Saturday, August 25, 2007

MLS Cup Playoffs Minus 60 days: Moreno Marks Most and Denilson Does Dallas

MLS Cup Playoffs Minus 60 days: Moreno Marks Most and Denilson Does Dallas
With the MLS playoffs looming just 60 days away the league's focus finally has begun to shift from the galactic starpower of David Beckham to the Cup final which is set for Washington, DC on Nov. 18.

DC United midfielder Jaime Moreno scored a second half penalty against New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night (Aug. 22) to bring his MLS career total to 109. Moreno takes over first place on the list of the league's all-time leading scorers, just ahead of the recently retired Jason Kreis.

"For me, in the back of my head the main thing is the team," said the Bolivian-born Moreno after his record-setting performance. "Anything you do is because you work hard at it," continued the 33 year old. "I'm proud, and now I'm just going to keep working, keep scoring, and we'll see what happens." Moreno is also the league's lifetime leader in spot-kick goals with 33.

Meanwhile, FC Dallas, looking to make a run at finally capturing a Cup title for its growing legion of fans, has acquired the rights to field Brazilian star Denilson. The 29 year old Denilson was a member of Brazil's "penta-campeon" at World Cup 2002; his professional career has included time with São Paulo FC, Real Bétis, Flamengo, Bourdeaux and Al-Nasr of Saudi Arabia.

"Now, I am anxious to get started playing," he told reporters at a press conference announcing his signing on Thursday (Aug. 23). "[And happy] to join a team that is in a good position in the league," he continued, "I hope that through my work I will be able to contribute to this team and have success in this league." FC Dallas is in second place in the Western Conference behind Houston Dynamo, last year's champ, with just 12 games to go in the regular season.

The playoffs include the 8 clubs with the best regular season records in two-leg series; the winners move on to conference championships and then the single, final match in Washington.

Denilson was acquired as FC Dallas' "designated player". In MLS, teams have a limited amount of league funds to use for player salaries, but each club is allowed one "designated player". The "designated player"-, or "Beckham" rule provides that one player's salary per team will not be counted against that club's allotted amount. In that way, the "designated player" may be payed quite a bit more than the others.

So it's all back to the bendy one in the end, isn't it?

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