[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Americans lag behind their foreign counterparts among the highest-paid players in MLS. Of the 21 MLS players called up for the U.S. national
team this year, only four make more than $300,000 in guaranteed compensation -- and three make less than $100,000 a year. And of the 42 MLS players making $300,000 or more, just 12 are Americans, and
of the 105 players making $200,000 or more, only 39 are Americans.
(Click here for the MLS Players Union's annual listing of salary information for all MLS players.)
The MLS players seeing the most action -- Omar Gonzalez ($282,000) and Graham Zusi ($173,813) -- on Jurgen Klinsmann's national team are both bargains though their low salaries mean they'll likely bolt their MLS clubs when their current contracts expire.
MLS's reluctance to break its salary structure means that most top Americans will move to a foreign club before they accept the top money paid by MLS clubs.
Only two Americans -- Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski -- earn more than $400,000 a year in guaranteed compensation.
Even when you throw in Wondo at $600,000 a year, the five MLS forwards Klinsmann called into the January camp make less combined than Dutch forward Danny Koevermans, who has yet to play a game this year for Toronto FC but earns $1,633,323.
Many of the Americans earning between $300,000 and $400,000 are veterans who have returned from abroad or whose chances of moving abroad have passed.
The real bargain in MLS is San Jose Earthquakes defender Steven Beitashour, who will make only $49,612 in 2013 (up from 44,100 in 2012 and $42,000 in 2011).
Other U.S. national team players earning less than six figures are D.C. United keeper Bill Hamid ($89,750) and second-year New York Red Bulls homegrown player Connor Lade ($59,213).
U.S. national team:
$198,500 Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo)
$89,750 Bill Hamid (D.C. United)
$153,000 Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)
$49,612 Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes)
$166,800 Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake)
$180,000 Matt Besler (Sporting KC)
$142,500 A.J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy)
$282,000 Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
$59,213 Connor Lade (New York Red Bulls)
$139,563 Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes)
$216,500 Jeff Parke (Philadelphia Union)
$311,250 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake)
$372,063 Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo)
$181,046 Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders)
$312,188 Benny Feilhaber (Sporting KC)
$173,813 Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
$175,000 Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA)
$165,000 Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo)
$275,000 Edson Buddle (Colorado Rapids)
$156,333 Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)
$600,000 Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Note: 2013 guaranteed compensation of MLS players called into U.S. national team in 2013.