Sporting KC sign Claudio Bieler as newest Designated Player

By IVES GALARCEP

Sporting Kansas City introduced Argentine striker Claudio Bieler as the team’s newest Designated Player on Tuesday, acquiring the 28-year-old striker via transfer from Ecuadorian side LDU Quito.

“He’s proven over the years that he’s a very consistent goal scorer,” Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes said. “We think he’s got a lot of good qualities that can fit into our team. Everything from his commitment to being a team player, to his work ethic out on the field, to a guy that lives and breathes for club that he plays for.”

Bieler joins a Sporting KC strike force that already includes C.J. Sapong, Kei Kamara and Teal Bunbury. With Sporting KC preparing to compete in multiple competitions (CONCACAF Champions League and U.S. Open as well as MLS), establishing good depth will be key for KC.

A native of Argentina, Bieler scored 71 goals in 155 matches in all competitions for LDU Quito. He helped LDU Quito win the 2008 Copa Libertadores, scoring in the final against Fluminense. He also played for LDU Quito in the 2008 Club World Cup.

Bieler’s acquisition is the latest in a busy off-season for Sporting KC, which has already added Benny Feilhaber, Ike Opara and Josh Gardner. KC did lose standout midfielder Roger Espinoza, who left for English Premier League side Wigan Athletic via transfer.

What do you think of this signing? See Bieler making an impact in MLS? Think Sporting KC are the new favorites for 2013 in MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

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105 Responses to Sporting KC sign Claudio Bieler as newest Designated Player

  1. Bobb says:

    Nice move… is KC changing their style with Bieler and Feilhaber additions? Hopefully they play less physical and keep the ball on the ground more…

    • Juando says:

      …especially true with the subtractions of Espinoza and Julio Cesar. Defensive pressure is what made them a solid team. They can’t get away from that completely.

  2. Steez says:

    Now how about a jersey sponsor?

    • Mike in Missouri says:

      We don’t need no stinking jersey sponsor.

    • PurpleGold says:

      Why would you want a giant obnoxious corporate label on the chest of your team? Why would you prefer that?

      • James says:

        Because sponsor = more money for the club. It’s worth it.

      • Eric says:

        I hope you a joking…

        $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

        • Wendell Gee says:

          Does the salary cap still apply? Yes. So why care so much about a jersey sponsor? It won’t allow the team to buy better players. If the team was in dire financial straights I could understand. But KC isn’t. So why should a fan prioritize a friggin” jersey sponsor?

          • tom says:

            Remember: There’s a salary cap…but only PART of a DP’s salary’s counts against the cap. So if the team has millions of extra dollars per year, than that’s presumably millions extra that they can spend outside the cap on up to three high-profile players.

          • Old School says:

            Because a fan cares about the ridiculous low salary cap and would like to see this league grow with more revenue.

            • matt says:

              Build brand, then sell. Win today and when you have to retool the roster you will have some money to work with.

      • lprevolution says:

        yes. maybe a few.

  3. Matt says:

    This sounds like a Hamdi Salihi kind of signing…a successful player in a mediocre league. Doesn’t scream out DP to me.

    • RK says:

      Exactly who I thought of…

    • TomG says:

      Could be a low level DP. He’s 28 so in his prime – that elevates his salary, of course. He’s known for commitment to his clubs, so that lessens the risk. Anyone who’s on the radar for Argentina is probably worth DP salary (he got called up by Argentina in 2010, though he didn’t play due to injury).

    • A says:

      This guy got a call up to the Argentinean national team, I’d say he probably deserves DP salary given the pay system.

      • RK says:

        It sounds like he got called up because Maradona wanted to cap-tie him to keep him from Ecuador.

        • Mike in Missouri says:

          It wasn’t a cap-tied appearance. he’s still eligible for Ecuador. And besides, if Argentina thought he was dangerous enough to not want him playing against them, he can’t be too shabby a player.

    • Josh D says:

      As a DC fan, I think Salihi got shafted, and with Benny coming out saying he still wants a striker (and rumors linking us to Fabiano), I think his time in DC will be quickly over and in the record books as a failure.

      Unfortunately, as is the case with DC, the strikers of Salihi’s ilk are not used to our style of play. They prefer the ball on the ground and are not expected to run around for 90 minutes aimlessly. Benny likes his workaholic strikers (Santos/Pajoy) even if they can’t hit a barn door from five feet away.

      I don’t know anything about this DP, but the fact he has performed in South America’s CL and the fact they called out his work ethic, and Sporting’s style of play, hint that this could be successful.

      • Matt says:

        I agree, it might have helped to see him get a few more games, but he had NO workrate, which is forgivable if you score when you get the opportunities, which he didn’t. Reminded me of Berbatov without the skills.

      • TomG says:

        DC fans are calling Ben Olsen Benny now? That’s weird. He’s been around forever and I’ve never heard of him referred to as Benny. Is that just you, or is that common? Doesn’t matter, just curious.

        • Matt says:

          Common.

        • Josh D says:

          I’ve heard loads of fans call him Benny and it reaches back to when he was a player. Olsen was always a people’s player and I think we just got comfortable calling his name like a friend. Or at least that’s how I’ve felt.

    • Jim Martin says:

      What makes you call the Ecuadorian Serie A a mediocre league? They are ranked 13th in the world by FIFA and his specific club (LCU Quito) won major tournaments in South America made it all the way to the final of the World Club Championships…hardly a mediocre background.

      • Matt says:

        The last time I saw those crazy rankings was in 2010, when MLS was ranked 88th, behind leagues in Angola, India, and Armenia to pick a few.
        Not what I’d call even vaguely credible. Are there newer ones you can link to?

        • TomG says:

          The most credible list I can find is the IFHHS rankings, also from 2010 but they only list the top 25 leagues. Ecuador is ranked 13th in the world and MLS doesn’t make the cut. It is probably safe to say Ecuador is a better league.

    • Bobb says:

      Ecuador is a mediocre league?

    • Vic says:

      He’s a top scorer in a mediocre league. Would you prefer a top scorer in a top league? Should KC check and see if Messi, Van Persie or Ronaldo are available?

      • Matt says:

        Yes, I’d prefer a proven goal scorer from a top league for a DP striker spot. Can you get one to go somewhere other than NY or LA? Who knows…but I wouldn’t spend DP money on someone that wasn’t.

        • Vic says:

          MLS revenue doesn’t support signing top players from top leagues in their prime. EPL gets billions a year in tv revenue. MLS gets in the tens of millions similar to the Belgian and Norwegian leagues. You don’t see fans of Anderlecht or Rosenberg demanding top EPL players. NY does it to market drinks. In LA, Beckham is a once in a lifetime situation.

          • Matt says:

            I wasn’t talking about Beckham, I was talking about Keane.
            No one expects top players in their prime from top leagues. But I’d rather have a proven player from a top league that may have aged out than an untested player for a DP.

            • Mike in Missouri says:

              untested? Have you looked at his resume? Even if Ecuador is, at worst, on par with MLS in quality of play, he still scored 20 goals last year and 1 goal/every 2 games average his career there. He’s Chris Wondolowski of Ecuador, worst case scenario. Name me a team in MLS that wouldn’t take that.

              • Matt says:

                I mean untested in MLS…we’ve all seen good international players flounder there for various reasons. Hopefully he’ll be one of the players that adjusts well, but it’s a risk.

            • Vic says:

              Fair point but the Beckham profits are what paid Keane’s salary so you’re back to LA. The question becomes should teams spend 3.5 million on a DP instead of 700k? So far owners aren’t willing to do that.

          • T-lover says:

            NY doesn’t do it to market drinks, NY hater.

            • Vic says:

              I’ve been going to Metro/Red Bull games since 96 and stand in section 101. My point is that Red Bull will spend alot of money on players to market the drink even if they lose money on the team. Most owners in MLS don’t want to lose money. Marquez was marketed all over Red Bull drinks in Mexico.

        • Shampoo says:

          Matt, kindly list all available strikers that fit your criteria and quote their market price and contract status. Now try and find one without an unworkable ego that can work into Vermes’ hardworking, no BS ranks (ala Marquez). Now cut this list down to all you could pay under a million. I think you speak in fictional terms only.

          Consider, SKC is able to get amazing value out of their players because of all the things it has going for it. Having a almost no waste on it’s roster, SKC gambling (hardly) on a player like this has very little downside. I would say a proven Ecuadorian striker that they’ve been in contact with for several years is worth every cent. Consider also the continued development he can provide to Sapong and Bunbury who are oozing with unbridled talent. If you’re not an MLS fan and are just suckling the Euro teet, your comments are void. Also consider the Latino draw that he will have with the fan base (now missing in a headlining player with Espinoza’s exit).

    • ld says:

      Well MLS is a mediocre league too so he should be a success here as well

      • T-lover says:

        MLS is not a mediocre league, a mediocre league doesn’t send two players this year to the EPL.

        • Matt says:

          Seriously?
          Come on, I’m a huge MLS fan, and even I can admit that it’s a mediocre league.

        • Roger says:

          Don Garber “T-lover” MLS is a mediocre league. Hopefully we can be a top 12 league in 6 years

        • omarvelous says:

          plenty of leagues send players to the EPL and Serie A and the Bundesliga every year. Doesn’t make the league better. Look at the leagues in Norway and Sweden. They send players to upper level leagues in Europe constantly but that doesn;t make them super great leagues. MLS is mediocre and that’s okay and fans should be able to admit that. It’s still new and growing.

          • T-lover says:

            When is the last star player, beside Zaltan, you have see from Norway or Europe in the EPL? MLS is not mediocre league, its not a top league, but it doesn’t mean it’s mediocre. Not if a player like Cameroon can go into a EPL game and do well, and didn’t even practices with the team.

            • fortunate only says:

              Cameron is 27 years old and plays for Stoke.

              What does that prove?

              Club America of Mexico just sold a 20 year old centerback to FC Porto for 7.2 million Euros.

              What does that prove?

              • T-lover says:

                Is FC Porto an EPL club? What it proves is that a player with little to no EPL games can still,shine,because of how good MLS has became, that’s my point.

    • kb says:

      MLS is a mediocre league, so he should continue being a successful player.

    • ed - houston says:

      you’re so uninformed. i would say winning the liberator’s cup is not mediocre. that’s THE top club championship in this hemisphere. this guy is DP worthy. go watch some film you’ll see.

    • Gary Page says:

      If his team beat Fluminense to win the Copa Libertadores, then at least that year they were better than any team in MLS.

    • PCFC says:

      Teams like KC and RSL will never have major drawing power. Not because of their lack of money, but because it is in the middle of nowhere. I’m American and don’t want to move there. Why would a foreigner?

      • MJC says:

        Oh thank God! we don’t want d!psh!ts like you here.

      • beachbum says:

        Salt Lake City is a beautiful city, not the poop hole you just labeled it, in the middle of the Rockie Mountains and a winter lover’s paradise. Just need to find the right fit for it.They hosted the Olympics. It’s an international city.

        I would not want to move to KC either tho, but I like their soccer team a lot! Fun to watch, I try and catch their games whenever possible. I can see players wanting to play there now becasue of that stadium and atmosphere.

        BUT, I agree with your point about the marketability of cities to foereign players. It can be an issue for sure

  4. TomG says:

    Wow! KC’s really going for it this year.

  5. A says:

    SKC is going HAM this offseason. I wonder if the end of the Beckham and Donovan error in LA spawned this huge step up–they see an opportunity to realistically go for it all.

  6. Siberian says:

    I’ve never heard of this guy before today, but I’m optimistic about the signing, but he’s got a good resume, we needed a forward, and I’m glad we didn’t sign anyone who is 38 years old. SKC should is gonna compete for titles next year!

    • Jay says:

      Oh come on lol. That 38 year old is a legend. There are 35+ players out there who teams in MLS would drool over. So lets not get to crazy we want to be trending younger but lets not make it out like these older players can’t have a impact in this league. As for SKC they right now are one of the most talented team in MLS right up there with New York and LA.

      • SombraAla says:

        A) I don’t think a 38yo would ever be effective in the style that PV likes to play – too high pressure and physically demanding. So a 38yo may work for some teams, but def. not SKC>
        B) I don’t think that he is necessarily saying that 38yo’s are bad, just that he’s glad that we’re not going that route. I tend to agree, b/c I really like the fact we’ve only 2 players (1 GK) >= 30 right now (3 more by end of 2013, 1 GK there too).

        Anyway, I’m excited to see if this guy can provide the finishing we’ve been lacking, and I especially hope that he can pass on some of his skills to Sapong and Bunbury.

        Should be fun

      • Nytshade says:

        I have to agree with both comments. I’m VERY leery about the new NYRB 38 YO signing. But then, Becks was 37 and there’s not a team in this league who wouldn’t cut off their top two players to have him.

        But I have to also credit SKC for all the moves they’ve made over the last 2-3 years. They’re proving to be making far more good moves than bad ones. If this guy continues his historic form, along with the other additions they’ve made this off-season…look out! Should be exciting to watch, if nothing else. Is it March yet!?!

  7. edgar says:

    Really not a good signing depending on salary. He did well in Ecuador but did not do well in his native Argentina. So Ecuador league is mediocre as thats where he had his most success as a player.

    Im thinking he will score no more than 8 goals and less than Kei Kamara.

    13 games 3 goals for Newells
    36 games 8 goals for Racing

    • Juando says:

      It is more about the right fit for the right team and less about the league.

    • Camjam says:

      Kinda true. On the other hand, the top scorers in the Ecuadorian League have a tendency to be bought by bigger clubs and still do well.

      Club America’s best forward Benitez was the leading scorer there a few years ago. Also, C.A. just bought the only guy who scored more than Bieler last year.

    • Jim Martin says:

      Interesting, but not particularly logical. To give you an apples to apples comparison, the highest ranked MLS team in the World Club Rankings from the end of November 2012 was Seattle at 133…then Galazy at 259…Dynamo at 318…and Sporting at 396. Four clubs from the Ecuadorian Serie A were ranked above Seattle (30, 47, 94, and 105). LDU Quito, the Ecuadorian club Bieler just left, was ranked at 181…so his former club is ranked above every team in the MLS except Seattle. They ended up fourth in the Ecuadorian Serie A this year and he led the league in scoring…against four teams ranked in the top 105 in the world.

  8. La says:

    We would never cut our top 2 players for Becks…. You have no idea what ur taking about or you said it in Jest because there is maybe 1 team that would do it because they are already no good….

    He is a DP he won Copa Lib. You don’t just walk in and do that…

    • beachbum says:

      they’d make a TON more money if they did. suggesting only a team that’s no good would make a play for Beckham is laughable. the guy still competes well and his service is still world class altho his legs/back are getting older

  9. Todd Marsch says:

    A couple things…

    1. I have never seen this guy play. However, if a team finds a guy whom they think can make them better, has a DP available, and it takes, say, $600K to get him here, why not? We all know that not all DPs have to be Beckham or Henry to be effective.

    2. I don’t watch that many MLS games, so I’m going on a small sample (2-3 games), but I don’t get the belief that KC has an overly-physical, unattractive style. The games I saw them play, they played a fast-paced, high-pressing style that requires lots of quick ball on movement on their part and quick closing down of the opponent’s space (which does sometimes lead to reckless challenges). They seemed more to be mimicking Germany than someone like Stoke.

  10. 2tone says:

    Can’t judge until next season is over. But he sounds like a good acquisition for a team that is looking better and better by the day.

  11. nato says:

    if he is being paid less than 800 K, great success. But werent DPs mainly supposed to increase PR fir the club anf put butts in the seats. Beckham and HEnry did this. MLS need to snatch a Ibra or Messi but thats impossible. Lampard is available but is 34 and who knows if his fanbase cares anymore

    • Matt says:

      Ideally, that was part of the DP idea…but for clubs in less desirable markets, they may simply need DP money to convince a good, but not great, international player to come there. Nothing against KC personally, but most international players want to go to a big market.

    • Jason B says:

      SKC doesn’t need butts in the seats or to increase PR. Their new stadium and ownership are taking care of that. They need to take it to the next level and succeed in the playoffs by winning MLS Cup. THAT is what this signing is about.

    • dan says:

      SKC is spending to win now…. Not increase PR at the moment. Winning MAY increase their PR.

    • Gary Page says:

      Shouldn’t winning be the4 point of everything a club does as regards making player moves? Within a given budget, that is.

      • ec says:

        Exactly. The DP rule is less about marketing and more about bringing in talent. In most MLS markets now, a winning team is going to draw fans consistently, and if the goal of marketing is to put butts in seats… you can also do that by winning. KC played to a packed house all year last season, they are just trying to win a title.

    • Mack says:

      no nato…that is DP’s purpose in LA or NY. kc sold out all but one game and most likely will sell out every game this year as kansas city becomes more and more a soccer town.

    • mouf says:

      SKC is nearly sold out for butts in seats weeks after the season just ended, like no seats for said butts

  12. Aguinaga says:

    Seen this guy play many times, including when he, Guerron, and Manso bossed the Libertadores and beat Flu, dishing out the Maracanazo in the final. I was screaming for someone in MLS to sign any of these three then. The guy is straight up a very cunning poacher. He’ll look like he’ll make slow runs and decent link up all game w/o much more… and then BOOM, he gets the goal when it counts most. His ability to get goals reminds me a lot of Carlos Ruiz, except that he’s the opposite personality – humble, hard working, in his prime, great with the fans, and very dedicated. Here’s an example of the type of goals he gets:

    link to youtube.com

    Very good signing by KC, congrats. Bieler is going to be a great player in this league, wait and see. Four years later, I’m still wishing NY would just look South and sign guys like these for small DP $, but they unfortunately don’t sell many drinks so no contracts.. *sigh*. Nothing against Juninho, am sure he can play one more year, and at least we’re looking beyond Scandinavia. But it’s guys like these (mid to late 20′s and quite proven in good competitions but not known beyond their regions) that will really make a difference and up the overall level of the team and this league. Not more Rafas.

    • scott47a says:

      +1
      Nice to have a post from someone who has actually seen the guy play and linked a video rather than people saying it’s a good or bad signing without any actual facts or information to make such claims.

    • L says:

      Rafa was no good, and not a “team” player.

    • ec says:

      Nice! I wish there was better coverage of Liberadores in the US. FWIW, it does sound like KC was scouting him in 08/09 and trying to sign him, I’d love to hear why it didn’t work out then.

    • beto says:

      +1; sounds like a great signing. Glad SKC is in the East!

      ——Bunbury——–Sapong——
      —————-Bieler—————
      -Kamara———————-Zusi-
      ————–Feihaber————–
      -Sinovic–Besler–Collin–Myers-
      —————Nielsen————–
      bench: Nagamura, Opara, Rosell, etc.

      that is a very dangerous and even lineup. Any chance Zusi transfers out? When is his contract up?

  13. FakeU says:

    Wow, Ives, you should hire a SOuth American writer because a lot of your fanboys are ig’nant and need some schooling pronto!

  14. Eric says:

    As an SKC fan, I’m cautiously optimistic. I *think* Vermes and co. have learned their lesson with the Jeferson-as-DP fiasco, so I am sure they did their homework before bringing in another South American DP (and it should be noted that Jeferson’s fellow DP, Omar Bravo, was pretty good in his one year at SKC). And really, it isn’t like our offensive production could get a whole lot worse than it was in 2012.

    Plus…with back-to-back regular season Eastern Conference 1st seeds, I think Vermes has earned the benefit of the doubt from the fanbase.

  15. 1234567890 says:

    Good for KC, good solid team, want every MLS team and city to feel good about their teams, have the best players they can find, develop, get on the field, etc., etc., etc.

    But it’s pretty lame how the MLS doesn’t just let all of the teams play with the same allocation $$$ and same salary caps all the time. All of the MLS teams play the same # of games, get to be part of the US Open Cup, and (quite frankly) being part of the Champions League does not justify allowing 4 teams to have better squads just because they play 6 more games than the other teams do.

    And then randomly force some teams to shed players because they don’t get the same $$$ as everyone else? Seattle is still in the CCL and they have to shed salary and players? Just one example there, but that seems kind of dumb and arbitrarily unfair.

    It’s time to take that next step forward for the league. Get rid of the allocation dollars mysteries and make the league more open and fair to all teams. Find a way to reward MLS teams for developing players so that they can stay in this league longer (that means finding a way to let teams pay them).

    • Mack says:

      SKC built a good team from the ground up and earned the CCL money. most of their best players are players they developed or signed when other teasms couldnt develop them. their roster last year was one of the leagues lowest salaries.

    • ec says:

      I think the key there is the minimum salary needs to come up. Currently, to have a full MLS squad you need to have contributions from players making $30-50k. It is so hard to find talent that will play for figure, and you end up playing these squad guys when there are injuries, additional tournaments, and national team call ups – and that’s when MLS play can get ugly.

      They need to target ~$75 or $80k as the minimum salary, and re-adjust the salary cap off there. That’s a big enough jump to raise the play. I don’t mind the allocation money system, though, it seems to work well enough to inject extra opportunities to spend on increasing payroll, and it seems like it’s dolled out way more consistently than in the past.

  16. Randy says:

    Bieler, Bieler, Bieler….anyone?

  17. Oranje Mike says:

    There is still something drastically wrong with MLS pay structure when a 28 year old playing in Ecuador, that no one has heard of, can make DP money in MLS. What does this really say about MLS? Still far behind. I can still remember when Pickens was the starting keeper in Chicago and I made more money than he did.

  18. ec says:

    Reading a couple articles, I think there are 2 main reasons most of us haven’t heard of Bieler. 1) Copa Libradores is criminally under-covered so no one saw Bieler as top goal scorer for LDU Quito winning the 2008 championship (and Copa Sudamericana the next), and 2) his nationality is complicated, so you haven’t seen him play international soccer. He has dual Arg-Ecuador citizenship, and started in that long line of Argentinian forwards. Just as he started talking about switching to play for Ecuador, Diego Maradona kind of screwed him over in 2010 by calling him into camp. Because he was going to really beat out Messi, Higuain, Tevez, and Aguero to make the squad. So that seems to have delayed his playing for Ecuador, which he should probably just get on with.

    Also, remember that a DP contract just means a team thinks a player is worth paying $400k or more. That’s really not that big of a number, not all of these guys need to be Beckham/Keane/Henry to be great signings. I love the model of South/Central American players on the right side of 30 viewing MLS as a good opportunity, and it’s cool that KC have been tracking him for years. Watch the video on the KC link, has some highlights.

  19. matt says:

    a thing to note in that video is that asst. coach Zavagnin stated that players are willing to restructure their contract to be at SKC. This may have been the case for both Convey and Feilhaber. I know convey took a paycut coming to KC. I bet Benny did too.