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Budget vs Talent Decision Making: Does higher salary = more success in MLS?

MLS Cup Trophy

How much will it cost in player salaries to win the MLS Cup?

Some revs fans believe Mike Burns and Jay Heaps are hampered with a comparatively small salary budget when compared with their competitors. This may be true to a degree, but when it comes to winning in Major League Soccer, I’m a firm believer it’s “how you spend” not “what you spend.”

Recent history has shown a lack of budget isn’t always a limiting factor for MLS cup winning clubs.


Jose Goncalves has been the lone international success for Mike Burns and Jay Heaps in 2013.

For example, Houston wasn’t a big spending team in 2006 or 2007. Columbus won it in 2008 and apart from Guillermo Barros-Schelotto I don’t think they broke the bank on too many “name” guys. Ditto for Real Salt Lake in 2009 and Colorado in 2010. LA has been the exception the past couple years with their glitzy lineup and mega budget, although it’s been a combination of spending on the right players (unlike NYRB, for example). History has show it’s very possible to win the league or be at the doorstep with the right people making the decisions and a little bit of luck. Since 2008 the revs have had neither.

Budget vs Talent Decision Making: How the Revs Have Done
As far as budget vs talent decision making, this off season will be interesting.

This year, Burns has hit on one international (Goncalves) and missed on the rest (Toja, Cisse, Bengtson) with the jury still out on our red card magnets Imbongo and Dorman, who have 5 reds between them. Woodbine hasn’t seen much of the field yet so we can’t judge him, other than he hasn’t been able to beat out Tierney for the LB spot.

Domestic players have been a mixed bag with Agudelo a success, Barrett and Simms neither a success/failure just mediocre, and Davies has shown very little in his limited time so far. Burns gets credit for signing homegrowns Diego and Caldwell who have performed well.

Looking Ahead to 2014
For me there are 4 key transactions to pay attention to this offseason:

1. I said at the beginning of the season, Jerry Bengtson needed a break out year if the revs would be successful. He’s all but disappeared and if our “DP” #27 is still here in 2014, to me it transcends budgetary restraints and gets into the realm of oblivious.

2. Replace Agudelo.

3. Getting a veteran GK to replace Reis or if Shuttleworth becomes the de facto #1, only having to beat out Sofner;

4. Getting more bite in the midfield to partner Caldwell (what Cisse should have been).

Of course, we could always upgrade at outside back but I suspect Tierney will once again start next year. Some things never change! It will be interesting to see what happens – will the revs upgrade or stand pat?


About mekncl

I am an experienced online marketer with demonstrated success across a range of marketing activities including ecommerce, webinar, social media and search engine optimization. I have a Master's Degree in E-Business and Information Systems from Newcastle University Business School in the UK and a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Maine at Machias. I enjoy learning about new technologies and how they can be leveraged to benefit society.


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