Friday, June 14, 2019

Crew Wages, Porter's First Man

The Major League Soccer Players Association released their annual player salary list this week. Here are a few tidbits and observations from Columbus, about Columbus.

Let's hit the HEADLINES:

The original release had him making about $2.3 million a year. Which was quite a jump from his $630k salary in 2018. It was so large a jump that The Athletic took notice and off it went on other social media channels. Well, low and behold, less than 24 hours later the MLSPA said that figure was incorrect (it is now $1.5m). Strange happenings seem to follow Zardes around (the poor touch video that USSF forced off youtube comes to mind). This is strange and bad. It blows yet another big hole in the credibility of these released figures.

No doubt the front offices here in Columbus are busy with just making sure the lights are on after the change in operations, but you can't overlook the player side of the team. On the inbound side human body acquisition we have (wage, % change from 2018):

Joe Bendik ($144k, -24%)
David Accam (%1.1m, -5%)
Waylon Francis ($200k, +2%)
David Guzman ($320k, +33%)
Robinho ($198k, --%)

Red was used to highlight a change down in pay for Bendik and Accam. In MLS this typically means "spare parts." Alarmingly, Bendik dropped quite a bit. What this tells us is that the Crew were just looking for decent MLS players, not inspired (scouted) selections.

[I can't remember if Robinho was scouted before Berhalter left, but he was basically brought in to fill an outside mid-fielder role on the team. He's kinda done that, but again, no diamond in the rough. He does seem to be growing into the role, individually speaking.]

Lastly, and most importantly, David Guzman. Oh hell, let's give this a headline point...

David Guzman! Porter knows him from his Portland days. Coaches, especially big ego guys, tend to want to fill the room with "their guys." In some ways, it shows weakness in that you want a bunch of yes-men agreeing to nod along with you when you give out orders. In others, it's okay. It greases the rails a bit in the locker room. Regardless, we know that Guzman is Porter's guy because he got a hefty raise by coming to Columbus. No easier way to make a man yours than by giving him money. You don't see this sort of thing overtly anymore. It's possible that Guzman got a raise before Porter snagged him, but doubt it.

Regardless, he's the first Porter man. The start of the future. Think about that for a few minutes. No Federico Higuain 2.0 or even a Kei Kamara. Just a grinder in the midfield. Should that be celebrated or not? Who's to say.


The Crew 2019 report brings Columbus out of the stone ages and into the industrial revolution. Their $10.4m annual wage bill is good for 14th. Which is fine, from a top line number. Middle of the pack. A good chunk of the increase from 2018 ($7.7m) comes from pay increases. In fact, 63% of the wage increase is from raises that the current operator/investors don't have a lot to do with.

Perhaps that's were the problems with this group are coming from. Either way, that's all I got.

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