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Portland Timbers 8th in Spending According to ESPN

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Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

According to a story published by ESPN.com this morning, the Portland Timbers are paying their players a combined $5.9 million, putting them solidly in the top half of MLS in spending, but still well behind franchises with big name international stars like the LA Galaxy or Seattle Sounders.

Soccer writer Peter Galindo extricated the salaries of each MLS team from ESPN's 333 team list and combined them here:

The ESPN story puts the Timbers at 8th in MLS in spending, just ahead of the Vancouver Whitecaps, whose payroll sits at $5.4 million.

Although the figures are reportedly for the start of the 2015 season for MLS teams, there are several inconsistencies. Of course, with MLS salary numbers it is always difficult to tell what is accurate and what is not.

The New York Red Bulls number of $13.5 million, for example, almost certainly includes the salaries of Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill, two players not with the side for the 2015 season. Although Bradley Wright-Phillips was made a designated player for 2015, his pay bump was likely not quite that high.

The Timbers number, meanwhile, is not consistent with the numbers regularly released by the MLS Players Union, which total up to a number significantly lower than what ESPN has on offer. Timbers owner Merritt Paulson has long contested the salary number released by the Union, saying that they do not accurately reflect the team's spending, a position that makes sense if ESPN's list is accurate when it comes to the Timbers.

Getting the most points for their money have to be FC Dallas, who reportedly are spending $4.8 million this year, and D.C. United, who have the second lowest payroll in the league at a reported $4.2 million. Both teams are on 21 points from eleven games and lead their respective conferences.

Toronto FC, meanwhile, lead the league in spending, reportedly paying their players a combined $20.5 million this year, but have only managed ten points from nine games played (which is actually enough to see them in 6th place in the East).

(H/T to "pdxsoccerdad" who got this up in the fanshots.)