Below are the total salaries of all MLS teams with and without the "discount" cap for the 2008 season with the first DP player counting for $400K and the second $350K regardless of how much they cost the team/league.
A few things stand out: first, the league has allowed for some of the teams to overstep the $2.3M salary cap limit. Not by much, but they certainly made exceptions for teams who needed extra players because of injuries and, in the case of the LA Galaxy, needed new players because they were dropping in the standings dramatically--and everyone knows this wasn't good for the league.
I have no explanation for why DC United was allowed to stepover the salary cap by nearly $500K. Perhaps there is something in the "agreements" with the players and the league I'm just not aware of--but clearly, their total salary figures, even with the DP "discounts" clearly are over the $2.3 limit.
A number of teams were significantly below the limit. While KC and NY both used the DP clause with Angel and Lopez, they still remained below the cap by 300K and 200K respectively. Perhaps KC could have used the extra $300k to buy themselves a defense and a couple decent midfielders.
New England, Real Salt Lake, and Chivas did everything on the cheap: staying below the cap by $100K or more and skipping the DP spot altogether. Regardless, they all made the playoffs (not necessarily the greatest achievement in a league where nearly 50% of the teams make the playoffs). Who knows what one more decent player might have done to put any of these teams "over the edge."
The biggest noticable difference is between the LA Galaxy and the rest of the league in the total salary--almost $3M more spent than anyone else (and it didn't make one bit of difference).
Other things not noticable below in the MLS Players Union report, but very interesting: 42 players made $17,700 and 112 players made $12,900 salary which explains why so many players would rather play in the USL rather than earn their dollars working their way up the ladder in the MLS. The average salary of an MLS player is $108,398, which brings one to the understanding that many of the foriegn players who come to the MLS to play just enjoy the idea of living and being in the United States. The allure of the country itself is probably still the MLSs biggest "plus" as the wages certainly would count as its biggest "minus."
Lastly, the difference between the top 15% and the bottom 15% of players is significant. For example, Chicago's top 15% players average $754,828 each, while the bottom averages $12,900. This bigtime difference doesn't shift much from team to team.
Well, here are the numbers for your pleasure:
Team/ Total SalaryWith DP(s) / With DP "Discount"Cap / Room Left
LA Galaxy $ 7,969,804.00 $ 2,319,604.00 $ -
Chicago $ 4,382,546.00 $ 2,290,230.00 $ 9,770.00
DC United $ 4,335,770.00 $ 2,865,770.00 $ -
Red Bull NJ $ 3,190,516.00 $ 2,090,516.00 $ 209,484.00
San Jose $ 2,401,587.00 $ 2,401,587.00 $ -
Houston $ 2,386,656.00 $ 2,386,656.00 $ -
Toronto FC $ 2,354,874.00 $ 2,354,874.00 $ -
Kansas City $ 2,314,178.00 $ 1,994,178.00 $ 305,822.00
FC Dallas $ 2,307,550.00 $ 2,307,550.00 $ -
Colorado $ 2,307,550.00 $ 2,307,550.00 $ -
Chivas USA $ 2,189,448.00 $ 2,189,448.00 $ 110,552.00
Real Salt Lake $ 2,173,590.00 $ 2,173,590.00 $ 126,410.00
New England $ 2,090,045.00 $ 2,090,045.00 $ 209,955.00
Columbus $ 2,088,180.00 $ 2,088,180.00 $ 211,820.00