Red Bulls Henry celebrates after scoring against Impact during their MLS soccer match in Montreal

Examining the top 10 earners in MLS

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Well, this happens every single season. But it always creates plenty of hype, discussion and debate.

Major League Soccer usually releases players salary figures a few months into the season, fans, pundits and just about everyone has a say on who is a bargain, who is overpaid and what clubs are doing fantastically well within their salary cap.

MLS announced the 2013 salaries yesterday, with plenty of surprises on hand.

Just one player eligible to play for the USMNT is among the top ten earners, Landon Donovan, and a whole host of nationalities can be found, including a Frenchman, Irishman, Australian, Italian, Dutchman, Scotsman and two Colombians.

So, without further adieu, let’s crack on and find out who are the top ten earners in MLS (total salary), and examine whether or not they’re worth it. It was good enough for the Roman amphitheater’s back in the day, so we are going to use a simple “Thumbs Up” or “Thumbs Down” method to judge MLS’ superstars.

1. Thierry Henry – $4,350,000

New York’s talisman has had a few injury problems over the past year, but when he is fit and fired up not many defenders can get near him. Henry looks to have embraced Mike Petke in charge and is helping the Red Bulls fight back after a poor start to the season.

Thumbs Up

2. Robbie Keane – $4,333,333.33

The Irishman has also had his injury struggles but being handed the LA Galaxy captaincy proves his worth to the side. He was on fire in the second-half of last season, acting as the catalyst for LA’s MLS Cup success. Keane is without doubt the best finisher in the league. Totally worth the big bucks.

Thumbs Up

3. Tim Cahill – $3,620,000

A month ago, this would have been a big thumbs down. But Cahill has turned his season around. Some may argue he isn’t doing much different. And you would be right. The Aussie has played the same all season, but recently he has found the back of the net with regularity. Clutch goals are worth their weight in gold.

Thumbs Up

(MORE: Bargains around the league, based on the numbers)

4. Landon Donovan – $2,500,000

A lot of deliberation about this one. Yes he is one of greatest US players of all time and has been LA’s main man for several season now. But Donovan’s winter sojourn has cast some shadows on his importance to the team. And he has played well in spells since coming back but also missed two PKs and looked rusty at times.

Thumbs Up

5. Marco Di Vaio – $1,937,508

The Italian is incredible, scoring several terrific goals so far and showing no signs of stopping. He accepts he won’t start every game for Montreal, but he slots perfectly into the squad rotation system. Di Vaio’s experience and natural talent to finish should lead the Impact deep into the postseason.

Thumbs Up

6. Obafemi Martins – $1,725,000

Injury-hit and taking his time to adjust to MLS, Martins has shown pockets of brilliance so far for Seattle. Once he gets into his groove, much like Keane in the second half of last season, expect the Nigerian to rip it up.

Thumbs Up

7. Danny Koevermans – $1,663,323.33

Harsh to give him the thumbs down, but Koevermans has just been so injury prone. When he does play, the goals are always flowing. But for Toronto’s new look side, a more mobile striker is needed to chase long balls. Koevermans just doesn’t fit the bill.

Thumbs Down

8. Kenny Miller – $1,132,492

The Scot endured a tough first season in MLS last year. And things haven’t got much better this season. Despite having the captain’s armband for some games, Miller has not delivered the goals Martin Rennie would have hoped for. You can never fault his effort but he should be grabbing goals for Vancouver.

Thumbs Down

9. Fredy Montero – $856,000

Strange one this, as Montero is currently on loan with Millonarios back in Colombia. But in the salaries released his is right up there still. Obviously the Sounders are getting a fee for his services while he is on loan. He is worth big money in MLS, no doubt. But he is too hot and cold for me.

Thumbs Down

10. David Ferreira – $730,000

Great to see the diminutive Dallas attacker back fit and healthy. The 33-year-old is still the heartbeat of FCD and if they can keep their good early season form going, Ferreira’s form is key. The number of chances he creates is incredible and a few more goals from the Colombian could help Dallas go far.

Thumbs Up

MLS Cup: Toronto FC all about the team

Toronto FC defender Nick Hagglund, center, celebrates his goal against the Montreal Impact with teammates Michael Bradley, right, and Steven Beitashour (33) during the second half of the second leg of MLS Eastern Conference championship series, in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Toronto, Ontario (AP) Team has been the theme for Toronto FC in the buildup to the MLS Cup final.

From boisterous practices to team-first media interviews, the All for One club motto has been plain to see ahead of the championship game Saturday against the visiting Seattle Sounders.

“You don’t get to this point by mistake or by accident. You get here because a group of special guys who have all bought into a philosophy, an identity,” said Toronto midfielder Will Johnson, an MLS Cup winner with Real Salt Lake and Portland.

“I say the same about Seattle. They’re bought into what they’re good at. We’re bought in, very motivated and want to sacrifice and put aside egos to get to a point as a team to compete for the big trophy.”

[ MORE: Designing the best UCL Round of 16 ]

Star striker Jozy Altidore, no fan of chatting with the media, was downright prickly when a reporter asked him if he had taken time to reflect on his personal journey to the championship game.

“No,” he said definitively. “This isn’t personal, this is a team game. We’re here to try to help Toronto to be a winning team. This has nothing to do with individuals. So it has nothing to do with what I’ve been through. This is what the city’s been through, what the fans have been through, what this club has been through. That’s far more important.”

Fullback Justin Morrow, a seven-year MLS veteran, has never played this deep into the season before.

“Each week we build on top of each other and we get closer as the year goes on. It really feels like it’s a culmination this week,” he said.

[ UCL: Who can Arsenal, Man City, Leicester draw? ]

Coach Greg Vanney has made a point of praising the entire squad, including reserves who function as the scout team in practice. While he has done soccer’s equivalent of shortening his bench for the playoffs, the squad has stayed on point. If anyone has beefs, they have been kept to themselves.

That’s no small feat considering the salaries on the squad range from $7.12 million for star striker Sebastian Giovinco to $51,500 for youngsters Mo Babouli and Tsubasa Endoh.

For Morrow, being part of a tight-knit group allows you to forget that it is your job.

“When teams aren’t doing well, players tend to focus on that – their job and not about the other people on the team,” Morrow said. “And I think when teams are doing well, it becomes about the relationships between the players.”

Report: Atlanta United to acquire Parkhurst; Guardado hopes fading

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 12:  Michael Parkhurst #4 of the Columbus Crew SC controls the ball against against the Philadelphia Union on March 12, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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Atlanta United is adding MLS experience to its high-flying international acquisitions.

The expansion side is set to acquire Michael Parkhurst from the Columbus Crew, according to a report from The Sporting News.

[ MORE: Mourinho worried about Zorya pitch ]

Parkhurst, 32, has been a fixture for the Crew since returning to MLS after stints with Nordsjælland and FC Augsburg. The 25-times capped American defender would join a relatively loaded expansion unit that reportedly will also add veteran Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Unfortunately for Atlanta, it seems the first-year club’s hopes of landing Mexican star Andres Guardado are fading.

From Ives Galarcep for The Sporting News:

The club has one remaining designated player slot it is expected to fill ahead of its inaugural 2017 season, but transfer target Andres Guardado appears less likely to be the player to fill that slot, sources have told Goal USA.

The Crew was a massive disappointment last season, failing to make the playoffs one season after making a run to the MLS Cup Final. Is Parkhurst a good gamble for Atlanta?

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Men in Blazers podcast: Conte v. Pep, Cherries comeback, Spurs-Swans

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Rog and Davo relive the tactical battle between Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola, marvel at tiny Bournemouth’s comeback win over high-flying Liverpool and duck-and-cover while recapping Spurs 5-0 Swansea.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Mourinho accepts Zorya compliment, but says best coach “doesn’t exist”

Manchester United's coach Jose Mourinho, centre, attends a training session with his team at Chernomorets stadium in Odessa, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, ahead of Thursday's Europa League group A soccer match against FC Zorya Luhansk. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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On the eve of his side playing Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League, Zorya Luhansk boss Yuriy Vernydub called counterpart Jose Mourinho the best manager in the world.

And Mourinho disagreed.

Well, in principle.

[ MORE: Designing the best UCL Round of 16 ]

The Portuguese was flattered by Vernydub’s compliments and isn’t one to turn down praise. Yet at the same time, Mourinho thinks a coach’s success is year-to-year. There’s no clear best in the sport, according to Mou.

From ManUtd.com:

“He was nice by saying that but I don’t think he is right. I don’t think there is a best coach in the world. It doesn’t exist in my opinion. Every season one has to win the FIFA Gold Ball but I don’t think there is the best. You can say the best of the year and that I agree. Every year there is one with the most important result. So he is just being nice, no more than that.”

That’s almost meta, Mou.

Conceptually we understand, and Mourinho would feel he was the best in the world three seasons ago but not last year or this year (yet). Yet it’s difficult to say that the bodies of work from Pep Guardiola, Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Unai Emery, Antonio Conte, Luis Enrique, and Jurgen Klopp couldn’t be measured against each other, right?

[ MORE: United, Saints advancement scenarios ]

Onto the little picture Mourinho is worried about a potentially rock hard pitch at Zorya affecting the game. This, from the BBC:

“The pitch is very hard, the pitch is very icy,” said United boss Mourinho.

“They are putting warmth on the top of it, but the pitch is very difficult and people cannot make miracles. Let’s hope everything goes well.”

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