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MLS 2009: Good Buy, Bad Buy

250px gullie052307 MLS 2009: Good Buy, Bad Buy

The 2009 MLS Salary list has been released thanks to the MLS Players Union and as always some players stand out as bargains and others as terrible buys.

Here is our list of the best and worst of MLS salaries for 2009.

DESIGNATED PLAYERS

The DP rule was at least ostensibly approved to make MLS a more compelling product on the pitch. Since the adoption of the rule before the 2007 season, some DPs have excelled while others have been disasters. A criteria for signing a DP at least in my book should be a player whose been a leader of club in a top league previously, has featured for his national team and can positively affect play on the pitch.

GOOD BUY

JUAN PABLO ANGEL, NEW YORK RED BULLS                          $1,798,000

Angel is the model DP. A high caliber footballer who was the top player at Aston Villa for many years and who has brought a discernible quality to MLS. A player who has upgraded his squad and was actually signed when he had other suitors in Europe.

Angel has helped transformed the New Jersey MLS franchise from perennial laughingstock to championship contender. Roberto Donadoni, Lothar Matthaeus and Youri Djorkaeff should be envious.


BAD BUY

FREDDIE LJUNBERG, SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC                         $ 1,314,000

The latest big name MLS signing in the tradition of Branco, Sacha Curcic, Denilson and Marcello Gallardo will probably have little impact in the league other than to cement Gooners throughout America to the Sounders for the half a season Ljunberg lasts in the league. The pity of this terrible signing is that the Sounders will actually be quite good and a worthwhile DP signing could have made the first year MLS side a favorite for a deep MLS Cup playoff run.

Ljunberg’s career in England was over after a failed stint at West Ham and unlike Angel, MLS did not have to compete with top European clubs for his services.

GOOD BUY

GUILLE BARROS SCHELOTTO, COLUMBUS CREW                 $775,000

Schelotto’s career includes 19 trophies, 25 goals in South American club competitions, an MLS MVP award, and the MLS Cup last season. At $775,000 a year Schelotto could be one of the top ten bargains in all of world football.

I’ve spent the last two years preaching the virtues of Schelotto since my now famous ” Denver bus conversation” with a bunch of Brazilians who thought the MLS was a joke and that signing Beckham was laughable. When I mentioned Schelotto had signed with the Crew that very day, I got cries of “Guille?, oh my, Boca has lost Guille!!!!”

BAD BUY

LUCIANO EMILIO, DC UNITED                                                      $ 758,857

Emilio who I will admit I like as an attacking player (but not as a DP) burst onto the MLS scene in 2007 with 20 goals, in much the same fashion as Stern John in 1998, Mamadou Diallo in 2o00 and Damani Ralph in 2003. Like each of those players his production decreased his second year. While John earned the MLS a decent transfer fee and has had a successful club carrer in England, Diallo and Ralph were essentially flame outs.

Emilio is not a DP caliber player. He’s a useful striker, but MLS has a funny way of catching up with foreign players who excel initially in the league. When factoring in DC’s defensive woes and lack of quality depth, it made no sense to DP a player who probably could have been replaced cheaper by another Raul Diaz Arce or Luciano Emilio type player in the Central American League.

Honestly, can you imagine making Roy Lassiter a DP? That’s what Emilio essentially is.

WEDNESDAY: The midsalary players ($225,000- $ 500,000)


This entry was posted in Leagues: Major League Soccer, MLS. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
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