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MLS player salaries: 3 Atlanta United stars make more than $1 million

May 5, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Atlanta United midfielder Ezequiel Barco (8) and Miguel Almiron (10) takes the field before the game against the Chicago Fire at Bridgeview Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Miguel Almirón is the 12th highest paid player in Major League Soccer, but he’s been worth every penny for Atlanta United F.C. this season.

According to the latest figures released by the MLS Players Association Thursday, the Paraguayan attacking midfielder’s total compensation for this year is just a hair under $2.3 million, making him the highest paid player on the Five Stripes.

Almirón, 24, is tied for second in the league in goals scored with six and he is also tied for second in the league for assists with five. Right now, he’s making about $209,000 per goal created. Atlanta sits at the top of the Eastern Conference table with a record of 7-2-1 and leads the league in goals per game with 2.2. 

The next highest paid players for Atlanta United are Ezequiel Barco and Josef Martínez. Barco arrived to Atlanta from Argentine club Independiente this offseason for a reported $15 million transfer fee, but he’s making a total compensation of $1.42 million this year. Martínez, who leads the league in goals scored with seven, is earning about $1.39 million in total compensation this year.

>> Check out Pro Soccer USA’s full searchable, sortable database of MLS player salaries.

Atlanta’s total payroll this season according to the figures released is about $10.9 million, which is considerably less than what Toronto F.C. pays three players – Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore – a combined $18.6 million.

The Five Stripes are coming off a 2-0 home defeat to the Western Conference leading Sporting Kansas City. Here’s the salaries of the starting XI from that game.

Josef Martínez: $1,387,318

Hector Villalba: $770,750

Miguel Almirón: $2,297,000

Ezequiel Barco: $1,425,000

Darlington Nagbe: $620,000

Jeff Larentowicz: $210,000

Sal Zizzo: $130,000

Michael Parkhurst: $340,008

Leandro González Pírez: $685,004

Greg Garza: $175,008

Brad Guzan: $700,008

Pay the man

Julian Gressel was rested against Sporting KC on Wednesday, but he’s started every other game this season and is fifth on the team in minutes played with 805. Gressel, the MLS Rookie of the Year a season ago, will receive a total compensation of $111,250 this season, making him the lowest paid regular starter on the team. Gressel has three assists and one goal this season, and has excelled as a wingback when Atlanta plays it’s 3-5-2 formation.

Cheap scores

The lowest paid player to score a goal for Atlanta United this season is Romario Williams, who will earn $71,500 total. Williams, 23, scored 15 goals last season for United Soccer League side Charleston Battery. The Jamaican striker appeared in five Atlanta United games this season, scoring once against LAFC.

Long-term investments?

Two $120,000 players, José Hernández and Gordon Wild, have not yet appeared in an Atlanta United game this season. Hernández, 20, came to the Five Stripes from Venezuelan side Caracas FC and has battled an injured quad all season. Wild, a Generation Adidas player, was Atlanta’s top pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, but the Five Stripes loaned him out to the Charleston Battery. The 22-year-old German has played in seven USL games so far, scoring twice.

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