Twice a year the MLS Players Union releases salary information for every player under contract. For hardcore MLS fans, these two days are like mini-Christmases.
Today was one of those days.
The salary information gives a glimpse into how teams are put together under the league's salary cap restrictions. The numbers are far from perfect, with performance bonuses not included, but do provide a general idea of how players compare to each other in terms of pay.
For starters, there's the broad league-wide numbers:
Average MLS salary: $316,768.32 (up $24,834.97 from the last data set)— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) May 19, 2016
Median MLS salary: $117,250.00 (up $5,250.00 from the last data set)
There are 23 players in MLS making over $1 million, according to the MLSPU, and 13 of them are forwards. The Chicago Fire have one player on this list: Gilberto ($1,145,000).
These numbers can show how certain teams operate. For example, New York City FC has three of the top seven earners in the league. Meanwhile, city namesake New York Red Bulls are one of five teams in the league without a player making more than $1 million this season.
The Fire come in at 17th in total payroll, at least in terms of guaranteed compensation according to the MLSPU numbers, at just over $5.6 million.
That comes with a very big asterisk because that does not include Michael de Leeuw, whose contract is not yet included. The Fire announced they used Targeted Allocation Money to help buy down de Leeuw's contract and former FC Groningen teammate Johan Kappelhof is listed at $520,000 so it's probably safe to say de Leeuw is coming in over $400,000, and possibly significantly over that number. Throw in an extra $400,000 onto the Fire's payroll and they jump five spots to 12th.
Below is the listed Fire guaranteed compensation.
Speaking of Kappelhof, the Dutch center back is the eighth highest paid defender in the league. Gilberto is the 11th highest paid forward, followed by Kennedy Igboananike (14th) and David Accam (16th).
Sean Johnson comes in at No. 7 in the goalkeeper rankings, which include Tim Howard before he debuts for Colorado in July. Johnson made his first appearance of the season in Wednesday's loss at the New York Red Bulls. Matt Lampson, who started each match before Wednesday, makes less than a third of what Johnson does.