Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Plush basically says "No" when asked of Designated Players

Rapids managing director Jeff Plush recently had an interview with the MLS main site, talking about the basic stuff you expect from a managing director; international friendlies and jersey sponsorships and the whole deal like that. The question that got my attention was the first one listed, about Designated Players and whether or not the Rapids would be gunning for one. His answer is below.

Plush: We have had dialogue and we are currently having dialogue. It has to make sense on two fronts. It has to be good on the pitch and good off the pitch; it has to make sense businesswise. It is hard to draw them to Denver and it is a long process but relationships are being formed.”

We made a very real, credible and frankly aggressive offer for [Jared] Borgetti in 2007. We had started that process a long time before [the offer]. [Owner Stan] Kroenke has been clear on it. He would always support what we want to do if it made good sense. He gave us the go-ahead for Borgetti. [The former Mexican National Team striker signed with Cruz Azul instead.] We would have been one of the first to have a DP. Not much has changed. There’s just more activity around it.

There is certainly more of a race to sign players in the last few weeks, it’s really accelerated. I would love to see there is enough evidence that [such moves] would be competitive. We haven’t seen that yet. RSL is a prime example of winning without a Designated Player, without necessarily the highest payroll. You win with 24 players. I think it’s interesting chatter. But the clubs who are successful in our league tend to be clubs that have a team mentality, a team spirit, a Houston or an RSL.


What really gets me is the idea that there is no "evidence" of DP's actually helping teams out. He knows Juan Pablo Angel is a DP, right? 56 goals in three and change years on the Red Bulls as well as an all-star appearance. That's not "evidence" of helping? Landon Donovan falls under the DP rule as well. You know, that guy who is leading the league in assists and has 69 goals in only 135 appearances for the Galaxy? I'd say there's plenty of evidence that a DP can be a team changer in this league.

I disagree with his idea of "winning without a designated player is possible" being a good reason to not get one as well. Sure, RSL won last season's cup without a designated player and are on a good path to winning this season as well, but look at some other top clubs. Los Angeles, New York, Seattle... You don't need a DP but it certainly does help. I understand holding steady when every other club seems to be signing one but there's a reason everyone else in the league seems to be signing one. Not signing one because you'd be bending to the popular style doesn't work.

The Rapids are not a championship team as it stands right now, in my opinion. They have a good but not great offense and a great but mistake-prone defense. That's not a championship club, that's a club that squeaks into the playoffs, maybe has a surprise upset and then gets crushed in the second round. The Rapids need goals, and goals come not from a "club mentality" but from talent. The Rapids have some talent, but not nearly enough. A DP might not be the answer, but it certainly couldn't hurt at this point, Mr. Plush.

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