Adams, Davies, Gressel & the MLS Bargain XI

Last updated
Comments()
A pair of teenagers and a trio of New York Red Bulls headline Goal's selections as the best values, based on salary, in Major League Soccer

Salaries in Major League Soccer continue to rise, and have seen a considerable spike since the infusion of targeted allocation money in the past two seasons. That has led to a near doubling of the number of million-dollar salaries in the league, and a sizable jump in the number of players making more than $500,000.

That doesn't mean there still aren't some super-sized bargains to be had. Players signed via homegrown player deals and those who enter the league via the MLS draft continue to give MLS teams a steady stream of bargains, several of which make up the squad chosen by Goal to be part of the MLS Bargain XI, the best values in the league.

Here is the 2018 MLS Bargain XI, with salaries based on guaranteed compensation as released by the MLS players union last week .

  1. Greg Bartram

    GK Alex Bono, Toronto FC, $102,200

    The 24-year-old goalkeeper is in the midst of his second full season as Toronto FC's starter and is continuing to show improvement, building on his MLS Cup-winning 2017 season. His exploits in TFC's CONCACAF Champions League run turned heads, and he has also broken into the U.S. national team picture. Still playing on his rookie contract, Bono should be securing a new contract soon, assuming he doesn't head to Europe via transfer.
  2. Anne-Marie Sorvin

    RB Julian Gressel, Atlanta United, $111,250

    A midfielder who has thrived this season since being moved into a right wing-back role, Gressel has carried over the success from his MLS Rookie of the Year award-winning 2017 into the 2018 season. He has been one of the key reasons Tata Martino has seen his team enjoy such success playing in a 3-5-2 formation. The 24-year-old German-born standout should be drawing attention from scouts and will have a strong case for a new contract this winter.
  3. Mark J. Rebilas

    CB Tim Parker, New York Red Bulls, $115,935

    How is Parker so underpaid? He's still playing on his original rookie contract, which expires at the end of this season. He is in line for a big payday this winter, either in Europe or in a new MLS deal. The Vancouver Whitecaps traded him rather than making him one of the league's highest-paid defenders. Since joining the Red Bulls, Parker has been outstanding and has helped his new team forge the best defense in club history.
  4. Mark J. Rebilas

    CB Aaron Long, New York Red Bulls $73,125

    A repeat selection on the MLS Bargain XI, Long has followed up his breakout 2017 season with a strong start to 2018. His skill on the ball, coupled with an improving defensive skill set, make him one of the league's most underrated defenders. It shouldn't be long before the 25-year-old central defender secures a new contract with the Red Bulls.
  5. Brad Penner

    LB Ben Sweat, New York City FC, $67,500

    A solid starter who took advantage of an injury to Ronald Matarrita to become a fixture in NYCFC's defense, Sweat successfully beat out the Costa Rican standout for the job this season and has been one of the better left-backs in the league. The former first-round pick had to go to the NASL to rejuvenate his career, and has been one of the more underrated signings of the Patrick Vieira era.
  6. Vincent Carchietta

    CM Tyler Adams, New York Red Bulls, $153,541

    After a breakout 2017 playing as a right wing-back, Adams has shifted into a more natural central midfield role and he's been dominant for the Red Bulls. The U.S. national team midfielder is still just 19, but is on the radar of clubs from top European leagues and is likely to make a transfer move before long.
  7. Jennifer Buchanan

    CM Cristian Roldan, Seattle Sounders, $191,000

    Another repeat selection on the Bargain XI, Roldan enjoyed an MLS Best XI-caliber season in 2017 and remains one of the best in the league. He is one of the key figures that has helped Seattle reach the past two MLS Cup finals, and should be in line for a significant raise once his contract expires this winter. 
  8. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    CM Diego Fagundez, New England Revolution, $190,000

    Lee Nguyen's decision to force his way out of New England has paved the way for Fagundez to take on more responsibility in the attack and he has thrived in the playmaker role. The 23-year-old has three goals and two assists and is a big reason why the Revs are thriving under new head coach Brad Friedel.
  9. Reinhold Matay

    RW Alphonso Davies, Vancouver Whitecaps, $72,500

    The 17-year-old Canadian sensation enjoyed a breakout 2017 for both club and country, and has made the expected transition into regular starter for the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2018. His one goal and three assists don't tell the full story of the impact he is making in the Whitecaps attack.
  10. Denny Medley

    LW Daniel Salloi, Sporting Kansas City, $81,625

    The Hungarian-born striker has settled into a starting role with current MLS leaders Sporting Kansas City and the 21-year-old has been very productive. Salloi has delivered three goals and four assists, showing an ability to pull off excellent finishes as well clever passing in the final third.
  11. Isaiah J. Downing

    ST Dominique Badji, Colorado Rapids, $168,750

    Another repeat selection on this team, Badji has continued the journey from late-round draft pick and longshot to consistent goal-scoring threat. He delivered a respectable nine goals in 2017, and has already served up five goals as one of the few bright spots for the 2018 Colorado Rapids. It's a testament to what a bargain he was two years ago that he secured a big raise and a new deal and is still one of the best values in the league.
  12. MLS Bargain XI

    The New York Red Bulls lead the MLS Bargain XI with three selections, while multiple players are repeat choices among the best values in the league.