It’s that time of year where the MLS Players Union makes their second release of the salary figures for all Major League Soccer players.
In years past, that would mean that we’d be able to take a closer look at midseason additions, tell how much the LA Galaxy were paying those players, and how much money they had added to the overall budget.
But because there weren’t any major additions in the summer transfer window, there’s relatively little to dissect.
In fact, the only addition to the roster came at the expense of releasing defender Emrha Klimenta for defender Sheanon Williams. The base salary of $67,500 remained the same while the guaranteed compensation jumped up to by $5,000 to $72,500.
That means that the total increase from the early-season release to late-season release is the $5,000. Relatively small and relatively unnoticeable.
The big story for the Galaxy throughout the first part of the season was that they spent more on defense than any other team in MLS. And the MLS Players Union numbers supported that conclusion.
But for the second release, we’ve made an adjustment to the positional data for the Galaxy. Perry Kitchen, a defensive midfielder, was listed as part of that defensive spend in the first go around earlier this year. But for the second shot at this, I’ve pushed his number into the midfield. Thus moving his $474,166.67 to the midfield side of things.
Even if we do that for the first release of numbers, the Galaxy’s defensive spend would have put them in second place in but at the expense of the overall chart’s consistency. For this release of numbers, we’re willing to make that call without researching all the other players throughout the rest of the league that also don’t have perfectly defined roles.
The Galaxy will now show spending $3,087,184.08 on defense and sit in fifth in the league for their spending on defense.
Former Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid never liked the moniker of being called the league’s most expensive defense, while some front office executives once told CoG that spending on the defense was going to increase league-wide. The Galaxy were just at the front of that line.
And in general terms, they were both right. But the MLS Players Union figures are the only numbers reporters and fans are able to examine. And making a conclusion that the Galaxy had one of the highest-paid defenses in the league was factually correct with the information that is released. It’s still true, even with recent successes on the defensive end, the Galaxy have spent million on a defense that never came together despite the high-priced talent.
But the Galaxy have now been outspent on defense by four other clubs. And the trend in MLS seems to be leaning toward spending more money, and specifically more TAM money on defense.
The New England Revolution are the new highest paid defense in the league. They also have the league’s most expensive defender in Michael Mancienne who makes $1,370,268 in guaranteed compensation. That one player accounts for their rise up the ranks.
And the Montreal Impact now sit second in defensive spending after they signed Rod Fanni for $1,225,000 in guaranteed compensation.
In MLS one player can make a significant dent in the overall spending of a club. And both New England and Montreal now have defenders making more than Jorgen Skjelvik ($1,000,000).
STILL NEAR THE TOP IN SPENDING
The Galaxy have the second highest payroll in MLS, that much didn’t change from the first release. And being the number only increased by $5,000 it’s safe to say all those other teams that were spending money in the middle of the season didn’t already have a large payroll, to begin with.
Giovani dos Santos is still the third highest paid forward on the list and the fifth highest paid player in the league. And this year he accomplished that by playing in just 13 games and scored three goals. With his salary, he should be the difference-maker for the Galaxy. But increasingly he’s been a drain on the Galaxy’s economy with the club spending over $17 million on his contract since he joined in 2015.
The Galaxy are still fully represented at the upper echelons of player spending with four teammates among the thirty most expensive players in MLS with all three DP’s — Giovani dos Santos, Jonathan dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini — and Zlatan Ibrahimovic making that list.
And the Galaxy also have eight players above the max budget allowed in MLS ($504,375). Meaning all eight of those players either take up a DP slot, Targeted Allocation Money, or General Allocation Money.
Moving some of these players will most likely be necessary to keep the 2019 Salary Cap under control.
There are definitely some questions concerning the 2019 salary cap and how the Galaxy are going to fit locked-in contracts into that system. And any coach that is brought in will have to make some tough decisions in the offseason. For this reason alone it’s unlikely Ashley Cole returns and it’s a given that Michael Ciani will not be back with the club either.
But we’re predicting less GAM being available to the Galaxy in 2019 and that could mean their ability to pay down some of these contracts just wont happen.
And while the Galaxy search for a new head coach, someone is going to have to start thinking about how to handle the offseason and some very expensive contracts. The time for those discussions is now. But the Galaxy are likely to still be waiting as this season comes to a close.
Below you’ll find the most updated Galaxy roster. It hasn’t changed much, and that’s because the Galaxy didn’t change it. But for those near the top of the list, some reckoning is probably coming. And the Galaxy will have to make some hard decisions.
2018 LA GALAXY ROSTER – LATE SEASON REVISION
MLS POSITIONAL SPENDING BY POSITION AND TOTAL