MLS Math: Does it Add Up?

I must admit despite the speculation I was mildly surprised by the news Carlos Ruiz has returned to the LA Galaxy. I understand that the Galaxy have Joe Cannon and Clint Mathis both off the books and that the three “DPs” (David Beckham, Carlos Ruiz and Landon Donovan) only count 400k each towards the approximately $2.2 million cap. But after the three DPs, Abel Xavier, Chris Klein and Chris Albright, I guesstimate the Galaxy has about $600,000 to pay the rest of the squad: 12 senior roster players including as many as five foreigners.

But as we have so often in the past the salary cap doesn’t seem to always make sense or according to some of the more cynical fans of non big market teams, the salary cap doesn’t apply to everyone. This allegation has most often been made about the Galaxy in the past and is sure to rear its ugly head again. This is especially true because conspiracy theorists, many of whom I speak to were convinced when Ruiz was exempted from the DP rule it was not being done for FC Dallas’ benefit but for the sake of the Galaxy.

Let me state I don’t know enough about the backroom deals and politics within MLS to truly understand whether rules really are bent for the Galaxy on a regular basis, but it does smell funny to me. I found it suspicious in past years when San Jose under AEG ownership used to make seemingly one sided trades with the Galaxy: trades that never seemed to be in the interest of the Earthquakes.

Whether or not their is foul play right now doesn’t matter. Considering the suspicions within the soccer community in the US that the Salary Cap and other squad rules don’t necessarily apply to the Galaxy, the trade of Carlos Ruiz for a classic undisclosed allocation, which is vocabulary I had hoped the MLS would stop using in reference to trades. This very term makes the league look very mickey mouse not only to the Eurosnobs but to its biggest supporters as well. If MLS seeks to change this reputation, it is imperative that the allocation system and salary structure receive some sunshine as we call it down here in Florida (open records, open books) to eliminate all suspicion and talk of conspiracies.

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