Major League Soccer on Thursday announced it will allow clubs a second "designated player" slot, and it will have an impact for the Galaxy and Chivas USA.
The Galaxy has employed two "designated players," one over the maximum, since the roster rule enabling clubs to sign top-tier players at a salary higher than what would fit under the salary cap was introduced in 2007.
David Beckham, who makes $6.5 million annually for playing in MLS, had taken the Galaxy's lone DP slot. The rule was popularly known as the "Beckham rule"; his contract would not have been possible under previous roster regulations.
Landon Donovan, who made $900,000 a year until signing a four-year, $8 million contract in December, had been grandfathered in -- his salary, like Beckham's, counted as only $415,000 against the cap.
David Beckham came to the Galaxy under an exception to the designated player rule, but MLS has announced new changes.
Thursday's announcement officially makes Donovan a DP. Their salaries will each count as $335,000 -- the new figure -- against the cap, which was raised to $2.55 million this season.
The Galaxy had three DPs after trading for Carlos Ruiz, who also had been grandfathered in under the rule, in January 2008. Ruiz was traded to Toronto FC seven months later.
Chivas USA had traded its DP slot to New York in 2007 for Amado Guevara, who played in only four games for the Goats before Preki, unhappy with the Honduran midfielder's effort, dropped him from the team. He was loaned to Motagua in Honduras and traded to Toronto FC before the 2008 season.
Chivas was granted two DP slots with Thursday's decision, but the club isn't pursuing players to fill them. The club could have traded for a slot had it previously wanted to sign such a player.
New York had needed an extra DP slot when it had American midfielder Claudio Reyna. Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel is the Red Bulls' only current DP, and the club was given $70,000 in allocation funds Thursday for the slot acquired from Chivas.
Clubs may use allocation money to diminish how much a player's salary counts against the cap; players whose contracts dropped below $335,000 by this mechanism would not count as DPs.
Current MLS "designated players":
David Beckham, M, Galaxy (2007-10)
Landon Donovan, F/M, Galaxy (2010)
Juan Pablo Angel, F, New York (2007-)
Julian de Guzman, M, Toronto FC (2009-10)
Luis Angel Landin, F, Houston (2009-10)
Freddie Ljungberg, M, Seattle (2009-10)
Cuauhtemoc Blanco, M/F, Chicago (2007-09)
Denilson, M, FC Dallas (2007)
Luciano Emilio, F, D.C. United (2008-09)
Marcelo Gallardo, M, D.C. United (2008)
a -- Claudio Lopez, F/M, Kansas City (2008)
Claudio Reyna, M, New York (2007-08)
b -- Guillermo Barros Schelotto, F/M, Columbus (2009)
a -- reports have Lopez in talks with the Colorado Rapids
b -- Schelotto remains with Columbus but is no longer a DP
Orange County native Scott French has been writing about soccer for more than 30 years for dozens of publications and Web sites. He was senior editor at Soccer America and was managing editor of MajorSoccerLeague Magazine from April 2007 until last summer. He has covered three World Cups for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and Los Angeles Daily News, two Women's World Cups for Soccer America, the Olympic Games, European Championship, U-20 World Cup, eight MLS Cups and all four professional women's championship games.