TSG’s All MLS Salary Value Team + More MLS Notes…

MLS 2011 salaries came out this week and if you’re a buyer who is the anti-Microsoft (picking up Skype for the cool premium of $8.5B) then here is the team for you!

Steady Stefan Frei gets the nod at keeper...

The eleven starters below are not the absolute cheapest at each position, but together with a modest bench they could theoretically achieve a top-4 finish.

You can find all the salaries here.

G: Stefan Frei, Toronto ($150 guaranteed)

The skinny: Most quality keepers fetch at least a base of $150. Frei is 33% cheaper on average.

Some may argue that DC United’s Bill Hamid is a find at $55K annually. He’s yet to command his box. Can’t go top four without commanding your box. Frei does that and more.

DEF: Sean Franklin ($111.1K guaranteed),  Omar Gonzalez (183K guaranteed), Tim Ream ($62.5K guaranteed), Jair Benitez ($171K guaranteed)

The skinny: Quite a tight ship backline there. Bookends of Sean Franklin and Jair Benitez are fast and in their prime. Franklin is the bigger bookend bargain at just $111 annually while Benitez is closer to a league mode at $171K only there are fewer selections at leftback. (Had we done this last year,  Benitez’s, what, $52K salary would have been a lock.)

Gonzo still a value...

Tim Ream and Omar Gonzalez pair in the middle and are a little letdown; I really wanted to go elsewhere (like a George John) and make than my pick. End of day, in MLS, good value for both Gonzalez and Ream. Ream, obviously more so.

I also seriously debated Jamison Olave at $275K, but decided Gonzalez at a discount fiscally was not much of a discount physically.

MID: Brek Shea ($133K guaranteed) , Jeff Larentowitz ($165K guaranteed) Juninho ($100K guaranteed), Marco Pappa ($125K guaranteed)

The skinny: I’m not sure there is a bigger bargain in the entire league right now than Marco Pappa. He’s that good and that cheap. Same with Juninho who slots into the center midfield with my one reach, Jeff Larentowitz making the most at $165K.

TSG: Positively giddy over the play of Perlaza lately...

STR: Jorge Perlaza ($100K guaranteed), Sebastien Le Toux ($175K guaranteed)

The skinny: I’ve flipped for Jorge Perlaza. Yet another Colombian making a difference in MLS.

In fact, I’m going to try to reach out and get an interview with him. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he plays hold-up better than probably any player right now in the league. He’s also got some speed and makes smart runs off the ball and he’s not afraid to unleash a shot to keep the defense honest.

Sebu Le Toux is off to a tough start this campaign, but I’m not sure the front formation is locked down for the Union. He’ll find his way and he just edges out Chris Wondolowski (175K) up top.

Some other observations on MLS salaries:

• FC Dallas looks like–if it can steady the ship in David Ferreira’s absence–poised for long-term success. Players like Eric Alexander, Fabian Castillo and George John making less than $50K on the campaign!

• But wait, The Full 90 says the player’s union and Sporting KC’s number for designated player Omar Brazo are orders of magnitude off.

• Want some perspective on MLS salaries? Los Angeles Laker Andrew Bynum got a five game suspension for his smash-and-bash job on the Dallas Mavericks JJ Berea. Bynum will be suspended for five games without pay to open the 2011-2012 season or effectively $725K in salary.

That $725K number is double the highest player’s wages on the Philadelphia Union for the entire season. Um…

MLS Notes:

Apologies, did not watch the LA Galaxy – NYRB game yet, hence why you haven’t seen much commentary on TSG about it. You’ll never see TSG do that. If he didn’t watch the game or watch it intently, we’ll try to find someone else qualified who has who can contribute or merely put a post for the community to discuss.

LA Galaxy in Philadelphia today to take on the Union. New York’s little brother is just a little ornery at the lack of fanfare for this affair  in a “we beat the Red Bulls and they should hype us sort of way.”

Fair enough, but tough for a midweek game to follow a NY vs. LA marquee match-up.


As for the Galaxy, understandable that Bruce Arena is giving some rest to the aging, Royal Wedding-fatigued David Beckham. Actually, I do get it. That said, just about the only proven way to challenge the Philadelphia defense this season has been set pieces and I can see why you’d want to rest Beckham against the Union instead of an up-down affair against say Kansas City, this weekend’s opponent.

At least Arena won’t have a weary Edson Buddle to prop up in the attack and take the beating of two defenders all night long like what happened last year in Philadelphia.

At this point for Beckham, he should be a league property and they treat him more like a performer at a concert than a player on a team. Send him around to whichever game needs a ratings, attendance bump each weekend and schedule out some meet-and-greets. Heck, you could even work it out with the Mr. Metrosexual that he has the right to take off a certain number of weekends for whatever he needs to do, like sell Spurs jerseys or something.

• David Ferriera may be out, but smallball is starting to take hold a little more in MLS. 5’3” Joao Plata making like JJ Berea and stringing together two games against quality opponents. 5′ 7” Dilly Duka engining the Columbus midfield to their surprisingly strong start. 5’4” Paolo Cardoza looking like he’s year out from possible pairing the 5’6” Juninho in the Galaxy midfield.

Might Deco be the next MLS DP?

• Not sure if I mentioned Jorge Perlaza, big fan. However, Kalif Alhassan runs the risk of becoming no more than a Dane Richards or Robbie Rogers unless he can find the final move faster or lays it off. Don’t get me wrong Alhassan is a good player, but just needs to cure that one bad habit.

• Speaking of the Timbers, they travel northward this weekend for the first in-season MLS meeting with their big brother, Seattle. For Seattle, Alvaro Fernandez, Seattle’s 2nd highest paid player, could really right his subsonic Sounder’s career with an emphatic performance in the high visibility affair. For Portland, Darlington Nagbe may be the key. Nagbe figures to be the lone youngster in a midfield battle that pits himself and vet Jack Jewsbury versus Brad Evans and Oswaldo Alonso. Nagbe’s the most creative and, if he’s got it, he needs to have an impact.

17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/11 at 10:27 AM

    I’d take Agudelo and the 90K savings over LeToux, personally.


  2. Posted by Joe on 2011/05/11 at 11:08 AM

    Are you kidding me 32.6k is the base salary? I am not sure if I could actually do that. What do those guys eat? Rent in each city is at least 1k a month so that is 20k left for food and living for an entire year. But I just looked at the average player salary for a minor league baseball player and it is 50% better than a first year AAA player and double that of a AA player. So it looks like you can live off of it, but not sure you would want to. I think my first year in the military I got free room and board, full benefits and still had 20k. I would have expected these professional athletes like Mauro Rosales (44k) to be making quite a bit more than me.


    • Posted by dth on 2011/05/11 at 11:27 AM

      I bet they get per diems and a lot of free food. I’d also imagine the health insurance is cheap.


    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/05/11 at 3:16 PM

      It was a number of years ago but one of my friends from high school played D1 soccer and was offered a spot on the Revolution after tryouts. They were very clear with him that he was a practice player/last man on the bench but he could see if he could improve. At the time the salary was very low (I want to say $35K, but again this was probably 7 years ago at this point) and he turned them down to work at an accounting firm for $15K more per year. He figured that he couldn’t really live on $35K and then in two years if he didnt make it what would he have then.

      By comparison another kid that went to my high school got a D1 baseball scholarship and was drafted by a MLB team in the second round. He got a $750K signing bonus, made the minimum (which was less than $35K), but because he was drafted after his junior year they offered to pay for any and all college education he wanted (whatever and how many degrees for however long).

      Always thought of it as a sad story as a soccer fan.


  3. Posted by Dan on 2011/05/11 at 11:14 AM

    Jake Gleeson at keeper for 42K? Kid had two saves of the week in his brief time starting for PDX.


  4. Posted by Joe on 2011/05/11 at 11:18 AM

    Also I take Teal Bunbury at 185k over both strikers especially Le Toux and take Rosales over Brek Shea.


  5. I’m always fluctuating between thinking MLS players make way too little money, and then contemplating the salary it would take to make me quit my job to play soccer for a living. Suffice it to say I’d do it for less than the base salary.

    My personal finances aside, I have to guess that the MLS base salaries aren’t comparable to those of other leagues. Anyone have any idea of if that is true (I think it is), and what the difference in base salary is?


  6. Posted by dth on 2011/05/11 at 11:32 AM

    Well, I rate George John as being in a similar class as Omar Gonzalez, and he’s about $100k cheaper, so I’d go with him on the backline. Actually, I’d name John the biggest bargain in the MLS. Also like Rich Balchan at 42k bargain-wise…surprised we haven’t heard more hype as the Great White Hope For Left Back.

    To me, it’s always fun to go the other way. Excepting DPs, who’s the most wildly overpaid player in the MLS? Might go with Andres Mendoza at 500k, but I’m willing to be convinced otherwise.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/11 at 11:44 AM

      Rich Balchan is currently a bargain, but I’d like to see a full season under his belt before anointing him The Chosen One. Also he’s playing with a terrific Crew backline.


      • Posted by dth on 2011/05/11 at 12:03 PM

        Oh, yeah, I would too. But I’m just saying, given the hair-trigger sensitivity to quality at needed positions in general for American fans, I’m just surprised a natural left back playing in a good defense with a decent ability to get forward hasn’t gotten any attention whatsoever. If I hadn’t looked Balchan up, I wouldn’t’ve realized he was a pretty young rookie.


  7. Posted by John on 2011/05/11 at 11:54 AM

    Big congrats to the “anonymous” people who put up the fake timbers website.

    Quite a lot of work to maintain and publish that for a bunch of relatively unfunny jokes and homophobic insults.

    Keep it classy Seattle.


  8. Posted by Damon on 2011/05/11 at 12:43 PM

    I’d really love a comparison between the salaries of MLS players and other leagues around the world. I’d just be curious to see how it stacks up vs some of the other second division leagues.


  9. Posted by dth on 2011/05/11 at 4:04 PM

    Of today’s Union-Galaxy game: not sure what angers me more–Nakazawa starting or Okugo benched.


  10. Posted by Brian on 2011/05/11 at 9:46 PM

    “At least Arena won’t have a weary Edson Buddle”
    I hope you’re being sarcastic. The Galaxy could really use Buddle right now


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/11 at 9:59 PM

      My point is that Bruce Arena wore out Buddle last year. His loss–and I think you agree–was huge for the Galaxy. Not enough people talking about it this year.


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