The MLS Players Union has released the latest salary information for every player in the league, and perhaps more than ever it shows the disparity between the league's highest- and lowest-paid players and how little money can mean to team success within the league. Seattle's Clint Dempsey is the league's highest paid player with guaranteed compensation of $6,695,189 in 2014, but he's trailed closely by Toronto's two big offseason signings, Michael Bradley ($6.5 million) and Jermain Defoe ($6.18 million).
[Photos: Which sports league has the worst pay?]
With those two additions, Toronto now has the highest payroll in the league at $16.6 million, dwarfing that of current MLS Cup holder Sporting Kansas City ($3.7 million), which has the seventh-lowest payroll in the league — just behind Real Salt Lake, the club it beat on penalties in the 2013 MLS Cup final.
Only 12 players will make at least $1 million this season in a league in which the minimum salary is just $36,500. To show the disparity between those outliers to the league's salary cap and the majority of clubs that live within their modest means, ESPN put together a table that shows that the seven highest paid players make as much or more than entire teams.
While Toronto now has three players making more than $1 million each, no Sporting KC player has more than $400,000 in guaranteed compensation this year. Of course, in 2012 the LA Galaxy, who are second on this year's list, won their second straight MLS Cup with a pricy squad led by David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. So cheaper isn't always better. Nor does it sell as many shirts.
While the salary information makes for interesting reading for fans, former MLS player Herculez Gomez says it makes for some awkward moments in the dressing room.
So MLS salaries were published today. Never an easy day for anyone, very uncomfortable for all.. Low or high paid. #ElephantInRoom
— herculez gomez (@herculezg) April 10, 2014
If it helps, all of the league's players combined aren't making as much as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo put together.
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