Major League Soccer’s Highest-Paid Player: LAFC’s Carlos Vela

Carlos Vela has the biggest wallet in Major League Soccer

The 32-year-old Mexican professional footballer, who captains MLS club Los Angeles FC (LAFC), is the league’s highest-paid player with a base guaranteed compensation of $6.3 million, according to salary data published by the MLS Players Association.

Carlos Vela 

Vela edged out Mexican compatriot and cross-town rival Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez of the LA Galaxy for the top spot. While Hernandez had a base salary of $6m compared to Vela’s $4.5m, the LAFC striker won out based on greater guaranteed bonuses, marketing bonuses and agent’s fees which are included in the calculations and annualized over the terms of a player’s contract, including option years.

Inter Miami CF‘s Gonzalo Higuain ($5.79m), Toronto FC‘s Alejandro Pozuelo ($4.69m), Atlanta United FC‘s Josef Martinez ($3.89m) and Toronto’s Jozy Altidore ($3.6m) rounded out the top six earners.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the salary report was the first to take place since September of 2019, with the data current as of the April 15 roster compliance date. The report is also the first since the two sides agreed on a series of Collective Bargaining Agreements with the latest revision taking place in February of this year.

The MLSPA stated that the average base salary for senior roster non-Designated Players has doubled over the last five years, and is currently $398,725. This figure doesn’t include players making the senior minimum ($81,375) or reserve minimum ($63,547) salaries.

The average guaranteed base compensation for the entire player pool is $423,232 up 2.72% from the September 2019 mark of $411,996. The median guaranteed base salary is $210,000. In a sign that the salaries of players at the bottom of the wage scale are improving, the league’s median guaranteed base compensation was $210,000, up 17% from the September 2019 mark of $179,498.

In terms of team payroll based on guaranteed base compensation, Inter Miami‘s is the highest at $17.8m followed by Toronto at $17m. The LA Galaxy ($16.8m), Atlanta United ($16.1m) and FC Cincinnati ($15.5m) completed the top five. The Vancouver Whitecaps had the lowest payroll at $8.7m followed by Austin FC ($9.1m), the Philadelphia Union ($9.3m), Houston Dynamo FC ($9.5m) and the Colorado Rapids ($10.1m).

LAFC’s Brian Rodriguez On Loan to UD Almeria

Brian Rodriguez is headed across the Atlantic…

The 20-year-old Uruguayan footballer, an LAFC winger and Uruguay international, is set to join Spanish second-division side UD Almeria on a loan, the clubs have announced.

Brian Rodriguez 

The deal will have Rodriguez stay through the conclusion of Almeria’s 2020-21 campaign in May and could become permanent.

“Brian is joining Almeria as they make a strong push for promotion to Spain’s top division,” said LAFC co-president and general manager John Thorrington. “Since his arrival in 2019, Brian has been a focal point of our attack and a huge reason for our success. This move gives him a great opportunity to play important games at the highest levels of European football.”

Rodriguez joined the Major League Soccer side in 2019 from Uruguay side Penarol. In his first two seasons in Los Angeles, Rodriguez scored three goals in 25 appearances.

He has three goals in nine appearances for Uruguay, appearing for La Celeste during their most recent CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying matches.

With 16 games remaining, Almería currently sits in third place in LaLiga 2 standings with a 14-3-5 record (45 points). At the conclusion of the season, the top two teams will earn automatic promotion to Spain’s top division, while a third team earns promotion from a playoff bracket between the teams that finish from 3rd to 6th.

Alejandro Pozuelo Named Major League Soccer’s 2020 Most Valuable Player

Alejandro Pozuelo is the most-est…

The 29-year-old Spanish professional footballer, an attacking midfielder for Toronto FC, has been named Major League Soccer‘s 2020 Most Valuable Player.

Alejandro Pozuelo

Pozuelo had nine goals and 10 assists during the coronavirus-shortened regular season, even while the Reds played part of the year in Connecticut because of travel restrictions in Canada.

“I’m very proud because this means a lot and maybe tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, when I start seeing more news, I will believe that I’ve won this award,” he said. “But I’m very proud to represent Toronto. And I know it’s easy to say that I won the award, but it’s something that takes a lot of work to get here.”

His 10 assists were tied for the league lead with Houston‘s Darwin Quintero and Seattle‘s Nicolas Lodeiro. Pozuelo had four goals and two assists during September, earning MLS Player of the Month honors.

Pozuelo is the second Toronto FC player to win the MVP award, following Sebastian Giovinco in 2015. Hailing from Sevilla, he has been with the Reds for the past two seasons. He had 12 goals and 12 assists last year. He had two goals and an assist in his MLS debut.

Pozuelo finished with 35.35% of the overall vote for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award. Golden Boot winner Diego Rossi of LAFC was runner-up and Lodeiro finished third in the poll of players, technical staffs and select members of the media.

In a conference call with reporters, Pozuelo said he feels he’ll only get better.

“I believe in myself, I know I can play good, and I try to do that,” he said. “But I feel like I played three, four, five years at a very good level and next year I’ll try to do the same.”

Toronto finished the regular season 13-5-5 and second in the Eastern Conference standings. The Reds were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by upstart Nashville. Toronto coach Greg Vanney announced last week that he’s stepping down and the Reds have started the search for a new coach.

“Vanney is a very good coach and a very good person and he helped me a lot to win this MVP. I want to say thank you to the coach,” he said. “He leaves now, and next year we’ll adapt to another coach. But I want to say thank you because with him I won this trophy.”

Los Angeles FC Acquire Marco Farfan from Portland Timbers

Marco Farfan is switching sides…

Los Angeles FC (LAFC) has acquired the 22-year-old Mexican American soccer player, an outside back, from the Portland Timbers for an undisclosed amount of allocation money, according to ESPN.

Marco Farfan

The move gives the Black-and-Gold some needed help at outside back following a season in which its defensive record slipped into the bottom half of the Major League Soccer (MLS).

The move is expected to be officially announced at the opening of the half-day trade window on December 13.

Farfan was signed by the Timbers to a homegrown player contract in October of 2016, becoming the first product of the team’s academy to sign such a deal. Over the course of the next four seasons, Farfan made 37 league and cup appearances with the Timbers’ first team, while also seeing time in the second tier USL Championship with Portland Timbers 2, the club’s reserve side. In the most recent campaign, Farfan made 15 appearances, nine of them starts.

A source with knowledge of the situation indicated that Farfan’s contract was expiring and that he was eager to find a new challenge. LAFC was able to oblige.

At international level, Farfan has made two appearances with the U.S. U-23 team. He has been called into training camp with the full US Men’s National Team (USMNT) squad ahead of the December 9 friendly against El Salvador.

LAFC’s Diego Rossi Scores Two Goals Against Seattle Sounders to Extend Goal Lead in ‘MLS is Back Tournament’

Diego Rossi has extended his lead…

The 22-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer scored his competition-leading sixth and seventh goals of the MLS is Back Tournament, as he led his Los Angeles FC team to a 4-1 win overthe Seattle Sounders on Monday night in the round of 16 near Orlando.

Diego Rossi

Latif Blessing added a goal before halftime for LAFC, which avenged a 3-1 loss to Seattle in last year’s Western Conference final. 

Los Angeles’ Brian Rodriguez added his second goal of the tournament to seal the team’s meeting with Orlando City in a quarterfinal on Friday. 

Forward Bradley Wright-Phillips left the game at halftime for Los Angeles due to an apparent injury.

Will Bruin scored his first goal in more than 15 months for the Sounders, who were perhaps fortunate not to lose by more on a night they were outshot 25-11 overall and 8-4 in efforts on target.

With reigning MLS MVP Carlos Vela opting out of the tournament for LAFC, Rossi has picked up the slack to move two goals in front of Toronto FC‘s Ayo Akinola in the tournament Golden Boot race, with TFC already eliminated.

Rossi put LAFC in front from the penalty spot in the 14th minute. Rossi won the opportunity by inducing Xavier Arreaga into a clumsy challenge, and he finished past Stefan Frei‘s dive with a shot inside the right post.

In the 82nd minute, Rossi capitalized on another error from Arreaga error to score a second goal before Rodriguez added his insurance tally in the 89th minute.

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Diego Alonso Named Head Coach of Inter Miami CF

Diego Alonsois headed to Miami…

Inter Miami CF has appointed the 44-year-old Uruguayan football coach and former player as their first ever head coach, the club has announced.

Diego Alonso

Alonso most recently served as head coach for CF Monterrey in Liga MX, where he led them to the 2019 CONCACAF Champions Leaguetitle.

“In Diego we found a manager that fits our culture and has a strong desire to build a winning club for our fans,” the club’s sporting director Paul McDonoughsaid in a statement.

“He brings a lot of experience and championship-winning mentality as we begin our drive to be among the best clubs in the Americas. We have big aspirations for our club and believe Diego has the right drive, passion and leadership to accomplish our goals.”

Prior to coaching Monterrey, Alonso guided Pachuca to the CONCACAF Champions League crown in 2017. He also coached clubs in Paraguay and Uruguay before moving to Mexico.

Inter Miami’s inaugural season opens on March 1 at LAFC.

The club also announced the signings of defender Denso Ulysse and goalkeeper Drake Callenderlast week, while they also traded for United States international Juan Agudelo.