The MLS Players Union released the latest player salary figures
reflecting all the players who were signed during the summer transfer window. They underscore the massive increase in spending by clubs in 2015.
Seven of the top eight earners didn't
play in MLS in 2014. There are 22 players in all making $1 million or more in guaranteed compensation -- as compared with just nine in 2013 -- and 52 players making above the Designated Player salary
threshold -- up from 23 players two years ago. Of those 52 players, 24 didn't play in MLS last year, and 11 registered until the summer window.
Teams are using allocation moneys --
notably Targeted Allocation Money, which was introduced in 2015 -- to sign more high-priced players. Six teams paid down the salaries of Designated Players to allow them to have more than three
players making above the $436,250 threshold. Players over Designated Player threshold: 5-
Chicago, LA Galaxy, New York City FC, Sporting KC, Portland. 3-
Columbus, Orlando City, Toronto FC. 2-
Houston, New England, NY Red Bulls, Philadelphia, Real Salt Lake, San Jose, Vancouver.
Colorado, FC Dallas, D.C.
The Seattle Sounders signed Nelson Valdez
($1,215,000 guaranteed compensation) and Roman Torres
($513,812) during the summer window to give them five players making above $436,500 -- the most of any team. They used TAM to pay down Osvaldo Alonso
contract and Torres'.
In all, the Sounders took on four players with salaries of more than $200,000 during the summer as they also signed Andreas
($202,500) and Erik Friberg
($201,250). How could they have room to get all of them under the salary cap?
acquisitions, the salary hits of Valdez and Torres are half the DP threshold, and the Sounders could presumably use allocation money from the transfer of DeAndre
to Tottenham to buy down the salary hits of Ivanschitz and Friberg.
But there is no direct correlation between spending and success. Chicago, which has four players making
the DP threshold, is last in MLS, while three of the four teams who have just one player making above the DP threshold are in line to make the playoffs.
Almost all the highest-paid
players are attacking players. Just two defenders are making $1 million or more, and only eight are earning above the DP threshold. No goalkeeper makes above the DP threshold. The highest-paid keeper
is Bill Hamid
, who received a new contract, bumping his guaranteed compensation from $114,750 last year to $405,500 in 2015. 2015 MLS Highest-Paid Players: PLAYER (POS.), TEAM
GUAR. COMP. 1. *Kaka (M), ORL
$7,167,500 2. *Sebastian Giovinco (F), TOR
$7,115,556 3. Michael Bradley (M), TOR
4. *Steven Gerrard (M), LA
$6,332,504 5. *Frank Lampard (M), NYC
$6,000,000 6. *Giovani Dos Santos (F), LA
$5,750,008 7. *David Villa (F), NYC
$5,610,000 8. *Jozy Altidore (F),
$4,750,000 9. Clint Dempsey (F), SEA
$4,605,942 10. Robbie Keane (F), LA
$4,500,000 11. Jermaine Jones (M), NE
$3,052,500 12. Obafemi Martins (F), SEA
*Andrea Pirlo (M), NY
$2,315,694 14. *Didier Drogba (F), MTL
$2,166,668 15. Omar Gonzalez (D), LA
$1,450,000 16. Pedro Morales (M), VAN
$1,410,900 17. Federico Higuain (M), CLB
$1,175,000 18. *Kevin Doyle (F), COL
$1,170,000 19. *Innocent Emeghara (F), SJ
$1,300,000 20. *Nelson Valdez (M), SEA
$1,215,000 21. Liam Ridgewell (D), POR
$1,150,000 22. Gilberto (F), CHI
$1,144,992 23. *Juan Manuel Martinez (F), RSL
*Kennedy Igboananike (F), SJ $901,667 25. *Octavio Rivero (F), VAN
$890,850 26. DaMarcus Beasley (D),
$813,333 27. Osvaldo Alonso (M), SEA $789,667 28. *Lucas Melano (F), POR
$799,992 29. Maurice Edu (M), PHL
$768,750 30. *Mix Diskerud (M), NY $750,000
31. *Roger Espinoza (M), SKC $750,000 32. *David Accam (M), CHI
$720,938 33. Kyle Beckerman (M), RSL $700,000 34. Matt Besler (D), SKC
$683,250 35. Graham Zusi (M), SKC
$682,102 36. Chris Wondolowski (F), SJ
$675,000 37. Fanendo
Adi (F), POR $664,000 38. Bradley Wright-Phillips (F), NY
$660,000 39. *Tranquillo Barnetta (M), PHI
661,500 40. *Gaston Sauro (D), CLB $599,512 41. Diego Valeri (M), POR
$550,000 42. Sacha Kljestan (M), NY $537,500 43. *Kei Kamara (F), CLB $536,666 44.
Aurelien Collin (D), ORL $525,000 45. *Brek Shea (M), ORL $520,000 46. Dom Dwyer (F), SKC $518,750 47. *Roman Torres (D), SEA $513,812 48. Alvaro Saborio (F), DC
$493,333 49. Jose Goncalves (D), NE $479,375 50. Mike Magee (F), CHI $467,500 51. Brad Davis (M), HOU $445,500 52. Mauro Diaz (M), FCD
weren't in MLS in 2014.
In red are players whose salaries have been paid down with allocation money below the DP threshold of $436,500.
Other players making less money are listed as DPs because of other compensation agreements (e.g. Fabian
of D.C. United) or because of transfer fees prorated over the term of their contract.