INFOGRAPHIC: MLS Player Salary Information for 2016

Back in mid-May, the MLS Players Union published their first updated salary figures for the 2016 season. In a league known for overusing the “as per team and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed” cop-out, the document is one of the closest things to a window into its inner workings.

Just as I did back in September, I’ve taken the document – which can be found in its original form here – and turned it into an infographic in order to highlight some of what I think are the key findings. Among others, those include…

INFOGRAPHIC: MLS Player Salary Information for 2016

Colorado is doing a great early-season Leicester impression

No, I don’t think the Colorado Rapids are going to win the title just yet. But after finishing last season tied for second-last in the Supporter’s Shield table, they (as of May 31) are leading the pack with 41% of their season already in the books.

Colorado deservedly had the joint-worst odds of winning the MLS Cup at the start of the season, listed as one of four teams at 50/1. Even though that’s still 100 times better than the 5000/1 odds Leicester overcame, it would still be mightily impressive if the Rapids could make like the Foxes and win the league in 2016.

Soccernomics is knocking on the door

It’s the soccer science must-read that I’ve started and never finished about five times now (attempt six coming this summer), and one of its early findings is that clubs that spend more money win more. In their study of English clubs over a 20 year period, team payrolls “explained a massive 92 percent of variation in the league positions” (see pg. 12 of the revised and expanded edition).

I haven’t gone that in-depth with a number-crunch. But of the five clubs that as of May 31 have made the biggest jumps up the standings compared to 2015, four of those clubs moved up in the payroll table in that same timeframe as well. Combined, those five (COL, PHI, RSL, NYCFC, SJ) moved up 55 places in the standings table and 15 places in the spending table, or a per-club average of 11 and three places, respectively.

Similarly, of the five biggest droppers in the league table from the end of 2015 to May 31, 2016, four of those clubs also moved down in the payroll table. Combined, those five (CLB, SEA, POR, NYRB, NE) moved down 46 places in the standings table and 12 in the spending table, or about 9 and 2.5 on average.

If you’re not watching Colorado, watch…

FC Dallas or the Philadelphia Union. For the second straight season, FC Dallas are absolutely crushing the “win more, spend less” game. They’re one of two teams (the other being D.C. United) without anybody on the books for more than $500,000; Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz – at a combined $621,750 – are criminally cheap for their age and quality; and they’re a high-energy, high-youth, high-scoring machine. Philadelphia on the other hand is doing the anti-Colorado and enjoying similar success to the Rapids. The perennial low-spender dropped even lower in the off-season and yet find themselves sitting sixth in the league and first(?!?!) in the East as of May 31. They also have some coincidental luck on their side:

You can find my full MLS player salary infographic below. All figures are in base salary.

Main Photo:
ORLANDO, FL – APRIL 3: Kaka #10 of the MLS Orlando City SC takes on Diego Chara #21 of the Portland Timbers at the Citrus Bowl on April 3, 2016 in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Chris McEniry /Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kaka