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Designated Player

09 April 2:34 de la tarde

They came and went within a year, but there's a crop of South American forwards who have found themselves right at home in their continent of origin after a mixed experience during their stints in MLS during the 2011 season.

The likes of Milton Caraglio (New England's first-ever Designated Player), Cristian Nazarit and Diego Chaves may not have set MLS alight during their year-long stay here (less in the case of Caraglio, who arrived in August but was gone by December), but having returned to South America, these young players have found more success.

Two of the players — Caraglio and Chaves — opted to head to Chile instead of their native countries, and have been richly rewarded for doing so. Caraglio tallied for newly promoted Rangers over the weekend to take his total for the season to four and help them continue a run that sees them in playoff contention. Chaves — perhaps the most successful of the group in MLS with six goals in 2011 — has a pair of goals to his name with Palestino over nine matches.

Cristian Nazarit opted to return to his home country, Colombia, after playing just 624 minutes and scoring two goals for Chicago in 2012. Two months into the Colombian season, the 21-year-old — a teammate of former Philadelphia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón — has four goals to his name for Deportivo Cali, including a late winner over the weekend that gave los Verdiblancos a third straight league win.

Chaves' former Chicago teammate, Gastón Puerari, has found less luck back home, however. He has played a handful of minutes for Defensor Sporting and is yet to net a goal in either the domestic league of Copa Libertadores.

So, what is it that has set these players apart in South America? Is MLS now a more difficult league to play in? Is the style of play in South America more conducive to their respective games? Or maybe it just wasn't cost-effective (always a factor in MLS) to keep them? Take your pick.

02 April 1:17 de la tarde

After being subbed off at halftime against the New England Revolution on Saturday, it appears superstar LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham is no longer worthy of a full 90-minute performance. I don't know, man. Ask Bruce Arena about it.

But no matter how LA are doing on the field, one thing remains clear: Beckham is still in the conversation for "Dreamiest Man in MLS." I dare you not to get lost in those eyes.

And don't worry if you can't, because you are not alone. Apparently the poor people at Burger King can't manage it either. Or at least that's what this new commercial would have us believe.

In reality, I'm skeptical that one could remain smitten by a man who says "smoovie." But it's still a funny ad, and Beckham is still a dashingly handsome man. Seriously, just look at the guy...

20 March 4:00 de la tarde

El Káiser vestirá el rascacielos más prominente de la Ciudad de Nueva York con los colores de su club.

El defensa del New York Red Bulls, Rafa Márquez, iluminará el Empire State Building con los colores del equipo, el viernes, 23 de marzo previo al partido en casa ante el Colorado Rapids de este domingo.

A Márquez se unirá el Presidente de Negocios Operacional, Chris Heck, en un evento donde Rafa “subirá el switch” e iluminar una de las torres icónicas del mundo con los colores blanco y rojo representativos del equipo.

Los Red Bulls arrancan la temporada en su estadio ante Colorado Rapids este domingo, 25 de marzo a partir de las 4 pm ET.

20 March 10:55 de la mañana

La MLS se germanise. Quelques jours après la signature d’Arne Friedrich à Chicago (il participe à son premier entraînement ce mardi), on annonce aujourd’hui que son compatriote Michael Ballack traversera l’Atlantique cet été.

Michael Becker, agent de l’ancien capitaine de l’équipe nationale allemande, a déclaré que son client « souhaitait évoluer en Major League Soccer » et a même pointé une destination de préférence : New York. Sauf que le club semble lui préférer Stephen Ireland (Aston Villa)… Des déclarations qui ne manquent pas d’animer les débats sur les réseaux sociaux.

Le milieu de terrain de Leverkusen intéresse d’autres clubs de MLS. Il y a quelques semaines, son nom revenait notamment parmi les sérieux prétendants à une place de joueur désigné à l’Impact de Montréal, qui n’est certainement pas seul sur les rangs.

Un autre Allemand fait déjà les beaux jours d’un club de MLS : Torsten Frings, à Toronto. Cependant, en sauvant ce qui ressemblait à un but tout fait ce samedi à Seattle, l’ancien joueur de la Mannschaft s’est blessé : il sera hors-circuit pour quatre à six semaines. Une absence qui risque de peser lourd en demi-finale de Ligue des champions contre Santos Laguna.

15 March 8:27 de la mañana

Here's a morning pick-me-up for all of you LA Galaxy fans still reeling from last night's CONCACAF Champions League loss to Toronto FC: a 47 minute-long documentary on David Beckham's time in LA.

You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll marvel at the circus that was the 2007 LA Galaxy season. Pull the curtains closed and press 'play'.

13 March 2:51 de la mañana

Después del partidazo que los Portland Timbers le ganaron a Philadelphia Union en su debut en la temporada 2012, me topé con José Adolfo “El Trencito” Valencia, el joven delantero colombiano que tuvo que ver sentado (y con muletas al lado) el encuentro. Sonriente por el triunfo de su equipo, pero triste de no poder participar, el Trencito le mandó un saludo a su afición y nos dio un pequeño informe del progreso de su lesión y su vida en Portland. Aquí va:

03 March 7:56 de la tarde

Middlesbrough midfielder Barry Robson won't join the Vancouver Whitecaps until this summer, but his future coach, teammates, and fans must be salivating.

For the second match in a row, the Scot -- who recently returned from a longterm injury -- put in a dominating performance in a 3-1 win away to Portsmouth. He opened the scoring from the penalty spot, and his freekick set up Boro's second.

Boro are now level on points with Blackpool for 4th place in the English Championship, with a game in hand. That means they're definitely in the hunt for promotion to the EPL.

If Robson is on similar form when he joins the Whitecaps, who already boast some impressive firepower -- have you seen them in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic? -- he could be the integral midfield piece to drive them into the playoffs.

Hell, at this rate, he might be the driving force to help them finish atop the Western Conference, as my colleague Simon Borg thinks they will. I laughed him off when he first said it. I'm only semi-chuckling now.

24 February 10:53 de la mañana

Toronto DP Danny Koevermans knows the secret way to win MLS Cup. After practice in Orlando, the Dutch forward spilled the beans and I have to say, not a bad idea. Who would be your secret weapon?

23 February 4:34 de la tarde

In conjunction with today’s Three for Thursday article, it was hard to highlight just three new strike partnerships which could be successful in MLS this year.

Because, oh my, there are plenty of wonderful options to chose from.

So what about some of the new partnerships we failed to mention?

Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper at New York look almost certain to line up side by side when the Red Bulls kick-off their campaign against FC Dallas on March 11. And with Luke Rodgers' chances of arriving back in New York looking slimmer by the day, the Frenchman will have to build a rapport with Cooper sharpish if Hans Backe’s men are going to challenge for a title in 2012.

Meanwhile up in Portland the arrival of Designated Player Kris Boyd means Jorge Perlaza will have a man alongside him who knows how to finish. Boyd has scored goals wherever he has gone, it’s as simple as that. Perlaza will thrive from being given a creative role, and having scored six goals in the Timbers’ first MLS season, the Colombian will hope he and Boyd can make JELD-WEN Field an even more intimidating venue to visit in the upcoming campaign.

The question is, which other strike pairings can set the scoring charts on fire in MLS this season?