With a total payroll of $9,176,166.46, Sporting Kansas City has bumped its spending from last year.
Most of that increase came after adding another designated player in the offseason, signing of Felipe Gutiérrez. He is the team’s highest-paid player this year, with a base salary of $1.6 million and total compensation equaling $1.65 million.
He is in the middle of recovery from sports hernia surgery now, but made quite an impact before getting hurt: In six matches, Gutiérrez tallied five goals, including the game-winner in a 4-3 victory against Chicago. Five goals is still good for second-most on the team.
Johnny Russell, leading the team in goals with six, is only the fifth most expensive player for Sporting. His $700,000 salary sits behind Gutiérrez, Roger Espinoza ($900,000), Matt Besler ($783,250) and Graham Zusi ($782,102).
Sporting’s jump in salary figures also came from a couple of raises for their most crucial defenders: Tim Melia nearly doubled his salary after a career year last season. His base salary jumped from $165,000 in 2017 to $300,000 this year. His total compensation comes in at $316,667. That raise comes after he took home Major League Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year honors last season.
Ike Opara, named MLS’ Defender of the Year in 2017, had an even bigger raise. His base salary ($325,000) is more than double the $150,000 he earned last year, and he brings home total compensation of $342,917 in 2018.