Fire

Boosted by Bastian Schweinsteiger's big salary, Fire rank fourth in MLS payroll

Boosted by Bastian Schweinsteiger's big salary, Fire rank fourth in MLS payroll

The Major League Soccer Players Union releases player salaries twice a year and it always makes for good statistics and headlines.

While the numbers the Players Union release aren't always perfectly accurate, for the most part it gives a good view of who makes what and what teams are spending big or not. Some players are listed lower than their actual salary for a variety of reasons, but teams stay quiet on this matter so this remains hazy.

It's also important to note that these salaries are not what the player costs against the cap. Transfer fees factor into a player's cap hit and are among the other costs that aren’t included in the salaries listed.

With that in mind, today the MLSPU dropped the salary numbers, dated April 15, 2017. Here are some of the interesting notes on the salaries:

  • The big news from a Chicago Fire standpoint is that Bastian Schweinsteiger's $5.4 million salary is seventh-highest in the league and is a big reason why the Fire moved from 20th to fourth in payroll since the last time the Players Union released salaries. By the time the numbers were released last September, the Fire had already shed designated players Gilberto and Kennedy Igboananike. Those two combined to make just over $2 million, which would have put the Fire just outside the top 10 in the league rankings.


  • Schweinsteiger makes more than the listed payrolls of four teams (Minnesota, D.C., Montreal and Houston). Montreal was the biggest drop in payroll in terms of rank (eighth to 21st) with Didier Drogba ($2,116,667) coming off the books. The LA Galaxy shed the most amount of money from a year ago, just over $6 million, with Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard coming off the books.
  • Schweinsteiger is the fourth-highest paid midfielder.

Jorge Bava ($267,133) is sixth-highest paid among goalkeepers. Last year's Fire starter, Sean Johnson ($220,008), is ninth.

Nemanja Nikolic ($1,906,333) is the seventh-highest paid forward. David Accam ($820,937.50) is 15th and Michael de Leeuw ($564,212.50) is 25th.

Johan Kappelhof ($570,000) is ninth among defenders.

  • Among returning Fire players, Luis Solignac has the biggest listed raise. He had his option declined by the Fire in the offseason, but still re-signed, implying that the option was for more than what he ended up signing for. Solignac's listed guaranteed compensation went from $85,000 to $328,312.
  • The next biggest percentage raise is Jonathan Campbell, who went from $78,125 as a rookie to $109,875 this year. This is a bit ironic considering Campbell has already been on the bench more this season than in all of 2016, when he led the team in minutes played.
  • Homegrown player Djordje Mihailovic is the highest-paid among the rookies, coming in at $80,000.

Here are the players listed as making $2 million or more:

Kaka (Orlando): $7,167,500.00

Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto): $7,115,555.67

Michael Bradley (Toronto): $6,500,000.00

Andrea Pirlo (NYCFC): $5,915,690.00

David Villa (NYCFC): $5,610,000.00

Gio Dos Santos (LA): $5,500,000.00

Bastian Schweinsteiger (Fire): $5,400,000.00

Jozy Altidore (Toronto): $4,875,000.00

Clint Dempsey (Seattle): $3,892,933.50

Diego Valeri (Portland): $2,607,500.00

Tim Howard (Colorado): $2,475,000.00

Miguel Almiron (Atlanta): $2,297,000.00

Maxi Moralez (NYCFC): $2,000,000.04

For more number nerdiness, Jonathan Tannenwald has some league-wide numbers and charts at Philly.com. He has the MLS average salary at $326,319.23 and the median salary at $135,002.

Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai

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USA TODAY

Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai

The Fire have secured the transfer of midfielder Aleksandar Katai from Deportivo Alavés of the Spanish La Liga, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

This season’s breakout playmaker has been signed with Chicago through 2019, with a 2020 club option. Before the transfer, Katai was on loan from Alavés, which was set to expire after July.

The Serbian player has emerged as one of the most important pieces of the Fire’s offense this season. Since joining the club on Feb. 6, Katai has scored eight goals in 18 league matches, tying forward Nemanja Nikolić for the most on the team. Katai also has three assists in 2018.

The 27-year-old’s biggest game of the year came against New York City FC last month when he scored two goals to lead the Fire to 3-2 victory. His production this season in the MLS has been much more significant than it was in 23 matches with Alavés, where Katai only tallied three goals and four assists.

His transfer fee is unknown but, according to Sam Stejskal of MLSsoccer.com, he will be a “Targeted Allocation Money player” for the rest of this season and will not be a Designated Player until 2019. Whatever the official price was, acquiring Katai for a lengthier amount of time seemed like a must.

Throughout this season, the Fire were rumored to be in talks with legendary Spanish striker Fernando Torres. On Tuesday, he signed with Sagan Tosu, a Japanese club. The Fire signed Katai the next day, showing that the team was possibly waiting for Torres to leave the market.

Chicago will face the Philadelphia Union Wednesday night at Toyota Park, where Katai will look to continue his impressive season.

Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof involved in car crash on Thursday morning

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USA TODAY

Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof involved in car crash on Thursday morning

Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof was involved in a car accident on his way to practice Thursday morning that sent him to the hospital with minor injuries.

According to authorities and the Secretary of State’s Office, a box truck crashed into the Dutch player’s 2013 Volkswagen and another vehicle in the 5900 block of South Harlem. Kappelhof’s vehicle rolled over and two people fled from the scene.

The driver ran on foot and the passenger moved into the driver’s seat before driving the truck onto the Stevenson Expressway after the crash, officials said. After the damaged vehicle broke down, police say the same passenger tried to jump into the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Both were taken into custody.

Team officials said Kappelhof was treated and released from the hospital without indicators of a concussion. The 27-year-old was reportedly seen at Toyota Park after the crash and did not have any serious injuries. The other driver who was hit by the box truck was also treated, police said.

This season in league play with the Fire, Kappelhof has three assists in 16 games. The international product was a 2017 MLS All-Star and the Defensive Player of the Year for the Fire last season. He was signed in 2016 and has made one MLS Cup Playoffs appearance.