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MLS commissioner Don Garber: LA Galaxy designated player situation ‘a bit overblown’

WASHINGTON — The LA Galaxy did the near-impossible by making rules and regulation compliance interesting in the week leading up to the start of the 2019 Major League Soccer season.

When the Galaxy reworked Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract at the end of last season to $7.2 million and a Designated Player title, it caused a surplus of DPs — four instead of the three allowed by league rules. This remained the case until Friday evening, March 1. All MLS teams have to be roster and budget compliant ahead of the season, according to league rules. The 2019 deadline was March 1. 

“I think it was a bit overblown, and that is OK,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said Sunday when asked about the situation before the D.C. United versus Atlanta United match he attended at Audi Field. “We are at the point now that people really care about water cooler talk; all of the interest in how rosters are developed and how teams are managing the rules,” Garber said. “There were a lot of discussion on how they were thinking of restructuring Gio’s contract, and they ultimately ended up buying it out.

“We knew all along it would get resolved. Every team had to be roster compliant by Friday night and they were.”

The Galaxy opted to buy out the final year of Giovani dos Santos’ contract, ending his time at the club. Dos Santos’ brother and fellow Mexican International, Jonathan, remains with the Galaxy as a DP, along with Ibrahimovic and french international Romain Alessandrini.

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