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Comparing 2012 MLS Payrolls

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: JPA: "Check's on me, guys!" (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: JPA: "Check's on me, guys!" (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
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Over at SB Nation Soccer today, Jeremiah Oshan had a terrific article discussing the intricacies of the MLS financial rules and made some great calculations concerning the salary cap and the current "bang for the buck" for each team in league form. Be sure to check it out.

In continuing our discussion of Chivas USA's player salary figures, I wanted to use Jeremiah's calculations to highlight the total team payroll and see where Chivas stack up. On one hand, the team hasn't moved into the top five in spending, although that isn't exactly a surprise. But Chivas are in the middle of a group of teams, all of whom are playing decent-to-great soccer this season regardless of team payroll.

Here is the ranked order of team payrolls according to the May 2012 figures released late last week:

Team Total team payroll (guaranteed compensation)
New York Red Bulls $12.96 million
LA Galaxy $12.63 million
Toronto FC $8.25 million
Vancouver Whitecaps $4.37 million
D.C. United $4.19 million
Portland Timbers $4.16 million
Seattle Sounders $3.98 million
Philadelphia Union $3.62 million
Real Salt Lake $3.52 million
FC Dallas $3.45 million
Colorado Rapids $3.43 million
Columbus Crew $3.33 million
New England Revolution $3.26 million
Chicago Fire $3.23 million
Chivas USA $3.23 million
San Jose Earthquakes $3.21 million
Sporting Kansas City $3.12 million
Montreal Impact $3.03 million
Houston Dynamo $3.00 million

As you can see, Chivas are tied for 14th in total payroll. That's a small move up from last year's figures, which pegged them in the bottom three overall. Still, If we consider the fact that more than half of the teams in the league are within $500,000 of each other, Chivas don't appear to be as cheap as we've come to expect. Obviously, the biggest reason for this is the guaranteed compensation of the highest paid player on the team, Juan Pablo Angel, whose $600,000 in guaranteed compensation catapult's Chivas' total payroll well above the $3 million mark.

Looking even closer, Chivas are included with three other teams that are all within $50,000 of each other, which is the equivalent of a low-end salary for a single player. And as Jeremiah points out in his article, current form and payroll do not correlate. The Galaxy and TFC have the second and third-highest payrolls, respectively, but they are both sitting in the bottom of their respective conferences, something that surely makes fans of more-frugal teams happy. Meanwhile, SKC and San Jose are third and fourth-lowest in total payroll, respectively, but they are near the top of the standings at the moment.

Do Chivas have more room to spend? Theoretically, of course they do. And considering JPA is not considered a designated player, that means this team still does not have a DP in its history. Obviously, the key is finding good players as opposed to just buying expensive players, but Chivas are under the cap and they could spend more if they wanted to. Still, although they are near the bottom, their form and the form of the teams around them indicates that intelligent spending is more important than simply throwing money at players.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!