The 1,000th MLS Player Is...
|...A matter of opinion. It depends on which way you count it. The way I like do it is to include all competitions. After 2006, there had been 1,006 players to play for MLS teams in official competitions. By that measure, the 1,000th player was Paul Dalglish. He made his debut last September 10, in Houston's 2-1 away win over Los Angeles.|
However, 11 of those 1,006 players have not played in a league match. So that means before today, only 995 have played in the regular season. The first game yesterday was Colorado vs DC. Among the starters, Luciano Emilio and Roberto Brown were newcomers. Fred and Kasali Yinka Casal were both subbed on later. That left the total at 999 when the day's second game kicked off, Salt Lake vs Dallas. The only starter new to the league was Dallas' Colombian midfielder, Juan Carlos Toja. So officially, he's the league's 1,000th player.
But wait: I mentioned the 11 players (out of 1,006) who never played a regular season game. Of those 11, all got their games in the Open Cup or continental tournaments. All that is, except for McKinley Tennyson. Without playing the regular season, he made two appearances totaling about five minutes in the 2002 playoffs for the Galaxy, scoring a goal in the process. This makes things complicated; in determining milestones like this, should the MLS playoffs count? If you do consider Tennyson an "MLS player," then that made the total 996 going into the season. That means that Fred was 999 and Casal was 1,000.
So the 1,000th MLS player is either Paul Dalglish, Juan Carlos Toja, or Kasali Yinka Casal. Take your pick.