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Why "the Don's" time is past - Landon can't go but LA can bring in Ronaldinho

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So I have nothing but admiration for what MLS Comish Don Garber has done for MLS, but for sometime I have questioned his ability to lead MLS into the future and to continue to grow more than just revenue for MLS, but to grow the sport.

Now comes clear proof that I am right on target with my assesment: MLS Will Not Listen Premier League Deals For Landon Donovan-

MLS commissioner Don Garber said on Thursday the the league has no intention of accepting transfer offers for the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder...Garber calls Donovan a "real a soccer hero" and says the league cannot do without him. Last December he agreed to a four-year contract with MLS that pays him a base salary this year of more than $2 million.

So first this isn't a decision that "the Don" alone can make an offer for Landon would need to be approved or disapproved by the MLS Board of Governors but some people can't stand to share the spotlight.  This is a horrible decision by whoever makes it, Landon did more good for MLS by playing and playing well in Everton.  He showed that MLS can develop players who can play at the top level in the top leagues in the world and this shows players that MLS is an attractive place to play and they can move on to bigger leagues through MLS.  No this move says, you can have a lesser players, like Holden, Clark, Kljestian , an others but when it comes to our best players, well they are again off limits.  

We saw this happen to Taylor Twellman, who wasn't allowed to leave because "the Don" said no and in the end his career was never the same.  On the other hand we saw Clint Dempsey, who wasn't as highly regarded by MLS and he went on to accomplish great things in the EPL, and it has made him a better player for the USMNT.  

The position of "the Don" hurts US Soccer by forcing Landon to stay and not being able to play at the top of his potential.  I understand the value Landon brings to MLS, but I also understand that he is a part of the USMNT and as such represents far more than just MLS, and "the Don's" interest in cashing checks.  Landon will continue to be the face of US Soccer, no matter where he plays, it is just sad that one mans self interest would hurt the larger good.   You have to wonder what message this sends to other players?  If you come to MLS, and are good for their business, they may not trade you no matter what offer is made.  At the time when soccer is at the peak of interest in the United States, this self serving approach speaks volumes on why it is time for new leadership in Major League Soccer.

If you don't think this is self interest yet, just check out the "breaking news" after the jump:

Also out today is news that Major League Soccer will sign another DP next week, and that it will be Ronaldinho going to LA.  Which is interesting, considering they had $0 cap room left, even with the shady dealings that have all 3 of their loaned players from Brazil counting just $80,000 each against the cap, something we all know isn't even close to their real value.  "The Don" has always allowed the rules to be bent for LA, and with good reason in his mind, MLS wouldn't be around anymore if it weren't for the money that Phil Anschutz pumped into the league.  

It was clear a couple years ago when the rules were changed to allow AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) to sign David Beckham, a move that "the Don" approved.  If that weren't enough LA was allowed to "grandfather" Landon Donovan who would have required one of the new "Designated Player" slots to stay with LA, but an exception was made for him and a couple other players.  Yet another exception was made when LA continued to struggle with both Beckham and Donovan, so they were allowed to sign another "grandfathered" player in Carlos Ruiz, and even with the rules being bent so much it didn't help the Galaxy on the pitch and they soon got rid of Carlos Ruiz.  

The rules were again changed, per the request of some owners, this time "the Don" just days after the league and players union signed a new contract, the rules were changed to allow each team to have 2 "designated players" who now would count less against the team's salary cap than in the past.  In addition each team could "buy" a 3rd DP spot by giving the league some money.  

I feared at the time that this move would quickly take MLS into a world of the rich teams vs. not so rich teams, not every team in MLS is owned by a company like AEG or Red Bull.  Well we are just a day into the FIFA transfer window, and already a second team has optioned to use their second DP slot, LA was finally forced to count both Beckham and Donovan as DP's.  The New York Red Bulls signed Thierry Henry from Barcelona, and have hinted that they will be using that 3rd DP option very shortly.  According to their current roster salaries published by the MLS Players Union, they will likely need to cut some players to ensure they have the $335,000 that a DP now counts against the salary cap.

Then today I wasn't really surprised to hear that LA and MLS will announce that they will use that 3rd DP option as well as they will sign Ronaldinho, who has long been tied to an eventual move to LA.  Those beans were kinda spilled by Real Salt Lake owner Dave Checketts today on KALL 700 it is about 3/4 of the way through the recording. Now this will mean that either LA will need to cut some players, or again a change to the rules will be made to Phil can win the MLS Cup, which is now named after him.

Don't trust me, well here are the current salaries for LA:

Last

First

Base

Guaranteed

With DP caps

Beckham

David

5,500,000.08

6,500,000.04

335,000.00

Berhalter

Gregg

180,000.00

198,750.00

180,000.00

Birchall

Chris

132,000.00

145,125.00

132,000.00

Bowen

Tristan

70,000.00

101,363.63

70,000.00

Buddle

Edson

178,448.00

188,448.00

178,448.00

DeLaGarza

AJ

45,100.00

45,100.00

45,100.00

Donovan

Landon

2,050,000.00

2,127,777.78

335,000.00

Cazumba

Alex

70,000.00

80,000.00

70,000.00

Dunivant

Todd

120,000.00

126,750.00

120,000.00

Franklin

Sean

73,535.00

87,285.00

73,535.00

Gomes

Juninho

70,000.00

80,000.00

70,000.00

Gonzalez

Omar

80,000.00

157,000.00

80,000.00

Gordon

Alan

87,731.00

87,731.00

87,731.00

Jordan

Bryan

40,000.00

40,000.00

40,000.00

Kirovski

Jovan

84,000.00

84,000.00

84,000.00

Klein

Chris

96,000.00

101,000.00

96,000.00

Kovalenko

Dema

136,500.00

144,118.75

136,500.00

Lewis

Eddie

96,000.00

99,333.33

96,000.00

Magee

Mike

93,500.00

96,000.00

93,500.00

Marshall

Yohance

40,000.00

40,000.00

40,000.00

Mathis

Clint

120,750.00

120,750.00

120,750.00

Da Silva

Leonardo

70,000.00

80,000.00

70,000.00

Ricketts

Donovan

160,000.00

160,000.00

160,000.00

Saunders

Josh

57,475.00

60,608.75

57,475.00

Sesay

Israel

75,000.00

107,083.33

75,000.00

Stephens

Michael

40,000.00

42,500.00

40,000.00

Totals

9,766,039.08

11,100,724.61

2,886,039.00

So it leaves one to wonder how LA is allowed to already be over the salary cap, since the new salary cap is $2,550,000.  So if their "loaned players don't count against the cap, that would put them at $2.67, but wait Generation Adidas players don't count against the cap either.  Not sure who would still be under that program, but it is clear that LA is still over the cap and adding another $335,000 will require them to cut about $400,000.  Don't be surprised if they don't, they might release a player like Klein, Lewis or Kovalenko all who have seen very limited action, but I doubt they would release all 3 of them to make room.

The funny part is that it may seem like I am upset by this all, but I actually am fine with it.  If any other team, Seattle, Philly, RSL, or whoever is allowed to play by these same rules.  I thought the salary cap should go up more than it did in the new CBA.

I simply am pointing this out as a reflection of the questionable leadership of the MLS Comish.  I won't go back into SuperLIga, or the conflict of interest having "the Don" run both MLS and SUM, or SUM representing MLS and US Soccer but seemingly caring more about promoting the Mexican National team.

I simply believe that the work that Don has done, saved the league, but that it is time for a change and someone who can see past the obvious.