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MLS 195 2341 2013 MLS Salaries 31738357 2013 MLS salaries 2013+MLS+salaries MLS

Today was a good day for Major League Soccer nerds, as the Players Union released player salaries. The MLSPU does this every now and then without warning or reason, possibly to shame the clubs and league with what remain pitiful salaries for professional athletes. (Do keep in mind that accounting trickery can distort some of these figures either up or down through bonuses and transfer fees being included into salary.) Nonetheless, here are the ten most egregiously over- and under-paid players in MLS in terms of their guaranteed compensation – relative to the overall standard of salaries, of course.

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MLS 195 2341 2013 MLS Salaries 31741326 Underpaid: Rafael Baca, Earthquakes, $49k Underpaid%3A+Rafael+Baca%2C+Earthquakes%2C+%2449k MLS

After going totally undrafted in 2011, Baca was snapped up by the ‘Quakes mid-way through the season and immediately won a starting job. He’s been one of MLS’s most consistent contributors in midfield ever since. But his salary is a bit of an abomination. Even for a club that got away with keeping Chris Wondolowski under the Designated Player threshold until this season and giving Victor Bernardez just $100k per year.

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MLS 195 2341 2013 MLS Salaries 31737595 Underpaid: Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake, $60k Underpaid%3A+Joao+Plata%2C+Real+Salt+Lake%2C+%2460k MLS

After a breakout rookie season in 2011, Toronto FC bought him outright from LDU Quito for $500k, only to ship him to RSL for a second-round pick a year later. At RSL, the tantalizing little winger shares the league-lead in assists with four.

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MLS 195 2341 2013 MLS Salaries 31741323 Underpaid: NY Red Bulls goalkeepers Underpaid%3A+NY+Red+Bulls+goalkeepers MLS

No club has as many bargains at a single position as the Red Bulls do in goal. Ryan Meara, Luis Robles and Kevin Hartman, all three of whom have the potential to or have already been Goalkeeper of the Year, are paid $66k, $77k and $54k, respectively. A bit scandalous, really.

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MLS 195 2341 2013 MLS Salaries 31741322 Underpaid: Mike Magee, LA Galaxy, $191k Underpaid%3A+Mike+Magee%2C+LA+Galaxy%2C+%24191k MLS

Galaxy mastermind Bruce Arena is famous for extracting maximum value from MLS’s puny salary cap. Case in point: Magee, who has been a key player for the Galaxy for the last couple of years but isn’t anywhere near the top of the pay scale. He currently leads the league in scoring with 6 goals, tied with Jack McInerney and Claudio Bieler. Still, his pay isn’t so poor as top prospect Jose Villareal, who earns $48k, but isn’t Omar Gonzalez’s $282k either – and even he is very much underpaid.

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MLS 195 2341 2013 MLS Salaries 31741321 Underpaid: Oscar Boniek Garcia, Dynamo, $161k Underpaid%3A+Oscar+Boniek+Garcia%2C+Dynamo%2C+%24161k MLS

Since joining half-way through last season, the Honduran has emerged as one of MLS’s very best players. He’s a proper international, and as such ought to be paid the same as his counterpart on the other wing, Brad Davis, who gets $372k.

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MLS 195 2341 2013 MLS Salaries 31737586 Overpaid: Richard Eckersley, Toronto, $310k Overpaid%3A+Richard+Eckersley%2C+Toronto%2C+%24310k MLS

Eckersley isn’t a bad player, nor is he alone in being grossly overpaid by chronic bottom-feeders Toronto. But if he was ever going to make six figures, the first one should never be a three. Or even a two.

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MLS 195 2341 2013 MLS Salaries 31738356 Overpaid: Lionard Pajoy, DC United, $205k Overpaid%3A+Lionard+Pajoy%2C+DC+United%2C+%24205k MLS

A ruiner of chances, tormentor of his own team, and endangerer of fans sitting anywhere but right behind the goal, Pajoy has missed so many sitters that it’s a small wonder United don’t expect him to pay dues to the club, rather than drawing a salary.

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MLS 195 2341 2013 MLS Salaries 31738369 Overpaid: Shalrie Joseph, Sounders, $600k Overpaid%3A+Shalrie+Joseph%2C+Sounders%2C+%24600k MLS

The serial victim of pot-related suspensions was once one of the league’s great midfielders. He hasn’t been that in some time. Yet at 34, having played just 164 minutes all season, he’s still getting Designated Player money, becoming of the player he no longer is.

Chris Young - Action Images/Reuters
MLS 195 2341 2013 MLS Salaries 31738355 Overpaid: Danny Mwanga, Colorado Rapids, $171k Overpaid%3A+Danny+Mwanga%2C+Colorado+Rapids%2C+%24171k MLS

Drafted first overall in 2010, the Congolese-born Mwanga, whose rags-to-riches back story is heart-rending, is nevertheless a big bust. When he was drafted, he spoke of wanting to leave for France within two years. But with three goals since the start of 2012, he is grossly overpaid even by MLS’s standards.

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MLS 195 2341 2013 MLS Salaries 31738358 Overpaid: Digao, NY Red Bulls, $200k Overpaid%3A+Digao%2C+NY+Red+Bulls%2C+%24200k MLS

The 27 year-old defender has yet to appear in an MLS game since joining the Red Bulls last season. The salary Real Madrid and Brazil star Kaka’s younger brother is pulling down is so ludicrously out of whack with his performance – or total lack thereof – that many see his sweetheart deal as an attempt by the league to curry favor with his much better sibling.

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