Major League Soccer’s roster compliance deadline was this weekend, and Nashville SC have made a significant change to their roster designations. Randall Leal no longer occupies a Designated Player slot and new signing Rodrigo Piñeiro is listed as a Young DP.
Leal, 24, was signed as a DP from Costa Rican powerhouse Saprissa last season, but fell within the range to be bought down with allocation money. After being bought down, Leal’s budget charge (including his salary and amortized transfer fee) are under the 2021 maximum budget charge of $612,500.
Piñeiro, 21, is officially listed as a “Young DP”. Young DPs have to be 23 or younger, and carry a much lower budget charge of $200,000. Teams are required to pay the league $150,000 to use a third DP slot, but avoid that charge if their third DP is a Young DP.
Additionally, and most importantly, listing Piñeiro in a Young DP slot opens up three U-22 Initiative slots for Nashville. If they had kept Leal in a “true” DP slot, their U-22 (“young money”) limit would be one, and Piñeiro would have filled that slot.
Buying down Leal and designating Piñeiro in a Young DP slot means that Nashville now have three open young money slots, giving them much more flexibility in the transfer market.
The other change of significance is that Hany Mukhtar no longer occupies an international roster slot. Nashville had confirmed earlier in the offseason that several players would acquire green cards, and Mukhtar appears to be the first. Jhonder Cádiz, Randall Leal and Rodrigo Piñeiro are the only players who currently occupy an international slot (Miguel Nazarit is technically an international player, but since he’s loaned out he doesn’t use one of Nashville’s 2021 slots).
MLS clubs have until the start of the secondary transfer window on July 7 to change a players international status. If any of their international players receive a green card before the deadline, they’ll count as a domestic player.