Wednesday, December 19, 2012

MLS Rosters, Crew Smallest

The Columbus Crew are tied with Real Salt Lake with the least amount of players listed on their current rosters, 20.

I put a lot of weight into reducing roster turnover. The teams that are able to adapt to and retain within the restrictive and ever changing Major League Soccer rules will be rewarded with points.

I took a few minutes this evening to pull down the current team rosters of the 19 MLS teams from their official sites*.

31 : Seattle
31 : LA
28 : Houston
28 : Portland
28 : KC
27 : Colorado

Interrupting the list here to point out the above clubs - who are pretty much set. Interesting to see Portland and Colorado up there. Many teams start the year out at 28 roster players because of the allocation money reward for the last two open slots (MLS max roster size is 30). SEA, LA, HOU and KC will be playoff teams in 2013.

26 : Philadelphia
25 : San Jose
25 : Chicago
24 : Dallas
24 : Chivas
23 : New York
23 : New England
22 : Vancouver
22 : DC
22 : Montreal
21 : Toronto
20 : Real Salt Lake
20 : Columbus

The teams down at the bottom here have to be careful. One of the key predictors of success in MLS is returning league minute gainers from the previous year. The Crew are returning 18 right now, which is good compared to last year but near the bottom as things sit right now. Seems most of the other teams in the league have gotten that memo.

Below is what is salary estimate for each club based on last reported MLS Player's Union numbers and current unlisted signings. This should only be taken as a general indication of where a club is.

$ SALARY TO CAP (in millions) : TEAM

3.2 : Vancouver
3.2 : Portland
3.1 : New York
3.0 : Houston
2.9 : Toronto
2.9 : Seattle
2.8 : Colorado
2.7 : KC
2.7 : Philadelphia

2.5 : San Jose
2.5 : Montreal
2.4 : Chicago
2.4 : LA
2.2 : Real Salt Lake
2.2 : Columbus
2.0 : New England
1.7 : DC
1.6 : Dallas
1.6 : Chivas

Again, this is just high level estimates. I've only gone as far as to take the roster list currently available on and chop off the players 21-30 on the roster based on salary (below 47k). There are lots more push and pulls then that but with so much more activity in the coming weeks it will change day to day.

I've not included estimated pay increases, usually around 10% per club.


The Crew have cut too deep. They are always cutting. At some point they need to stop all the turnover and give themselves a chance to build some chemistry.

At this point, my advice would be to hunt down experienced talent. I know the Crew are inking deals with local kids but there is still space for weathered vets. I've written about some of the players in the USL but I also think bringing back players with MLS experience would greatly increase the club's fortunes next year and give them some space under the cap next year.

We'll see where the rest of this offseason goes. The Crew still have yet to fill 8-10 slots on the team.

Not sure where to even go with that.

*Official MLS team franchise pages seem to be updated frequently, but I expect there to be some error (as with anything). Where I could I matched up with fan pages and blogs, so I'm confident roster numbers are very close to right. You can find team pages in the top nav menu of

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