Top Stories

SBI MLS All-Bargain Best XI

ClintIrwin2 (MLSSoccer)


In a league where salary cap is king, finding bargains is key to survival and success.

Whether you are a team who spreads the wealth relatively evenly across your starting lineup, or a team that has some high-priced stars to go with less expensive options at other positions.

When the 2013 MLS salaries were released by the player’s union on Monday, there were clearly some bargains that stood out, as well as some over-priced players who are looking like anchors weighing down their teams’ salary caps (we will take a closer look at those players on Wednesday).

We have put together a Best XI of to bargains throughout the league, with the threshold being that their salaries could not be more than $100,000 in guaranteed compensation (that’s base salary and bonuses).

A word of warning. The compensation figures listed by the player’s union aren’t likely to include things like potential transfer fees paid and other compensation. Our list is going strictly off the figures provided by the MLS Players Union.

Now, here is the SBI MLS All-Bargain Best XI:

2013 SBI MLS All-Bargain Best XI

——————-Adam Jahn————–Joao Plata———————-


———————————Dillon Powers——————————–


Jose Villarreal————————————————-Lee Nguyen


———————————Michel Pereira———————————


Seth Sinovic—-Matt HedgesVictor BernardezSteve Beitashour


———————————–-Clint Irwin———————————–



C.J. Sapong ($92,000), Jose Goncalves ($75,000), Martin Rivero ($75,000), Fabian Castillo ($66,250), Chris Klute($46,500), Greg Cochrane ($35,125), Brandon Barklage ($71,428), DeAndre Yedlin ($53,500), Josh Williams ($52,000), Rafael Baca ($49,500), Jonathan Osorio ($46,500), Joe Bendik ($46,500).


Some thoughts:

Rookies making small salaries are nothing new, but this year we have seen some late draft picks step up. Adam Jahn had been a revelation at forward, where true bargains are very scarce around the league. DeAndre Yedlin’s salary figure looks low for such a high-profile prospect, but it is unclear just how much compensation he receives from adidas. The same question can be asked about Villareal.

Josh Williams was inadvertently left the the initial list. He was a first teamer initially but Beitashour edged him out. Both are outstanding values.

Clint Irwin can make a striking case for best bargain to date. He’s on minimum salary and excelling at a normally high-paying position.

What do you think of the squad? Who do you consider the best bargain on the team? Who didn’t make the cut that you feel should have?

Share your thoughts below.





  1. Warren Creavalle at $45K for Houston. Played in 6 of 9 games and will see substantial time as utility depth this year, 2 goals. I don’t care for Kinnear using him as a RM because it becomes a Klinsmann-worthy defensive midfield without attacking options, but he’s kind of Cameron-esque in the sense that he can play all over the place, RM, CDM, LB, RB. I personally would like to see him replace Ashe as a wingback because he is better at defense, skill, and composure.

  2. Colorado Rapids with 2 in the starting XI and two honorable mentions. Not bad for a small market team that’s starting to play well and prove its depth.

  3. I thought Peguy Luyindula at 80K deserved an honorable mention.
    Joao Plata at 60K is insanely great proven value.

    • I’ve been a fan of Plata since his combine. I always felt like that was more on Toronto. Might make me want to go back to Ecuador too.

  4. Big Vic and Beita are steals at that money…have to believe Beita is on the last year of his initial contract.

    • And I’d like to fart hundred dollar bills, but that’s not going to happen. DP is having a great rookie season but he’s well back on the depth chart. A player like Dax McCarty is far superior to DP at this point and I would doubt he would make the Gold Cup. It’s a loaded position for USMNT.

  5. Jeb Brovsky (LB/RB), $80,000, played every single minute of every single game for Montreal this season (including the Canadian Championship).

    • The weird thing is Barnes makes more than Boniek, which I find amusing because that deal would have been made before this season.

  6. I know he makes a lot more than 100k, but Javier Morales is a huge bargain at 300k. The man took a 125k salary cut so he could play for RSL this season. Most teams would easily pay him 500k. He’s a great guy, a loyal teammate, and an amazing player.

      • Nice! Shalrie’s got to be on there, right? I wonder which of these best bargain guys will wind up being on the worst list in a few years once they get their big deals and hit a wall.

      • Kenny Miller & Sherjill MacDonald are the captains of this team…plus Bakary Soumare, the $350k back-up CB.

        On another note, why is Fabian Castillo’s salary $66k yet he’s a DP. Why do some of the DP’s have salaries of less than $350k in the report that was released yesterday? Do the salaries not reflect allocation $ that was used to buy them down?

      • I guess the answer is that the transfer fee is added to the salary when analyzing whether the pay exceeds $350k…nevermind!

  7. I wonder what Stanford boy Jahn could make not playing soccer? Or Tarheel Hedges or Irish Powers?

    Sometimes I wonder if Klinsmann gets “the call” to layoff these guys so MLS can continue underpaying them. We shall see when the Gold Cup roster is published May 25. These are all fantastic prospects for the USMNT.

    • lol Dillon Powers is not good enough to make the Gold Cup roster, and as much as I like Jahn and Hedges, they’re not ready yet either. That’s just crazy talk… but then your Klinsmann-MLS conspiracy is crazy talk to begin with. When guys like Zusi and Gonzalez are just getting called in to the national team it doesn’t take a conspiracy to keep Jahn/Hedges out. If they keep it up, they can test themselves against better competition at a January camp in a year or two.

      • I thought Powers was rookie of the year candidate with most media writers. I believe Ives mentioned Hedges as a call up prospect.

        As for ” the call “, give yourself a little credit for some sense of humor.

  8. Have to give it hands down to Jahn! He’s putting the ball in the back of the net as a rookie forward for a San Jose team that is looking that is failing to produce on all ends of the field. He might have to thank Lenhart for just giving him a shot at another bunch of minutes, let’s see what he can do!

    • For the few minutes he has been on the field, Adan Jahn looks very good, considering his inexperience . My bet is the other big guys that usually play up front foe the Quakes
      will not see much playing time in the future, especially with Marcus Tracy also being available. Go Quakes!

    • Saw Jahn play at Stanford. He worked his tail off and gave the defenders fits. It was all to no avail as he rarely saw the ball. It is hard to stand out at forward on a bad team. Granted, Stanford was loaded with talent, but (at the time) had no plan. I assume that is changing now.

  9. Biggest shock for me is Bernardez at $100K. He was THE key last year at San Jose. He’s almost worth DP wages to that club.

    • MLS wage system is incredibly messed up. I’d have to think GM’s and coaches absolutely dread salary release day in terms of locker room morale.

    • Yep- seems too low based on his first year’s contribution. While he hasn’t been as good this year (see Impact’s second goal from Saturday’s game) that’s a good price for a starting CB, but he can still drive you crazy with rash tackles when/where they’re not needed. Still better than Hernandez though.

  10. Yedlin is about 7 times better than Beitashour. The 7,000 dollar difference does not make up for the talent gap.

      • Love this line of reasoning. He only played 46 games between PDL and college (starting and playing 90 in every single one) last year, but he’ll definitely hit that rookie wall around game 25 right?

        You take a 26 year old Beitashour and I’ll take a 19 year old Yedlin. We can compare their USMNT caps by age 40.

      • Heh- I was referring to the mental toughness required of a professional as much as the long, physically demanding season. Teenagers tend to have meltdowns when things aren’t going their way. He’s got upside for sure though.

      • No, it’s the other one.

        Trying to remember how picking up a red card in some way diminishes his skillset/talent. Right, it doesn’t.

      • This list isn’t about upside/skillset/ raw talent. It’s about who are the best value players right now. Beitashour was an All Star last year and has already been called in to a full Nat camp. He is a much more proven commodity right now. This isn’t about who’s a better player in 2 years.

      • Since when did getting a red card mean that you aren’t a good player? Completely irrelevant.

      • I never said it didn’t make him a good player. I just asked a question. How many straight reds has Beita received in his MLS career?

        Certainly, one could make the point that a tendency to accummulate cards and not be able to play in games, leave your team down a man, etc., would be a knock against your salary value. I hadn’t made that point, but I guess I’m making it now.

      • Yedlin is 19 and made a rash challenge that got him a red. I’m not 100% sure but I dont even think Beita was playing in MLS at that age, when did he debut at like 22? Like I said below I get having Beita over Yedlin and agree with it 100% but knocking him for getting a red isn’t to fair really. Plus he got it in the 89th minute, hardly affected his team in that game although it will hurt the next couple.

    • I am as big a fan of Yedlin as anyone but this list is about right now. Yedlin still gets caught too far up the field and loses his mark a couple of times a game in the box. Obviously I think he’ll end up being a better player but putting Beitashour in over him right now makes perfect sense.

    • Exaggerate much? Saying “Yedlin has more upside than Beitashour” would make more sense than what you just said. Right now I don’t know a coach in MLS that would start Yedlin over Beitashour RIGHT NOW.

      • For sure hyperbole on my part. Still not sure I agree with your statement re MLS coaches though.

      • I think you’re getting carried away with Yedlin’s raw talent and shortchanging Beitashour because he’s not as flashy. The guy was an All Star last year. We all tend to get carried away with young, talented guys, but you have to give the proven guys their props. As talented as Yedlin is, he’s going to make a ton of mistakes while he’s developing.

  11. As a revs fan I’m shocked Nguyen makes so little. I guess he was sort of an unknown when they picked him up last year I guess…

    Ill go ahead and be a homer but Jose Goncalves is a good shout seeing as he’s been amazing this year and only makes like $75,000

    • I’d agree with this. Been their best defender all year. Soares is ATROCIOUS and leaves Goncalves playing both CB spots.

    • Nguyen wasn’t an unknown. Many had high hopes for him when he was in the Durch leagues. I thought he’d make more though. He’s worth every penny.

      Makes you again wonder why Vancouver let him go.

      • Nguyen started off as something of a phenom who couldn’t fit in at Indiana University. He moved on after his freshman (or sophomore?) year to the Netherlands. Indiana U. didn’t seem overly upset to lose him

        It seems like everywhere he has gone he has demonstrated obvious talent, but often other players seem to have a hard time finding themselves on the same page with him…or he with them.

        He seems to have been underwhelmed by earlier offers from MLS, leading him to choose Vietnamese soccer for a time.

        Anyway, I think that’s why he has been low-balled a bit in the past – the uncertainty of whether his talents could work well in whatever system a team is using.

      • I know people had knew of him I was just saying at the time he had just been cut by Vancouver and they probably didn’t know what to expect from him.

      • Nguyen wasn’t cut from Vancouver because he sucked or something… it was a combination of using a slur on Twitter and the Whitcaps making ridiculous personnel decisions over the last two years.

  12. Rookies shouldn’t be eligible for this list. Of course any successful rookie will be underpaid by a deal they signed when they were unproven.

    • Of course rookies should be on this list. Rookies in every pro sports league are going to be bargains and if you correctly and consistently draft well, you are a distinct leg up on your competition.

      • Yes, but there’s a different understanding of what a bargain is for a second contract guy than a first contract rookie. At the very least, rookies should be judged against other rookies as the numbers are skewed by GA and bigger numbers are looming for their teams.

    • Salary lags behind performance in all fields whether it be sports, academia, etc. This is for two reasons:

      1. It’s hard to stay motivated once you get paid.

      2. It’s the natural reversal of being underpaid when you are unproven.


Leave a Comment