Friday, 19 Apr 2024

Final MLS Salaries for 2022: A Look into the Numbers

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For football fans and pundits, the release of salary information by the Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) has become a bi-annual tradition. It offers a chance to dig into the numbers, analyze who’s earning too much or too little, and discover which teams are spending heavily or conservatively. However, for players, it can be a strange and challenging day as their personal information is shared with the world. And for Sporting Directors, it may reveal the success or failure of their budgeting decisions.

Before delving into the newly released data, let’s take a moment to consider past salary information as a reference point. Understanding the historical context can help us interpret the new figures more accurately.

A Few Notes

Throughout this analysis, when referring to a player’s salary, we will be referring to their guaranteed compensation. This figure often exceeds their base salary, as it includes pro-rated bonuses over the course of their contract. However, it’s essential to note that this guaranteed compensation is not the same as the salary budget that affects a team. Other factors such as TAM, GAM, and transfer fees can impact a team’s salary budget, making the figures presented here an incomplete picture.

It’s also crucial to highlight that this data is current as of September 2nd. Any new deals signed after this date will not be reflected.

The Highest Paid MLS Players in 2022

Lorenzo Insigne – Toronto FC

In a surprising twist, Lorenzo Insigne tops the list of the highest-paid MLS players, thanks to his summer signing with Toronto FC. Toronto also added Federico Bernardeschi, who secured the fourth spot on the list. Despite these high-profile signings, Toronto FC finished outside the playoffs and had the second-worst record in the league. The upcoming season will reveal if their significant investment will yield a positive impact.

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Other new additions to the top 10 include Douglas Costa in fifth place and Hector Herrera in seventh. The extensive influx of new players prompted us to expand the list to the top 15, providing a useful comparison to the previous salary release. Notably, Carlos Vela drops off the list entirely due to his new deal, placing him at 21st with a salary of $2,737,500.

Here are the top 15 highest-paid players in MLS:

  1. Lorenzo Insigne — $14,000,000 (Toronto FC)
  2. Xherdan Shaqiri — $8,153,000 (Chicago Fire)
  3. Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez — $7,443,750 (LA Galaxy)
  4. Federico Bernardeschi — $6,256,322 (Toronto FC)
  5. Douglas Costa — $5,800,000 (LA Galaxy)
  6. Gonzalo Higuain — $5,793,750 (Inter Miami)
  7. Hector Herrera — $5,246,875 (Houston Dynamo)
  8. Alejandro Pozuelo — $4,693,000 (Inter Miami)
  9. Luiz Araujo — $4,480,333 (Atlanta United)
  10. Jozy Altidore* — $4,264,963 (New England Revolution)
  11. Christian Benteke — $4,182,778 (D.C. United)
  12. Josef Martinez — $4,141,667 (Atlanta United)
  13. Lucas Zelarayan — $3,700,000 (Columbus Crew)
  14. Carles Gil — $3,545,833 (New England Revolution)
  15. Rodolfo Pizarro^ — $3,350,000 (Inter Miami)

*Altidore was bought out by Toronto FC, with the New England Revolution reportedly paying a maximum of $1,612,500 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), some of which Toronto may contribute to.

^Pizarro is out on loan with CF Monterrey.

As passionate supporters of Sporting Kansas City, it’s worth noting that Alan Pulido ranks 35th on the list (despite not playing a single minute this season), followed closely by Johnny Russell at 37th. Erik Thommy, a new addition to the team, makes his debut on the list at 69th.

MLS Millionaires on the Rise

In 2022, a total of 106 players earned over $1 million, according to the final data (considering pro-rated deals for midseason signings). This number represents a significant increase from 91 players at the beginning of the season and 78 players in 2021. The summer transfer window witnessed an aggressive surge in spending across MLS.

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Sporting KC regained their status with five millionaires on their team, up from four in the previous season, thanks to the signing of Erik Thommy. However, the futures of Andreu Fontas and Nicolas Isimat-Mirin remain uncertain, as they may leave the team after this season.

Overall, salaries in MLS are on the rise. The average player salary now stands at $514,729, up from $472,008 in the spring and $413,998 in the previous fall. It’s important to consider that averages can be skewed by high earners, so let’s also look at the median pay, which increased slightly to $248,688. This marks a significant climb from $200,000 in the previous fall.

Salaries by Team: Success vs. Spending

Examining salaries by team always provides fascinating insights. Unsurprisingly, Toronto FC tops the list, with their record-breaking signing of Lorenzo Insigne earning him $14 million individually. However, despite their significant investment, Toronto FC finished second to last in the league standings.

Spending heavily on salaries doesn’t guarantee success. Several teams that missed the playoffs, such as Atlanta United, the New England Revolution, the Chicago Fire, the Columbus Crew, the Seattle Sounders, and the Houston Dynamo, ranked in the top 10 in terms of spending. This suggests that market efficiencies (and inefficiencies) play a vital role in achieving success.

Interestingly, the New York Red Bulls, the lowest-spending team in the league, hosted a playoff game. Similarly, the Philadelphia Union, the second-lowest spender, narrowly missed winning the Supporters Shield. Although the remaining bottom spenders’ records were more mixed, Minnesota United, Orlando City, CF Montreal, and Nashville SC all made the playoffs. These teams’ success contrasts with the top 10 spenders.


The release of the final 2022 MLS salaries provides an exciting opportunity to analyze player earnings, team spending, and the correlation with on-field performance. As we digest this data, we can begin to anticipate the impact it will have on the upcoming season.

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Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to provide comprehensive coverage of the latest in the world of football.


Q: Where can I find the complete list of MLS salaries for 2022?
A: You can find the complete list of MLS salaries for 2022 on the Pesstatsdatabase website.

Q: How are MLS salaries calculated?
A: MLS salaries are calculated based on a player’s guaranteed compensation, which includes pro-rated bonuses over the course of their contract.

Q: Which team had the highest-paid player in MLS for 2022?
A: Toronto FC had the highest-paid player in MLS for 2022. Lorenzo Insigne secured the top spot with a salary of $14 million.

Q: Did spending heavily on salaries guarantee success for MLS teams?
A: No, spending heavily on salaries did not guarantee success for MLS teams. Several teams that missed the playoffs ranked among the top spenders, highlighting the importance of market efficiencies in achieving success.

Q: How many players earned over $1 million in MLS for 2022?
A: In 2022, a total of 106 players earned over $1 million in MLS, reflecting a significant increase from previous seasons.

Q: What was the average salary in MLS for 2022?
A: The average salary in MLS for 2022 was $514,729, representing an increase from previous seasons.

Q: Which team spent the least on player salaries in MLS for 2022?
A: The New York Red Bulls spent the least on player salaries in MLS for 2022.


The final release of MLS salaries for 2022 provides a fascinating insight into players’ earnings, team spending, and the relationship between salaries and success on the field. As we analyze and interpret this data, we can begin to paint a clearer picture of the upcoming season. Stay tuned for more updates and comprehensive coverage of all things football.

*Note: The information provided in this article is accurate as of the date of publication and is subject to change.