his odd fit with their style didn't help. He tried some fancy footwork, but his passing was off and his fitness never really seemed right. The fact that the team went from battling for the Supporters' Shield to middle of the playoff pack during Denilson's time with the club shows that things were not right.

In the end, someone was bound to make a poor choice with their designated player spot (I'm sure some New York fans will argue that Reyna is another example of this), so let's just hope the league as a whole learns from this.

When Beckham and Blanco were signed, some called it NASL part 2, but both these players accomplished what the league wants from DPs (ticket sales and pitch play (okay Becks hasn't done much on the second one yet)), while other DPs, Angel and to a lesser degree Reyna, at least made something happen on the field. Denilson did neither and seemed to just be around for the paycheck. The good news is FCD was able to cut their losses quickly thanks to a smart second year option in the contract.

With Denilson gone, that means the league again has five DPs.

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