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You paid what??

Banking Benjamins: The 10 Biggest Bargains in MLS

Some players earn their keep. Others go above and beyond. In the second of a two-part series, Jon Arnold checks out the MLS regulars who deserve a large raise in 2013.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
December 14, 2012
5:22 AM
On Thursday, we examined the players who basically robbed MLS teams of cash. Today, we go the opposite direction, discussing the 10 men who earned far more than their salaries.

First, however the honorable mentions: Andy Gruenebaum ($78,667), Chris Korb ($44,100), Graham Zusi ($138,812)

Here are the best values of the 2012 MLS season.

10. Kamani Hill—Colorado Rapids, $44,004
The 26-year-old Hill, a frequent contributor to U.S. youth teams before heading overseas, was finally able to find some success with a club team. The Rapids benefited from taking a chance on the well-traveled midfielder.

9. Calen Carr—Houston Dynamo, $82,804
Carr, along with DP signing Oscar Boniek Garcia, was incredibly important in jump-starting Houston’s offense during the 2012 season. If only he hadn't gotten hurt in MLS Cup, the result might have been very different.

8. Matt Besler—Sporting Kansas City, $103,001
The 2012 Defender of the Year has a new deal with Sporting, and while terms haven’t been disclosed, something tells me he’s going to be making a bit more than the current figure.

7. Juninho—LA Galaxy, $66,625
The Galaxy got a sweet deal bringing back the young Brazillian on loan from Sao Paulo for a third season. Will they be so lucky to get another? They’d surely jump at the chance for a player of his caliber at this price.

6. Connor Lade—New York Red Bulls, $33,750
It’s unlikely anyone thought rookie defender Lade would play much for the Red Bulls in his first year out of St. John’s. But he quickly proved he’d be getting plenty of time with the club and ended the season with 26 regular season appearances, 22 of them starts. We hear living in the Big Apple isn’t cheap, so here’s hoping Lade’s new deal (signed in November) will get him in a nicer apartment.

5. Steven Beitashour—San Jose Earthquakes, $44,100
Beitashour is the Earthquakes regular starter at right back. His strong play there helped the Quakes to the Supporters' Shield and earned him a look from Jurgen Klinsmann, who called him up to the national team in August.

4. Seth Sinovic—Sporting Kansas City, $66,750
The left back was by far the lowest paid member of Sporting’s rock solid back line, but that didn’t make him any less integral to the unit. Sinovic was a fixture for the club and part of the Meyer, Colin, Besler, and Sinovic line that infuriated forwards all season.

3. Lee Nguyen—New England Revolution, $50,500
Nguyen took a significant paycut to return to MLS from Vietnam before the 2012 season. The Vancouver Whitecaps won his rights in a lottery, but waived him before the season started. Wrong move. Nguyen was the Revolution’s best player and showed some of the traits that made him a highly coveted prospect in his youth, all for the low price of $50,000.

2. Austin Berry—Chicago Fire, $59,000
Rookies can be a bit of a gamble, but the Rookie of the Year turned out to pay off in spades for Chicago. Berry got his opportunity to start because of an injury and never relinquished the role.

1. Jermaine Taylor—Houston Dynamo, $65,375
Despite losing a defender, and a very, very good one at that, the Houston Dynamo defense was as strong as ever. That was thanks to this man, who was an absolute steal for the club. The Jamaican international started 26 matches and kept everything together, all for the price of 69.3 Rafa Marquezes.

Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) is a freelance writer based in Phoenix and the co-host of MLS in 30 on NASN.TV.

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