On Tuesday, the Major League Soccer Players’ Association released its first round of player salary data and fans got a first look at the Colorado Rapids’ 2023 budget.
The salary guide, which released information for every player in MLS, is an annual date many look forward to because it points to how rosters were built. In the case of Colorado, one common theme stood out: Spend wisely on young players.
Colorado spent $13,106,961 on its budget, however, after a team official Tuesday clarified caveats* regarding three players, the budget is roughly $11,705,180, which would drop the team’s spending from 20th to 26th across the 29 clubs in MLS.
Here are other takeaways from the PA data, which are based on guaranteed compensation, or a player’s base salary, signing and guaranteed bonuses which are annualized over the course of a season.
• The Rapids acquired eight new players from the start of the offseason until the primary trade window closed last month. In total, the team spent $3,689,294 on those players, or 31.47% of the team’s budget. However, across all competitions (14 games), the eight players have totaled 23.2% of all available minutes.
• Living up to their respective salaries thus far have been Designated Player signing and new center back Andreas Maxsø, who has played in 89% of all possible minutes, and midfielder Connor Ronan, another new player who came from Wolverhampton in the Premier League and has appeared in 84% of his possible minutes. Designated Player Kévin Cabral, who has the highest salary on the team at $1.8 million — or 7.7% of the team’s budget strictly on what Colorado pays him^ — has seen the field in just 32% of all possible match minutes.
• Of all the players on the team, defender Lalas Abubakar had the highest pay raise from $272,125 in guaranteed compensation in 2022 to $702,125 in 2023 — a 157% increase.
Also of note, Colorado spent $1,036,448 on its seven Homegrown Players with Cole Bassett earning by far the most ($450,000), while Darren Yapi is still at $96,277 and will compete at the U-20 World Cup for the U.S. starting on Saturday. Fellow forward Diego Rubio earned a pay bump to $704,667 after he tied the club record for single-season goals in 2022. His contract will be up for renewal at the end of this season. Lastly, the team will be on the hook for Max Alves’ salary of $313,360, regardless of how the investigation into his involvement in an alleged match-manipulation scandal concludes.
Fraser, players fined for mass confrontation
MLS’ Discipline Committee released the findings on Tuesday after a historic nine red-card matchday Saturday. Colorado was involved in a late melee in a 2-1 loss against the Philadelphia Union.
Midfielder Braian Galván was suspended one game for a red card and fined an undisclosed amount for not leaving the field in a timely manner. Colorado violated a mass confrontation policy for the second time this season, and both the organization and head coach Robin Fraser were fined an undisclosed amount.
Finally, a pair of Philadelphia players as well as Rapids’ goalkeeper William Yarbrough, midfielder Bryan Acosta and Rubio were all fined for “inciting and/or escalating a mass confrontation”.
Hanya called up
Short a midfielder, Colorado called up Rapids 2 midfielder Yosuke Hanya for the second time in as many games. Hanya has seven goals and two assists for R2 this season.
“We needed to add a midfielder and Yosuke has certainly earned the opportunity,” Fraser said last weekend. “It speaks more to what he’s been doing behind the scenes … He’s been solid and consistent since the beginning of the year. Yosuke was the first name we thought of.”
Footnotes: *The Columbus Crew are paying the entire $368,880 salary of Gustavo Vallecilla while he is on a one-year loan; Colorado paid Seattle $92,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money while Danny Leyva is on loan and his reduced salary is $132,900. ^Half of Kevin Cabral’s $1.8 million salary is being paid for by his old club, LA Galaxy. Without that, it would have taken up roughly 15.5% of the team’s budget.
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