Don't need no stinking DPs

STEVEN SANDOR, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

Last week, Toronto FC lost to a New York team that carries $13 million US worth of designated players.

On Saturday, the Reds were downright lucky to tie defending league champion Real Salt Lake, a team that does not have a DP on its books. Fabian Espindola missed an open net, and Chris Wingert and Will Johnson both saw second-half efforts crash off the post in a 0-0 draw at BMO Field.

The fact that Dwayne De Rosario kicked the ball away in disgust at the end of the game showed just how badly the Reds needed to win this game. Getting a single point was no good for a team that was in ninth place overall going into the match. Toronto needs wins to make up ground.

Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake isn't worried about missing the post-season. The club's focus is on the coming showdowns with the Los Angeles Galaxy and FC Dallas in the Western Conference playoffs.

Real Salt Lake has a lineup that is deeper than anyone else in MLS. Coach Jason Kreis was able to rest Johnson for 60 minutes, and was able to keep Robbie Russell out of the match after Wednesday's sapping 5-4 loss to Cruz Azul in a driving rainstorm in Mexico City in CONCACAF Champions League action.

RSL was the better team on the night, but luck kept it from leaving town with three points.

So, is RSL proof that DPs aren't that important?

Johnson thinks so.

"Not a lot of teams who have had DPs have had a lot of success in this league," he said. "We have a chemistry that is second to none on this team."

Johnson is right. Since the DP was introduced in Toronto FC's inaugural season, no MLS Cup winner has had one of them on its roster.

When a team goes out and commits the money to multiple DPs, like New York and Toronto have, it financially handcuffs itself. It gives itself little cap room to find defensive help or secondary scoring.

How deep is the defending champ? It boasts seven players who scored two goals or more this season. TFC, in contrast has just four. And, of those four, O'Brian White has been ice cold over the past three months and Maicon Santos has been out with a bad knee.

Real Salt Lake boast Javier Morales, the league's best midfield general. His six goals and six assists only tell part of the story. He's a dominant player who should earn a lot of MVP votes this season.

According to Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman, Morales is DP material.

"We don't think we need a DP," Beckerman said. "We feel we are fine the way we are. In fact, we feel we have a DP in Morales. We feel he's as good as any DP in this league.

"Look, if you go out and get a DP, he needs to score at least 15 to 20 goals in a season. If you go out and get one, he has to fit in the dressing room."

Even though Real Salt Lake could be back at BMO Field in November to claim its second consecutive DP-less MLS Cup, it could become the first team to actually promote one of its current roster to DP status.

Alvaro Saborio, who leads the team with eight MLS goals and scored twice against Cruz Azul in Mexico Wednesday, is on loan from Costa Rican giants Saprissa. If he is to remain in MLS, RSL will need to exercise a buyout in his Saprissa contract, expected to be around $1 million, and then pay Saborio the big bucks next season.

But, in terms of grabbing a superstar from Europe, RSL is not at the table.

And it suits the champs just fine.


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