Clint Dempsey highest paid in MLS
Seattle Sounders striker Clint Dempsey is the the highest-paid player in MLS at $6.695 million in guaranteed compensation this season, more money than the total player payrolls of 15 of the 19 MLS clubs.
Half of the 12 players who make at least $1 million play for Toronto FC or the Los Angeles Galaxy, according to figures released by the MLS Players Union on Thursday.
Toronto made a splash this offseason by bringing in U.S. national team midfielder Michael Bradley from Roma and England veteran Jermain Defoe from Tottenham Hotspur. The duo are the league's highest-paid players after Dempsey, with Bradley earning $6.5 million while Defoe pulls in $6.18 million.
They also share the highest base salary of $6 million each. Dempsey's base salary is $4.9 million, but his annualized signing and guaranteed bonuses put him over the top.
Toronto also added Brazilian striker Gilberto, who is set to make $1.2 million.
Toronto has the highest team guaranteed compensation at $16.65 million, more than $3.5 million more than the next team, Los Angeles. Chivas USA has the smallest team salary at $3.29 million. Thirteen clubs have team salaries under $4.7 million, while only New York, Toronto, Los Angeles and Seattle top $6.2 million.
Defending MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City are paying their players $3.73 million this season, 13th on the list.
Landon Donovan of the Los Angeles Galaxy is fourth in the league with a guaranteed $4.583 million, just ahead of teammate Robbie Keane's $4.5 million. The Galaxy also pay defender Omar Gonzalez $1.25 million.
New York Red Bulls teammates Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill are sixth and seventh, with Henry set to make $4.35 million while Cahill is due $3.625 million.
Montreal's Marco Di Vaio ($2.6 million), Seattle's Obafemi Martins ($1.753 million), and Vancouver's Pedro Morales ($1.411 million) round out the top 10.
MLS allows up to three designated players, whose signing doesn't count against the club’s $3.1 million 2014 cap. David Beckham became the MLS' first designated player in 2007.
Eddie Johnson, who left the Sounders after being paid just $156,333 last season, is receiving $613,333 this year as a designated player with D.C. United, the 18th-most in MLS.
Besides the three stars of Dempsey, Bradley and Donovan, the 17 other players on the U.S. national team squad who faced Mexico earlier this month earn an average of $374,795 from their clubs, with only 20-year-old DeAndre Yedlin and reserve goalkeeper Bill Hamid making under $185,000.
Eight clubs pay each of their players $500,000 or less, with Colorado's $325,000 to Edson Buddle the smallest amount going to the top player on a team.
The average total compensation of the 555 players listed is $207,831, while the average base salary is $186,258. The league minimum is $36,500.