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Photo by Robert Mora / LA Galaxy

Why Marcelo Sarvas Would Depart the LA Galaxy

Update 1-14-2015

Per multiple outlets Jozy Altidore re-entered MLS through the allocation process. Montreal did not trade their spot and remain in the number 1 position. Toronto FC used their sixth pick in allocation to acquire Altidore.

Original Story Below

Name one player who was instrumental to the LA Galaxy’s success over the past 3 years. Robbie Keane? Of course! Landon Donovan? Sure! Omar Gonzalez? Might be an argument. But you say Marcelo Sarvas to any LA Galaxy fan and they’ll scream “yes!”

And when you talk about the heart and soul of this team, no one would question Marcelo Sarvas. He gives everything to his craft, he bleeds the colors of the team, and without question, he wills his teammates and himself into making the big play.

While it’s completely impossible to quantify, it’s my humble guess that having Marcelo Sarvas on your team gives you at least 12 points you might not get with another player (totally made up stat. I changed my mind 3 times while typing it).

According to the Major League Soccer Players Union (MLSPU) the 2014 Salary for Marcelo Sarvas was $192,500. Not a small amount of money, but how many of you expected that number to be higher?

To compare there are six players who make more than Marcelo Sarvas on the LA Galaxy’s 2014 roster. Now three of those players are Designated Players (Keane, Donovan, and Gonzalez), but three of them are starters that don’t have the same effect as Sarvas on the field.

Player2014 Guaranteed Compensation
Landon Donovan (DP)$4,583,333
Robbie Keane (DP)$4,500,000
Omar Gonzalez (DP)$1,250,000
Juninho$325,000
Stefan Ishizaki$213,000
Alan Gordon$206,666
Marcelo Sarvas$192,500

Alan Gordon’s salary of $206,000 was inherited by the Galaxy after he joined the team halfway through the season. Stefan Ishizaki, a new signing by Bruce Arena at the beginning of 2014, makes $213,000. Stefan Ishizaki didn’t start every game as he split time with Baggio Husidic but both Husidic and Ishizaki played meaningful minutes. Finally, the best comparison of like-for-like positional talent, is Juninho. Juninho’s 2014 salary is $325,000.

If You’re Marcelo Sarvas:

So if you’re Marcelo Sarvas, making less than those three players do you feel slighted? Do you feel like you want more money? You’ve been the LA Galaxy’s best non Designated Player since 2012, for sure. And with your addition in 2012 the LA Galaxy returned to being a force in Major League Soccer by winning 3 of 4 MLS Cups. You head and partner the best midfield in Major League Soccer, but the guy to your left and your right are both making more money than you.

You have one year left on your contract. So technically, unless you either decide not to play soccer in 2015 or you get traded, you’re with the LA Galaxy. And at 33 years old, you’re running out of time to make your money in a sport that considers a 35-year-old to be a major liability.

Not to mention, you make your money in soccer by being a hustle player. You work harder and put more minutes on your legs than almost anyone else on the team. So how long can you keep going? And what do you think the LA Galaxy owe you?

Regular Season Stats For: Marcelo Sarvas (2012-2014)
Games Played88
Minutes Played7,066
Avg Minutes Per Game80.30

If You’re the LA Galaxy:

From the Club’s perspective, in order to pay Marcelo Sarvas the money he wants, which is probably near the $300-$350,000 mark, you either need to invest an additional $100,000 in an aging player for another year to two years, or you have to trade him now. Because if you wait until his contract is up next year, you’ll get less for him than right now. Plus, everyone just saw how outstanding┬áSarvas was in the MLS Cup and playoffs and there are several teams that would want his services – you sell high.

Montreal has the number one allocation spot (Update: Montreal may’ve traded allocation spots with TFC for their acquisition of Jozy Altidore. San Jose holds the next spot). So would Montreal or San Jose be interested in Marcelo Sarvas for a year? Would they be willing to trade? Especially if the LA Galaxy have their sights set on Sacha Kljestan (Goal.com).

The other thing you have to take into account if you’re the LA Galaxy is that you have international star, Steven Gerrard, coming to the LA Galaxy in July. And that could mean limited minutes for Sarvas and/or Juninho. The center of the field becomes crowded unless you move Sarvas out wide. Probably not his best position.

The End?

Basically Sarvas wants paid (that’s my take on it). And if he wants $300,000 or more, is it worth it to the LA Galaxy to tie up their allocation money in keeping Juninho and Sarvas together? Or can you make a move now, that sees you trade a 33 year old in Sarvas for a 29 year old in Kljestan? And where does Bruce see either of these players starting when Steven Gerrard joins the team.

When you add up a raise-deserving Marcelo Sarvas and Bruce Arena’s ability to pull off big moves, doesn’t that almost add up to a trade happening? Marcelo wants a chance to make more money and Bruce wants to replace an aging asset for a younger one.

There are lots of questions and very few answers. But Bruce Arena is not afraid to change things up. He’s the man who sent Mike Magee to the Chicago Fire for the rights to Robbie Rogers. And that move, while wildly unsuccessful in it’s first season, was pivotal in the LA Galaxy winning MLS Cup in 2014. Just as pivotal as Marcelo Sarvas.