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Timbers payroll sixth highest in MLS according to Players Union data

A look at the Timbers salary data from the MLS Player’s Union

MLS: Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Lucas Melano: Still on the books!
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Figures released by the MLS Players Union (MLSPU) show the Portland Timbers have the sixth biggest payroll in Major League Soccer, ranked by total compensation. This comes from the MLSPU’s annual spring release of player data. Culled from surveys sent to players, the data haul is infamous for its unreliability, but it’s all we have. Regardless of that disclaimer, demand was enough to crash the union’s server.

The Timbers payroll of $12.5m places them ahead of Atlanta United ($11.3m) and Seattle ($11.4m), but behind LAFC, the Chicago Fire, New York FC, the LA Galaxy, and league spending leaders Toronto FC. The Canadian club reported payroll upwards of $26 million. For perspective, the entire Vancouver Whitecaps roster is less than the $8.5 million that separates Toronto from the runner-up LA Galaxy. All of which makes Houston’s $5 million wage bill seem absolutely infinitesimal.

Team Total Salary
Toronto FC $26,167,498.70
LA Galaxy $17,502,008.30
New York City FC $14,147,632.75
Chicago Fire $13,824,204.42
LAFC $13,432,052.70
Portland Timbers $12,516,334.70
Montreal Impact $11,888,540.59
Seattle Sounders FC $11,376,125.37
Atlanta United $11,306,330.49
Colorado Rapids $11,001,331.46
FC Dallas $9,333,819.28

Some quick takeaways:

  • Of that $12.5m, $5,688,341.33 is designated to Diego Valeri, Fanendo Adi, and Sebastian Blanco. The three designated players plus four players on TAM contracts account for $8,362,007.99 of the payroll.
  • Of the remaining Timbers, Alvas Powell’s wallet got a lot heavier. From when the Player’s Union released salaries in September 2017 to Thursday, Powell’s total compensation nearly doubled; going from $123,700.00 to $241,625.00.
  • This is a fraction when compared to Lucas Melano. While 25-year-old remains on loan, he is still on the Timbers books, earning $1,050,000 and maintaining his cap-hold despite not making an appearance with the first team since October of 2016.
  • The team’s best bargain may very well be goalkeeper Jeff Attinella with a total compensation package of $123,999.96. With clean sheets in all three of his starts, Attinella looks to have secured the starting keeper job.
  • The data might provide some details on how Giovanni Savarese plans to build the team. Samuel Armenteros is the top earner of the newer Timbers signings. The Timbers have put a premium on getting youth. As the salary figures of Christhian Paredes, Andy Polo, and Julio Cascante denote, it can be a costly endeavor.

Portland Timbers new player signings (Spring 2018)

Player Position 2018 Total Compensation
Player Position 2018 Total Compensation
Samuel Armenteros F $608,333.33
Cristhian Paredes M $283,500.00
Andy Polo F $150,000.00
Julio Cascante D $150,000.00
Eryk Williamson M $126,500.04
Andres Flores M $67,500.00
Foster Langsdorf F $54,500.04
Modou Jadama D $54,500.04
New Timbers Signings (Spring, 2018)

Like Portland, the league as a whole continues to grow and attract better (meaning: more expensive) talent. The median MLS team is now spending nearly $9.2 million in guaranteed compensation. Only three teams have just one Designated Player, though that list will be shortened to two with the imminent signing of Wayne Rooney by D.C. United.

Probably the best barometer for the league’s health: there are also now 138 players making more than the maximum salary budget charge (about $504,000 in 2018) and the median salary in the league is about $153,000.

Below is a table with returning players that compares the spring data with the values from last September. What do you think? Who is outperforming their contract? Who needs to prove it on the field?

Portland Timbers Returning Players Salaries, Spring 2018

Player Position 2017 Compensation 2018 Compensation Pct Change
Player Position 2017 Compensation 2018 Compensation Pct Change
Diego Valeri M $2,607,500.00 $2,380,000.00 -8.70%
Fanendo Adi F $1,736,254.00 $1,933,333.33 11.40%
Sebastian Blanco M $1,075,008.00 $1,375,008.00 27.90%
Lucas Melano F $1,010,000.00 $1,050,000.00 4.00%
Larrys Mabiala D $1,010,000.00 $793,333.33 -21.50%
Liam Ridgewell D $615,000.00 $700,000.00 13.80%
Diego Chara M $522,000.00 $572,000.00 9.60%
Vytas D $244,375.00 $271,875.00 11.30%
Alvas Powell D $123,700.00 $241,625.00 95.30%
David Guzman M $188,337.33 $239,999.96 27.40%
Jeremy Ebobisse F $173,000.00 $203,000.00 17.30%
Lawrence Olum M $157,500.00 $200,004.00 27.00%
Dairon Asprilla F-M $138,000.00 $193,750.00 40.40%
Roy Miller D $150,000.00 $150,000.00 0.00%
Zarek Valentin D $110,000.00 $130,000.00 18.20%
Jake Gleeson GK $115,166.67 $125,166.67 8.70%
Jeff Attinella GK $105,083.33 $123,999.96 18.00%
Bill Tuiloma D-M $64,254.00 $75,000.00 16.70%
Victor Arboleda F-M $65,000.04 $75,000.00 15.40%
Jack Barmby M $65,004.00 $68,256.00 5.00%
Marco Farfan D $53,000.00 $64,500.00 21.70%
Kendall McIntosh GK $53,000.00 $55,650.00 5.00%
Portland Timbers Roster