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Revolution turn to Caraglio as DP

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / August 3, 2011

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The Revolution announced Argentine striker Milton Joel Caraglio as their first designated player yesterday, and they hope to have him available for Saturday’s game against Chivas USA.

Caraglio, 22, who has been playing for Rosario Central, is scheduled to arrive in Boston today and join the team for training tomorrow. He becomes Major League Soccer’s 35th designated player since it instituted a ruling allowing teams to have three players paid outside the maximum salary.

“It’s no secret we wanted to sign someone to help us in the attacking third,’’ said Revolution vice president of player personnel Michael Burns. “He’s a strong, good-sized, target striker, and we’re hoping he scores goals.’’

Burns said the Revolution based their judgment on recommendations and video evidence.

“It is extremely rare for us,’’ Burns said of signing a player without having scouted him in person. “There were a number of factors - he was in between seasons and our schedule is [crowded] - but we felt it was an opportunity placed in front of us.

“He wanted to come and we wanted him. Now it is our job to get him in and get him acclimated to the guys, on and off the field, get him integrated into the team and comfortable as quickly as possible.’’

Once termed the “Beckham Rule,’’ the designated player allowance was intended for expensive, high-profile stars. The Revolution failed in attempts to recruit stars such as Luis Figo and Rivaldo, recently changing their targets to accessible, lower-priced candidates.

Caraglio’s salary is well below the league maximum, but he is categorized as a DP because of the loan and transfer fees paid to Rosario Central, according to a source close to the negotiations. The deal is similar to the one that brought Gambian striker Mustapha Jarju to Vancouver from Mons in Belgium.

Caraglio is listed at 6 feet 2 inches, 195 pounds, and has several nicknames indicating his bulk: “El Bufalo,’’ “El Gordo,’’ “El Tanque,’’ and “El Pichon de Kempes,’’ referring to his similarity to former Argentina national team star Mario Kempes, who was also left-footed.

The Revolution (4-9-9, 21 points) have been seeking a forward-line partner for Rajko Lekic, who arrived from Denmark in April. Lekic scored his fourth goal of the season in a 1-1 tie at Sporting Kansas City Saturday. But the Revolution have converted only 20 goals, tied with Chicago for last in the league.

“It is always a little bit of a risk any time you sign an international player,’’ Burns said. “Video is different than live, but our coaches were able to see some stuff they liked.’’

The transfer period continues through the end of the month, and the Revolution plan to sign another player.

“We’ve been trying to bring in an attacking player, and this is one step,’’ Burns said. “In the next couple weeks we will try to add to this.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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