Soccer returns! Sort of.

While many in the sporting world are focused on baseball's spring training, MLS teams are already playing in games that mean something. At least, that's what they want you to think.

The Pan-Pacific Cup final was yesterday in Hawaii, crowning Japanese side Gamba Osaka victors of a 4-team tournament including Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy and the Aussies of Sydney FC. In reality, this means nothing - the two MLS sides weren't fielding their most competitive lineups.
However, the tournament did introduce many American soccer fans to Gamba star striker Baré, a 26 year old Brazilian. With 5 goals in 2 games, 4 of them coming in the final against defending champions Houston, he put on a totally dominant performance. And he's been consistently good in the J-League, with 92 goals in the last 5 years. If he wanted to move to a higher-profile league and team, Seattle MLS would seem to be a good choice, yes?

Unfortunately, he's so good that acquiring him might be difficult. Says Adrian Hanauer, "...honestly, the salaries in the J-league are generally higher than those of MLS, and a team like Gamba Osaka would probably be looking for a multi-million dollar transfer fee, for a player like Bare. In MLS, Bare would probably command designated player type compensation." It appears that if Seattle MLS will sign a designated player, they're going to go out and pick up a real superstar. Sadly, Baré probably isn't that guy.

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