The Best Possible MLS Team?
|Now that the salary info is out for 2008, as usual everyone's talking about who is underpaid and overpaid. I thought it would be fun to see what the best possible MLS team would look like, and I've done that below. Of course, I'm following all of the MLS rules: $2.3 million salary cap for the 18 senior roster players (supposedly, may actually be closer to 2.2), 10 developmental players and a max of 8 international players. I believe that the first column of salary numbers is what counts against the cap, btw. I also relied on MLSnet for the Generation Adidas statuses. Here's what I came up with:|
Players in italics are on the developmental roster and don't count against the cap.
Guzan is a bargain for possibly the league's top starting keeper. The backup keeper position is one where I definitely was going to have a minimum salary, especially when a GA keeper like Seitz doesn't count against the cap. Coundoul's a no-brainer pick for that position.
With this group, you could have a starting back four of Bornstein-Parkhurst-Boswell-Waibel. Boswell's another easy pick with his minimum salary, while McTavish is useful as a cheap player who can play multiple positions. I think the lack of a quality backup central defender is probably the biggest weakness on this roster, but I felt that the money was better spent elsewhere. Parke's decent though. The backup LB and RB are two more developmental roster guys, Wagner and Beltran.
This is where over half my money was spent, and I get a lineup of Joseph-Davis-Beckham-De Rosario. Beckham is a DP and only would count for 400k against the cap. Backups are minimum salary guys, while the developmental players have shown a lot of promise. No real backup for De Rosario, but you can't expect to have two great playmakers.
As a second DP, Angel would only count for 325k against the cap. I decided to go with Angel over Blanco for my second DP because I think the difference between Angel and Emilio or Twellman is greater than the difference between Blanco and De Rosario. DeRo's a proven winner in this league, as well. There was also the possibility of getting both of those two and taking Ralston instead of Beckham, but Becks is probably the most talented player in the league and I couldnt pass on him. On to the other forwards: Galindo is an obvious choice, while I picked Cristman over Scott Sealy. I don't think that the developmental forwards are as good as the defenders and midfielders, but I did end up selecting two of them. Kamara is the most obvious one, and then I'm left with inexperienced guys. Because of that I originally had only 5 forwards, but I decided that I had enough cover elsewhere and 5 is not very many for a full roster. So I dropped Quavas Kirk and put Nyarko on there instead.
I ended up with using $2,288,177.34 in salaries, leaving only a little more than $11,000 left over. As you can see, even when doing this you still end up with some untested guys on the end of the bench. My strategy was to pick the best few players in the league, and then fill in the rest of the roster with mostly bargains. So I have four guys over 300k mixed with six minimum salary players. In an exercise like this, the minimum salary guys are good enough to be above-average starters if there were injuries; you can't count on that in real life. I passed on a lot of young cheap talent like Maurice Edu or Sacha Kljestan because with the big names, their 75-100k salaries wouldn't fit. With 18 senior roster players, the average salary is around 127k. For every 300k player, you need to lower every other player's salary by over 10k. So after choosing the big four for my team, the rest had to average about 67k to fit under the cap.
Overall, I ended up using 5.30% of the cap on goalkeepers, 17.67% on defenders, 52.92% on midfielders, and 23.60% on forwards. The breakdown of the 28 players' teams is as follows: 6-HOU, 5-NE, 3-CHV, 3-NY, 2-CHI, 2-LA, 2-RSL, 1-CLB, 1-COL, 1-DAL, 1-DC, 1-SJ, and none from Kansas City or Toronto. Kind of surprising to have only one DC player, but they have a lot of newcomers who aren't sure things and older players who are injury prone. I only used 5/8 international slots (Beckham, Moffat, Nyassi, Angel, Nyarko), though six players do have green cards.