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Boniek Garcia burst onto the American soccer scene last fall after signing with the Houston Dynamo. Although a relative newbie to the league, Garcia’s impact was immediate, as he helped energize the Dynamo midfield by scoring four goals and racking up six assists in just 17 games.
If he can continue that form in 2013, he could quickly become one of the league’s best players.
Tim Cahill is a top-class player, but only came to Major League Soccer at the end of the 2012 season. With only 12 MLS games under his belt, Cahill did not make a substantive impact to the Red Bulls' campaign, but his long success at Everton proves that Cahill can become a dominant player in MLS.
Christian Tiffert is another Designated Player who entered Major League Soccer late in 2012, limiting him to just 12 appearances with the Seattle Sounders. However, Tiffert instantly brought creativity to the Sounders' midfield and will be looking to prove his worth with a full campaign in 2013.
Kenny Miller has had a long, prolific club and international career and is a proven goal scorer, as he took home the Scottish Premier League’s Golden Boot in the 2010-2011 campaign. A late signing in 2012, Miller has only played 13 games for the Vancouver Whitecaps, scoring two goals.
Marco Di Vaio signed for the Montreal Impact late in 2012, scoring five goals in 17 games. A proven goal scorer in Serie A, Di Vaio was twice the Italian league’s second-leading scorer.
Sherjill MacDonald came to the Chicago Fire in late 2012 via Beerschot AC in Belgium. The Dutch striker scored four goals in 15 games for the Chicago Fire last season, but with a retooled Chicago Fire midfield, MacDonald could be poised for a big year in 2013.
Federico Higuaín is yet another player who came to MLS late in 2012, signing for the Columbus Crew. However in just 13 games, Higuain scored five goals for the Crew, which is a very encouraging sign. In his shortened 2012 campaign, Higuain was twice named MLS Player of the Week.
While Jerry Bengtson has become a major cog on the Honduran national team over the past few years, he still remains a mystery to MLS fans. He only played in 13 games last season after signing with the New England Revolution late in the year and scored two goals. The league even has his name misspelled on their list of Designated Players.
Diego Valeri signed with the Portland Timbers in January of this year on loan from his hometown club, Lanus, in Argentina. Valeri appeared for the Argentina national team three times in 2011, but at 26 years old, Valeri’s move to the Timbers also marks his third loan spell.
Only time will tell whether Valeri will prove himself worthy of a DP spot.
Argentine Claudio Bieler signed with Sporting KC this past offseason and was a regular goal scorer in the Ecuadorian league where he played the majority of his games over the past four years. He has yet to appear in an MLS game.