The MLS Million Dollar Challenge (Part One)

Major League Soccer supporters like to bemoan the all-limiting salary cap imposed by Major League Soccer, and often for good reason. Despite some changes to the Designated Player rules that allow increased top-level talent to join the league, the low cap number still inhibits MLS against larger, richer leagues.

The cap is not evil though, and it is there for a reason.  Increased parity.  Controlled growth.  A (hopeful) path toward profitability.  All of these are at play, and make sensible reasons for strict spending limitations.

That does not, however, stop fans from complaining.  As a New England supporter, in fact, I have watched this year create the loudest complaints in the team’s history.

In particular, the Revolution have seemingly managed to preach against unbalancing their team with rash Designated Player decisions, while simultaneously having almost half their salary cap tied up in three players (Joseph, Twellman, Jankauskas), only one of which has mattered this year.

So instead of just complaining, I figured an exercise might be of interest to figure out just how hard this really is.  The idea was prompted by the August 12th updated release of the MLS Player’s Union salary cap information, and the interesting findings those numbers hold.

So here is the challenge: Pick a starting eleven while keeping the total 2010 Guaranteed Compensation under $1,000,000.

Some basic rules?  I didn’t care if they were US Nationals or foreign players.  I didn’t pay attention to current injuries.  I chose a basic 4-4-2 formation.  It did not matter from what team they came.

There were a number of hard choices that might have gone either way, but here is my team.

Forwards: Alvaro Saborio and Omar Cummings

Midfielders: Marco Pappa, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Andy Najar

Defenders: Gonazalo Segares, Omar Gonzalez, Geoff Cameron, Sean Franklin

Goalie: Kevin Hartman

Team’s total 2010 Guaranteed Compensation? $999,892.83

Since it is a beautiful night for dragging the family to a Revs game, I’ll follow soon with some rationale, players that were near misses and thoughts from the exercise.

All the salary information is available here, so get out those calculators.

I know a bunch of hard decisions and arguable choices in that list.

What would you have done differently?


4 thoughts on “The MLS Million Dollar Challenge (Part One)

  1. Here is my team:

    Goalie: Kevin Hartman ($80,000)

    Defenders: Chris Albright ($84,000), Darius Barnes ($56,250), Julius James ($61,460), Mike Petke ($95,000)

    Midfielders: Chris Tierney ($40,000), Jeff Larentowicz ($150,000), Andy Williams ($88,200), Sainey Nyassi ($76,750)

    Forwards: Fredy Montero ($180,000), Robbie Findley ($87,316)

    Total of: $998,976

    Had Edson Buddle for $188k but changed to Montero. Also questioned the Larentowicz, but my knowledge of players around the league isn’t where it used to be.


    • Well, I do think I see a Revs bias on this one! If I can get a night without a school visit – like tomorrow – I’ll do a follow up.

      On a quick review the young center-backs scare me, I like Albright more in practice than in reality (passing can be weak), and Petke’s probably more of a center back now (pace), but I’d have to re-look.

      Decent midfield, but I wouldn’t trade.

      And you know I like Fredy Montero… so that’s something.


      It’s not easy, is it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s