Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The best (and worst) valued MLS players

Leave a comment

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember all the rules and regulations that Major League Soccer has implemented, particularly when it comes to TAM and GAM, but one area that has become more transparent over the years is player contracts, courtesy of the league’s Players Union.

The MLS PA once again released its list of contracts for every active player in the league, as well as several free agents, earlier this week, which made us think: which players are the best and worst values based on their current salaries?

Pro Soccer Talk took a deeper look at each team’s current crop of players, and picked the 10 best and 10 worst contracts.

So, here we go.

In the typical good-bad news situation we usually like to get the bad out of the way first, so that’s where we will start.


WORST CONTRACTS

LA Galaxy attacker Giovani dos Santos ($6 million)

To say that the El Tri forward hasn’t lived up to his billing in MLS is an understatement. His underperformance with the club can be overshadowed a bit by the production of players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ola Kamara and Romain Alessandrini, but Dos Santos’ goal output since the end of 2016 has been at a bare minimum (eight goals).

Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder/defender Brek Shea ($745,000)

It’s fair to make the claim that Shea hasn’t lived up to the hype after leaving Dallas in 2012, and the fact that the Texas-native is currently the second-highest Whitecaps player speaks to that. Deployed primarily as a winger, Shea has scored just 10 goals since returning to MLS in 2015, and has completely fall out of the U.S. Men’s National Team picture.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya ($1.2 million)

To put Bedoya’s contract into perspective, the USMNT midfielder earns more than Federico Higuain, Sacha Kljestan and Alberth Elis. It’s been a rocky road for the third-year Union player.

D.C. United’s Zoltan Stieber ($999,000)

The Hungarian has been underwhelming thus far in a D.C. kit despite being the club’s top-earning player. Two goals and two assists since last summer is one of the reasons why D.C. has struggled so mightily.

FC Dallas forward Cristian Colman ($585,000)

Dallas has lost several important players in the attack over the years, but the addition of Colman was supposed to ease the blow for the Western Conference power. Instead, the Paraguayan has three goals to show in 33 appearances for the club.

Montreal Impact forward Matteo Mancosu ($719,000)

The former Bologna man has been underwhelming since joining the Impact, which hasn’t helped the team’s willingness to find a legitimate replacement for Didier Drogba.

Portland Timbers midfielder Lucas Melano ($1 million)

The Argentine player is currently in his native country on loan at Estudiantes, but still bringing in over $1 million. Since joining the Timbers in 2015, Melano has scored just four goals for the Western Conference side.

New York City FC forward Jo Inge Berget ($816,000)

This is another player who is early into their MLS career, but the early signs aren’t very promising for an NYCFC side that has desperately searched for a second front option for the instances when David Villa isn’t available. Berget thrived in Europe, but he has struggled to make an impact in the Bronx.

Real Salt Lake’s Alfredo Ortuno ($1.1 million)

In three appearances this season, Ortuno has zero goals and no shots to speak of. Mike Petke’s side hasn’t had good luck with forwards over recent years, and unless Ortuno picks up his form, it could be another Yura Movsisyan situation.

Colorado Rapids keeper Tim Howard ($2.4 million)

It’s not to say that Howard isn’t still a capable goalkeeper, which he is, but the Rapids severely overspent on a position where you simply don’t have to shell out that sort of money. Goalkeepers like Tim Melia, Luis Robles, Zach Steffen and Stefan Frei could have all four of their contracts combined, and still come up significantly short of Howard’s salary.


BEST CONTRACTS

Atlanta United’s Miguel Almiron & Josef Martinez ($2.2 million, $1.3 million)

We’ll start off with a pair from the same team. It would be shocking if one, if not both, players end up in Europe in the very future, so the fact that these players aren’t even in the top 10 Designated Player salaries is a sign of some very good business from Atlanta. The duo have combined for 41 goals in less than two full seasons with the Five Stripes.

Sporting KC winger Johnny Russell ($699,000)

It’s been a small sample size, but Sporting KC has to be very, very happy with its addition of Russell this winter. Five goals and two assists for the former Derby County midfielder, Russell has brought another creative influence to Peter Vermes’ attack.

NY Red Bulls’ Tyler Adams & Aaron Long ($153,000, $73,000)

In a way, it’s almost unfair to pick just two players from the Red Bulls because manager Jesse Marsch and technical director Dennis Hamlett have done such a tremendous job building this roster. Adams and Long stand out though because of what they have done in controlling the center of the park. For Long, in particular, he’s quickly become one of the best central defenders in MLS, making Matt Miazga an afterthought for Red Bulls supporters.

Colorado Rapids forward Dominique Badji ($168,000)

It’s hard to imagine that Badji has been in MLS for four seasons already, but the Rapids striker has proven to be one of the few consistent attacking pieces for the club. After tallying nine goals in 2017, Badji is alright more than halfway to that total, and should shatter his personal best this season.

Vancouver Whitecaps winger Alphonso Davies ($72,000)

At 17, Davies has the makings of a special talent. The Canada international doesn’t light up the score sheet, but Davies is one of the most exciting wingers in MLS and is the type of player you want out wide to provide great service into the box. Any team would sign up for his contract in a heartbeat.

D.C. United’s Yamil Asad ($520,000)

Asad was often overshadowed in Atlanta last year due to the star power on that squad, and now he’s still a bit under appreciated because of D.C.’s lack of success, but make no mistake that he is one of the top wingers in MLS. D.C. did well to keep him in the U.S., but now Ben Olsen needs to go out and support Asad with more talented players.

Houston Dynamo forward Alberth Elis ($650,000)

The 22-year-old is on pace to break into double-digit goals for his second consecutive season in MLS, and is a natural fit to replace the departed Erick “Cubo’ Torres. Elis played a big role in the Dynamo making the playoffs last season, and he likely will be a driving force again in 2018 if Houston qualifies.

Los Angeles FC defender Laurent Ciman ($661,000)

It was a steal when the expansion side managed to pull him away from the Montreal Impact, and the league’s most consistent center back has proven to be worth every penny for Bob Bradley‘s side. LA FC has dazzled with its many exciting attacking pieces, but Ciman has held down the fort defensively.

Pukki hat trick leads Norwich past Newcastle (video)

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Norwich City gave its fans a day to remember in the Premier League, as Teemu Pukki scored a hat trick in the first top flight game at Carrow Road since 2016.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Saturday’s match finished 3-1, with Jonjo Shelvey scored a craft late concession for Newcastle but not enough to take any pressure off already-embattled manager Steve Bruce.

Former Atlanta United playmaker Miguel Almiron struggled for the second-straight week and record-signing Joelinton limped off the pitch for Newcastle.

Norwich hosts Chelsea next week while point-less Newcastle is away to Spurs.


3 things we learned

1. Top Teemu since Selanne: Preseason questions about whether the 29-goal Finn could bring his scoring prowess to the Premier League. Four goals in two matches answers that, and the quality of each lives outside of Fortune.

2. Steve Bruce gives doubters fuel: The Magpies’ already-embattled boss dropped young Sean Longstaff to the bench, but it’s not just about personnel; Newcastle looked unfit to rival a newly-promoted team from Moment No. 1. That’s terrible stuff.

3. Sweet revenge for Krul, Hanley: Former Newcastle No. 1 goalkeeper Krul and former Championship backup Hanley were in firm control even with Shelvey’s stoppage time goal.

Man of the Match: Teemu Pukki

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Liverpool edge past Saints in wild clash

Leave a comment

Liverpool rallied to beat Southampton 2-1 at St Mary’s on Saturday in a wild encounter on the South Coast.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino scored for Liverpool, while Danny Ings scored a crazy goal late on for Saints after a Adrian howler as they set up a pulsating finish.

Ings then whiffed on a glorious chance to make it 2-2 as Liverpool held on for the win.

The wins sees Liverpool make it two from two before they face Arsenal next time out, while Saints have lost their first two games of the season before heading to Sheffield United.


4 things we learned

1. Red-hot Sadio Mane the difference: He scored a stunner for the first goal, won the ball back for the second and forced Gunn into a brilliant stop from his header and set up Andrew Robertson with an audacious back heel. Mane was the difference and even though he returned late from the Africa Cup of Nations, he looks as a fresh as a daisy.

2. Saints’ defensive issues persist: Southampton were their own worst enemies. They gave Mane too much space for the first goal and then needlessly tried to play out of the back for the second. Saints have brought in Kevin Danso but he didn’t make his debut and moving forward they need to stop silly defensive errors if they’re going to push away from another relegation scrap.

3. Liverpool shake off the rust, just: Jurgen Klopp will not be happy with this display overall. Liverpool turned it on at the start of the second half and almost tore Saints apart, but Adrian’s howler epitomized a shaky display and the Reds were lucky to leave with all three points.

4. Danny Ings should have been the hero: He jumped off the bench to score against his former club and he should have scored a second. Ings whiffed on a great cross from Yan Valery just after he had made it 2-1 and his anger was clear. Ings was left on the bench and came on and made a point, curling just over with another glorious effort. If he stays fit, he is still Saints’ biggest hope of finishing towards the top 10.

Man of the Match: Sadio Mane – Outrageous goal, lovely flicks and tricks and truly showed up against his former club. Wonderful showing from the Senegalese winger.


Saints started well as Che Adams almost nipped in front of Adrian and the goalkeeper then had his clearance blocked by James Ward-Prowse.

At the other end Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dragged a shot just wide, while Adrian made a fine save to deny Maya Yoshida from close range.

Southampton continued to cause Liverpool problems as Ryan Bertrand‘s cross was pushed away by Adrian and Yan Valery couldn’t finish. Mohamed Salah smashed over on the break as Liverpool struggled to get going in the first half.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Che Adams nodded just over from inside the six yard box but the home team were then made to pay. Mane was given an extra yard in the box and curled home a stunner against his former club to put Liverpool ahead right on half time.

In the second half Angus Gunn came up with a huge save to deny Salah, who was clean through, while Saints continued to press hard for a way back into the game.

On the break Liverpool were rampant as Mane’s cross found Firmino but the Brazilian striker flicked his effort inches wide of the far post. Danny Ings jumped off the bench and curled inches over the bar as the former Liverpool forward came so close to an equalizer.

Firmino then made it 2-0 up the win as Mane won the ball back and the Brazilian cut inside and finished low. Gunn then denied both Mane and Robertson (the latter was denied after an audacious back heel from Mane) as Liverpool ended the game on fire.

However, Adrian then gifted Saints a way back into the game as he played the ball against Ings who slotted home to make it 2-1. Moments later Ings missed a glorious chance as Yan Valery played him in inside the six-yard box but the former Liverpool man couldn’t handle the bobble and flicked it wide.

Watch Live: Man City v. Spurs

Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The marquee match of the week, and maybe the Premier League’s opening month, sees Manchester City host Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Both teams were dominant in Opening Day wins, though Spurs had to work a bit longer to find their finish.

Man City’s available subs for this match are filthy, with Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Joao Cancelo, David Silva, and Fernandinho all options for Pep Guardiola (as well as Phil Foden and Claudio Bravo).

Giovani Lo Celso is on the bench for Spurs.

WATCH, STREAM: Wilson, Pukki score screamers amongst 10 a.m. ET kicks

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

This season is going to be a challenge for Norwich City, but one of last season’s true heroes made sure the Canaries fans got a bit of home delight.

[ STREAM: All 10 a.m. ET kicks ]

Newcastle is visiting town on Saturday, and Teemu Pukki scored a delightful opener to give the Canaries a halftime lead.

It’s appropriate, as the volley takes a page out of Newcastle hero Alan Shearer’s playbook.

Norwich City 1-0 Newcastle UnitedSTREAM

Aston Villa 0-2 BournemouthSTREAM

And how about this from Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson, who is making Villa’s home return to the Premier League less than ideal.