Highly Offensive: How Designated Players Have Influenced the MLS

MLS instituted the Designated Player rule in 2007 to help gin up the offense and, as a result, interest in the league. Since it went into effect, all but one (Red Bull goalie Frank Rost) of the 41 designated players were either midfielders or forwards. 

Whether DPs have influenced fan interest is hard to determine, but there's no doubt the likes of Beckham, Marquez and Henry have boosted scoring in the league. It hasn't happened overnight. From 2008 to 2010, the numbers were pretty flat. DPs had a hand in about 15 percent of the league goals.

Last year, however, not only did the total number of league goals increase 34 percent over 2010, DPs either scored or assisted on 26 percent of them, a suggestion that MLS is also getting better quality players from abroad. Here's the chart: 

Season No. of DPs DP Goals DP Assists MLS Goals DP% of Goals DP% of Goals+Assists 2007 6 24 17 518 5 8 2008 8 47 39 591 8 15 2009 9 50 31 571 9 14 ...

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