Written by Will Parchman


The fabled dance of the CBA negotiation found its way to MLS in earnest this offseason. The players are entrenching themselves along battle lines drawn up by previous players’ unions in other American sports – free agency, higher wages, more freedom. Meanwhile, the league continues to flaunt its lack of revenue as a bargaining chip. “How can we afford to raise the minimum wage when we aren’t making money?” the league intones with out-turned pockets. The waltz continues.

So salaries matter. Based on the most updated salary figures we have (released in Sept. 2014), I’ve put together a list of the most overvalued and undervalued players from each MLS team based on total guaranteed compensation in 2014. As you’ll see, these figures are in constant flux, but the league’s measured salary dumps make across-the-board analysis a bit easier. I’m omitting NYCFC and Orlando City for obvious reasons.

Note that I’ll only be including players currently on these rosters, not necessarily jettisoned players who were on the books for most of 2014. And we can update this as more updated figures become available (MLS doesn’t release them on a per-deal basis). So let’s have at it, shall we?

Chicago Fire

Harry Shipp ($95,000): The base floor of Shipp’s contract is $70K, which is a fantastic bit of business for a player of his quality. This is bound to fly up as Shipp renegotiates his contract with a near-ROY campaign crowning his CV, but for now the Fire can be happy with one of the buys of the year. Shipp’s quality only figures to increase, but his price tag for now makes him one of the best pickups of 2014.

Patrick Nyarko ($284,500): There may have been a time when the speedy Ghanian was worth this wad of cash, but it’s long passed. Nyarko only played 17 matches in 2014 due to injury, and a torn ACL and sprained MCL he suffered in October will keep him sidelined until at least April. When he comes back, will he be the same player, or even further diminished? This albatross of a contract certainly won’t reflect it.

Tags:  , , | 13 Comments
Written by Will Parchman


When Mix Diskerud was named to the 2014 U.S. World Cup roster, there was a general level of expectation that Jurgen Klinsmann expected him to be a creator off the bench. Not that Mix had ever shown that natural No. 10 propensity on the international level, but it felt right. He has the build of a No. 10. Some of his touches make him look like one. But he’s not. At least not on a national team level.

Despite the 10 jersey he was gifted for Brazil, Mix has never looked all that comfortable pulling the strings for the USMNT. He’s looked good in spurts – tidy, clean, industrious – but never really displayed the creative flair most expected. And given that the vast, sprawling mass of us haven’t seen much of anything from his days on the Norwegian club circuit, it’s more or less all we have to bank on.

Not for long. Mix is bringing his ungodly Yankees hat collection back to the source.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman


With the hourglass draining on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, news leaked that the Red Bulls had fired Mike Petke. The same Mike Petke who’d guided the Red Bulls to a Supporter’s Shield trophy in his first season – the club’s only trophy in 19 seasons of existence – and to the cusp of the MLS Cup in his second.

For a 30-19-19 record, this was his reward on Tuesday.

Tags:  , , | 4 Comments
Written by Will Parchman

Remember Roger Espinoza? One of MLS’s best defensive midfielders on his day, Espinoza was a rock wall for Sporting KC before Wigan snatched him up in 2013. But he was a Roberto Martinez signing, and when Martinez departed for Everton, Espinoza struggled to impress the new regime. And with Wigan dropped into the second tier, Espinoza started casting glances back toward his professional hometown.

Which meant a major windfall for SKC, which got back its star defensive midfielder this week in time for the 2015 season. The rich get richer.

This is big news for SKC, which filled Espinoza’s shoes with the excellent Oriol Rosell. When Rosell bounced for Sporting in June last year, SKC was never really the same. Unable to account for the mixture of distribution and steel Rosell provided (he was MLS’s closest approximation of Sergio Busquets for a time), SKC slid off the map over the second half of the season and went out meekly in the first round of the playoffs.

Enter Espinoza, who would’ve been an enormous signing merely for soccer reasons if not for the sentimentality attached to the name. And while he’s been relatively quiet in England, he hasn’t been totally dormant. SKC fans will look at this goal from November in wonderment as to what Espinoza will uncork on MLS during his anticipated second stint.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman


Frank Lampard is staying with Manchester City until the summer. Whatever that means for you, the decision brought an unfulfilling conclusion to a dizzying period in MLS’ new history. Come to find out, Lampard was never loaned to NYCFC at all. All of the fanfare around Lampard’s arrival, it seems, was a mite misplaced. Because he hadn’t really arrived at all. Not yet, anyway.

As not-so-subtle pretext, here’s Lampard’s actual contract designation from the jump, from Grant Wahl’s sit-down with Don Garber.

Tags:  , , | 4 Comments
Written by Will Parchman


Self-advertisement is a pesky thing, but it’s getting easier. Thanks to the internet, dressing up your experience, your washer & dryer unit, this one really sweet baseball card you need to offload because you’re a degenerate gambler, it’s not that big a deal.

But what about a professional soccer player, presumably one with millions of dollars, using LinkedIn to tell potential employers he’s ready for the soccer? Yes. You can do that too. Just take a cue from Demy de Zeeuw, who put this on the service earlier today.

Tags:  , , | 1 Comment
Written by Will Parchman


Imagine I’m a roofer.

I’ve had a good start to my career as a roofer, even if I’m a HOT RENEGADE. Sometimes I put tiles in bizarre places. Sometimes, in pricer neighborhoods, I’ll lay their delicate Ludowici clay tiles in perfect ornament on the front of the house and just say screw it to the back. Why does the guest bathroom need full coverage? Uncle Gary’s the only one that uses it. And Uncle Gary doesn’t have a job. I hate Uncle Gary. Uncle Gary doesn’t get Ludowici tile.

But my clients find this endearing about me, for some reason. Probably because I look like a roofer. I wear these sweet denim overalls I found in an alley. I have six different hammers. I use non-toxic tar as hair gel (note: it may be toxic). And so I recently got called up to the BIG SHOW: Orange County, California. So many pricey roofs. So little time.

This is where things kind of fell apart. I told this one woman I’d only roof over rooms that either had this certain shade of yellow once found in the courts of Mongolian Khans (I’m really into Marco Polo right now) or a giraffe in them. None of them had a giraffe or gunscream yellow. I walked off the site, but not before I flipped off the entire family. I think I taught their six-year-old something valuable about life that day.

Tags:  , , | 1 Comment
Written by Will Parchman


The 2011 New York Giants tilted the NFL on its axis. Ever since the institution of the salary cap in 1994, the league had always been defined by the shifting sands created by its parity. But the playoffs and a 16-game regular season had done a good job weeding out the riffraff. There might’ve been new and surprising Super Bowl champs on occasion, but the trophy ceremony always made sense. Parity with purpose, or so it seemed.

The Giants changed the paradigm in 2011. They were exceedingly mediocre throughout the regular season, and they made the playoffs despite a 6-6 record with four games left. They squeaked into the postseason mixer with a 9-7 mark and ended up winning the whole thing. It remains one of the feats of modern sports.

But it also raises a good question. Purely in terms of wins and losses, the Giants are the “worst” Super Bowl winner in history. Which means there’s never been a Super Bowl winner that finished the regular season at .500, let alone with a losing record. Even the league that flaunts its parity above all other leagues, arguably the first in the world to hammer that nail with this kind of consistency and hard cap restriction, hasn’t been that much of a blender.

What about MLS?

Tags:  , , | 2 Comments
Written by Will Parchman


Kaka’s entry to MLS was met with trumpets and heraldry of the highest order in Central Florida. In fact, the club grandly rolled out The Most Famous Selfie In Club History to tell us just how grandiose this whole thing was supposed to be.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Travis Clark

TommyThompsonSo USL Pro is the developmental wave of the immediate future.

That’s the message loud and clear from the past few months, as 12 franchises – seven which are owned and/or operated by MLS clubs – are set to join the league in 2015, serving as a feeder system to the parent teams.

As MLS tries to improve the playing opportunities and development curve for players between the ages of 18-22, team-run franchises are the immediate future, as Toronto, RSL, Montreal, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver will run teams in their own backyard with the aim in providing playing opportunities for those not logging MLS minutes.

But is it the right move? The system is in its infancy, as the USL Pro-MLS club affiliation idea was only put into place at the start of 2013. And outside of the LA Galaxy, which had its reserve team in USL Pro play this past season, it only entailed players spending time on loan at affiliated clubs, oftentimes a short (or lengthy) plane ride from their home club.

Below is a team-by-team look at appearances and time played by MLSers on loan to USL Pro clubs, and a few statistical conclusions to draw from the volume.

Tags:  , , , | 4 Comments