With the MLS Players Union releasing the updated salary figures last week, I thought it would be instructive to compare the total numbers for all of the teams in the league. Below, you'll separate tables ranked in order of highest spending on base salary and guaranteed compensation, respectively (those are the categories the MLSPU releases).
Obviously, I have to mention several caveats in these numbers. First, these are apparently the numbers through August 1st, so there are at least a few players who have entered the league in the last week who are not included in these figures. Second, these totals are not to be confused with the salary cap amount, for several reasons. Among these is the fact that those official figures are never publicly released. Although we have been told that players making the developmental salary (that is, the absolute minimum of $35,125), Homegrown players, regardless of salary size, and Designated Players either don't count in the salary cap total or are counted to a certain limit, the complete uncertainty over how these rules work in practice means I just went with straight-up numbers. Additionally, players sent on loan remain on the books in these salary releases, in addition to players who are playing in MLS on loan (something that is certainly relevant to Chivas USA this season).
So, again, these are straight up numbers from the Players Union release, not an authoritative document of what the salary cap is or how it works.
|Team||Total Base Salary|
|1||New York Red Bulls||$9,981,939.42|
|9||San Jose Earthquakes||$3,605,241.50|
|10||Real Salt Lake||$3,503,642|
|11||Sporting Kansas City||$3,388,335|
|17||New England Revolution||$3,047,932.63|
As you can see, 14 of the 19 teams in MLS are lumped together fairly tightly in the $3 million-$5 million range. At the top, the Seattle Sounders have displaced Toronto FC at the top, joining the New York-Galaxy duopoly (triopoly?), mostly due to Clint Dempsey's salary, which is highest in the league.
At the bottom, just two teams failed to reach $3 million, Colorado and, of course, Chivas USA. The Rapids brought in their first DP, Gabriel Torres, just last week, so that likely pushes them over the $3 million mark. But based on the available figures here, they're in with the Goats. Still, Chivas lag behind the Rapids in base salary by $474,718.70, meaning they are essentially maintaining that half-million dollar gap from the next-closest team, even with all the turnover on the roster that has taken place midseason.
Now, let's look at the guaranteed compensation, and see how it stacks up:
|Team||Total Guaranteed Compensation|
|1||New York Red Bulls||$10,939,331.67|
|9||Real Salt Lake||$3,929,924.50|
|10||San Jose Earthquakes||$3,821,811.48|
|11||Sporting Kansas City||$3,718,105.83|
|16||New England Revolution||$3,556,136|
Although the rankings differ a bit from the base salary comparisons, the same general point is present. Three teams are clearly ahead of the pack in spending (again, it's the Red Bulls, Sounders, and Galaxy), Montreal is sort of in the middle, and most of the rest of the league, 14 teams, are in the $3 million-$5 million range. Only one team didn't make it to $3 million, they didn't even get close in fact, and that was clearly Chivas USA.
In this category, Chivas lag behind the Rapids by an even larger margin, $733,216.85. That's a pretty staggering statistic. Even more staggering is the fact that Dempsey's guaranteed compensation for 2013 (officially, although he's receiving a pro-rated amount since he's joining the league midseason) is more than double Chivas' entire guaranteed comp ($5,038,566.50 to $2,490,796.13).
Clearly, these numbers are unsurprising to those who have watched Chivas USA closely, and they remain disappointing. A somewhat more positive outlook is that although the team is performing very, very poorly this season, they aren't wasting money, seeing as how bad the squad was last year and the spending was considerably higher. Still, last year, despite the struggles, Chivas made it to 30 points. Right now, they sit on 18 points. With 11 games to go, will they even make it to 2012's terrible points haul?
At any rate, it's food for thought. What do you think? Leave a comment below!