MLS: Landon Donovan and the Top 10 Designated Players in League History

Ned Harwood@@RBStampedeContributor IIIAugust 1, 2012

MLS: Landon Donovan and the Top 10 Designated Players in League History

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    With New York officially signing the league's latest designated player in Tim Cahill, I thought it would be the perfect time to take a look at some of the best to ever wear that label. Although only created in 2007, there have been a number of teams that have used the DP rule to enhance their team.

    Of course, some designated players have lived up to their reputation more than others. Here are the top 10 DPs of all time. Enjoy!

    Note: The rankings were based primarily on the success each player had on the field under the designated player label. Off-field successes such as merchandise/ticket sales were also taken into account, but with far less weight. 

10. Danny Koevermans

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    Statistics as DP

    17 Goals

    3 Assists

    Koevermans hasn’t had much time to prove himself in the league, but in his short MLS career so far he has done nothing but impress. Prior to suffering a serious knee injury last month, Koevermans was a serious contender for the 2012 Golden Boot and had already netted nine goals despite starting only 12 games.

    His stunning start to this season was just a continuation of the way he ended 2011, with eight goals in 10 appearances for the club. Simply put, Koeverman’s has been nothing but class since joining the American league. 

9. Robbie Keane

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    Statistics as DP

    11 Goals

    7 Assists

    1 Supporters Shield Title, 1 MLS Cup

    He hasn’t been in the league for a full year, but Robbie Keane has proven his worth over and over again in a Galaxy uniform. Keane’s statistics by themselves are worthy of DP money, as the man has recorded 11 goals and seven assists in just 21 regular season games for LA.

    But on the field isn’t the only place where Keane has excelled, as his jersey has flown off the shelves since joining LA last summer. The only thing separating Keane from a higher spot on this list is another year of consistent performances. 

8. Alvaro Saborio

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    Statistics as DP

    36 Goals

    8 Assists

    Saborio wasn’t really praised as a big signing when he came into the league in 2010, but he since has proven himself worthy of a spot on this list. He has put up double-digit goal seasons each year he has been in the league.

    This year he already has posted his all-time high and still has plenty of games left to increase his total. He has been the star forward on a very competitive RSL team for multiple years now and will go down as one of the top DP signings of all time.  

7. Fredy Montero

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    Statistics as DP

    17 Goals

    13 Assists

    2 USOC Titles

    Montero signed a DP contract with Seattle after the 2010 season, so his spot on this list is based off his last season-and-a-half. While Montero has been a proven striker for years in MLS, there is no denying that since signing his DP contract he hasn’t exactly turned up his production.

    But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a decent DP signing. Montero has 17 goals and 13 assists the last two seasons and has been one of the stars of a strong Seattle attack. He is also the most foreign-wanted MLS player of anyone on this list. 

6. Cuauhtemoc Blanco

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    Statistics as DP

    16 Goals

    26 Assists

    Blanco could have been considered one of the greatest DPs just a few months into his first season in MLS. Joining Chicago mid-year in 2007, Blanco was nominated to be MVP and Newcomer of the Year despite playing merely 14 games.

    He led Chicago to three straight second-round playoff appearances and was an MVP candidate two of his three seasons as a member of the Fire. Blanco’s tenure in MLS was a short one, but any Fire fan will tell you he made great use of his time in Chicago. 

5. Juan Pablo Angel

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    Statistics as DP

    71 Goals

    15 Assists

    While Juan Pablo Angel’s best days are far behind him, the Colombian did have some stellar years for New York as a designated player. He had 58 goals in four seasons for New York and since has scored 13 times for the Galaxy and Chivas USA.

    Those 71 career MLS goals make him the most accomplished DP striker of all time. 

4. Guillermo Barros Schelotto

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    Statistics as DP

    33 Goals

    42 Assists

    Two Supporters Shield Titles, 1 MLS Cup

    One of the greatest playmakers the league has ever seen, Schelotto was one of the best of all time. Schelotto was the leader of a Columbus Crew attack that won back-to-back Supporter Shield titles and won the MLS Cup in 2008.

    He finished in the top 10 in assists in three of his four seasons, and his 19 assists in 2008 is still a Crew record. 

3. David Beckham

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    Statistics as DP

    17 Goals

    40 Assists

    2 Supporters Shield Titles, 1 MLS Cup

    David Beckham has done incredible things for Major League Soccer since joining in 2007. He changed the way many people across the world looked at the league and started a revolution of foreign stars coming to the states to play football.

    Nevertheless, it can be said that until last season, Beckham never truly lived up to his DP status. Constant injuries kept him from ever really fulfilling his potential in a Galaxy uniform. He did help LA capture the MLS Cup last season and nearly lead the league in assists, but his couple years of struggles prevent him from becoming the No. 1 DP of all time. 

2. Thierry Henry

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    Statistics as DP

    27 Goals

    13 Assists

    Thierry Henry has done almost everything right since joining MLS in the summer of 2010. His 27 goals lead the team since 2010 and 13 assists are second only to Joel Lindpere. He single-handedly carried New York on his back last season and into the playoffs and this year was on pace to break the single-season scoring record prior to picking up an injury.

    The Red Bull captain has done almost everything right for New York, except bring the city its first title. 

1. Landon Donovan

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    Statistics as DP

    28 Goals

    26 Assists

    Two Supporters Shield Titles, 1 MLS Cup

    Although Donovan has been a star in MLS for over a decade, he didn’t officially become a designated player until 2010. Since then he has 28 goals, 26 assists and led Los Angeles to back-to-back Supporters Shield titles and an MLS Cup.

    Failing to sign Donovan as a DP could have led to the Galaxy losing their star and face of the franchise to Europe. Instead they signed their captain to a big contract and have since been collecting the rewards. In terms of on-field production, in locker-room leadership, and off-field publicity, Landon Donovan is the greatest designated player of all time. 


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