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Freddie speaks up, asks for the impossible

Freddie asks for something we'd all like to see:

A good example is Paul Scholes who I personally saw as the best player in United for many years.

He never got as much media attention as he maybe deserved, but as a footballer he was and still is fantastic.

MLS maybe should go for players like Paul as it will help to have several experienced international players per team.

If you come alone it is much harder to make a change fast. If you instead are two or three players then you really can accomplish something together with the rest of the Team.

I might get back to this issue later on….


In terms of play on the field, Freddie is right. The quality would definitely improve greatly if there were two or three players on each team that could be relied upon to have great first touch; crisp, precise passing; and clinical finishing. However, the problem is that right now what he's talking about is impossible, under the current MLS salary cap system. Unless a player like Scholes is willing to play in MLS as a recreational activity, he would require a DP slot, considering that his salary was reported in 2008 to be £3 million or nearly $5 million. And as we all know, getting two such players would require trading for a second DP slot. Therefore, at most half the teams could have two DPs at any time, with the other teams having none. Of course, three is just impossible, because without a DP slot a player like Scholes would consume a team's entire salary cap a couple times over.

This is yet another example of a fundamental tension in MLS. They want to put a good quality product on the field so they can attract fans who really know the game. At the same time, they want to control costs and avoid the kind of spending that eventually did in the NASL. These twin goals are pulling in opposite directions. At the moment, MLS is willing to put out a lower quality product and let the cost controllers win because there are many more have-nots in the league than haves. But how long can that remain true? When will the point of no return arrive where MLS is forced to either invest in more top quality players or abandon all hope of converting soccer fans who are turned off by the quality of play in the league? I think after Philadelphia, Vancouver, and Portland join the league we may approach that point quickly. The addition of 72 roster spots (24 each) will mean that the available talent will be spread very thin. If the quality of play stagnates or even declines MLS could be forced to take drastic measures it hasn't been willing to consider previously.

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