It’s that time of the year again where the MLSPU puts out the yearly report on all of Major League Soccer’s player wages. To the naked eye the league is spending more than it ever has, the number of players making over $1 million has increased tremendously, the notion that teams are “not spending” is false, it’s now a matter of spending wisely.

The list of the top 25 highest earners excludes players such as Valentín Castellanos the league’s golden boot in 2021, who is at $1 million yearly. Other names that are not on the list are Bebelo Reynoso who is on over $1 million as well. 

Atlanta United and the Los Angeles Galaxy lead the league on roster spend with $28 million each, and the average player salary in MLS is at $438,728. Here are the top 25 highest paid players in MLS for 2022.

25. Brenner - $2.2 Million

One of the league’s all-time highest incoming transfers has largely disappointed, Brenner is still at single digits when it comes to scoring in regular season MLS games, FC Cincinnati are still trying to make it work despite the Brazilian wanting to move on.

24. Luciano Acosta - $2.2 Million

The FC Cincinnati creative midfielder has been one of the bright spots on the team which oftentimes has struggled. Acosta has given the team an attacking punch and, in the process, has revitalized his career in MLS again after falling out in Liga MX.

23. Ryan Gauld - $2.2 Million 

Journeyman Ryan Gauld is now with Vancouver after not really finding a place for himself at Sporting CP. Yet to provide anything magical his $2.2 million salary should raise a few eyebrows.

22. Karol Świderski - $2.2 Million

Karol Świderski is already showing great things at newcomers Charlotte FC, the Polish striker scored in every club he has played for and is also a Polish national team striker.

21. Gastón Giménez - $2.3 Million

Results have been lukewarm to disappointing when it comes to Paraguayan international Gastón Giménez. Bought to be a special player, Giménez has looked ordinary at best since coming to MLS.


20. Thiago Almada - $2.3 Million

The league’s most expensive signing is showing why he costs what he costs. Thiago Almada has great pace, vision, and lethal outside shooting abilities. Yet to take the league by the horns, Almada is a vast improvement over Atlanta’s other big time signing Ezequiel Barco.

19. Carlos Salcedo - $2.3 Million

Carlos Salcedo made a name for himself in MLS with RSL and eventually went on to play in Germany, Liga MX, and the Mexican national team. With Toronto FC Salcedo has looked less than what you’d expect from a 2-million-dollar defender.

18. Sebastián Driussi - $2.3 Million

Austin FC found a true gem in Argentine forward Sebastián Driussi, the former River Plate star is an early candidate for 2022 MLS MVP. When he came to Austin FC last season, Driussi provided a spark for better things down the road. At his salary and what he is producing Sebastián Driussi has been a STEAL!

17. Gustavo Bou - $2.6 Million

Argentine striker Gustavo Bou has been a huge success for the New England Revolution, Bou was one of the three main attacking players that led the Revs to the 2021 Supporters Shield.

16. Adrien Hunou - $2.6 Million

Much was expected from Adrien Hunou but the French international has been a huge disappointment for Minnesota United. In 2022 the former French youth international finds himself on the bench.

15. Victor Wanyama - $3 Million

The CF Montreal midfielder is captaining the team and is leading by example. Victor Wanyama will not get on the scoresheet, but his job is to lead the pack. We leave it up to you to decide if MLS teams have $3 million to spend on vocal leaders and role players.

14. Douglas Costa - $3 Million

On loan from Juventus Douglas Costa is at $3 million and has shown flashes of what he can bring to the table. Costa is still getting accustomed to MLS but if he can find his rhythm the Brazilian should contribute for the L.A. Galaxy.

13. Raúl Ruidíaz - $3.2 Million

One of the best imports in league history Raúl Ruidíaz scored a goal that will be replayed in MLS highlight shows forever against Pumas in the Concacaf Champions League final, oh by the way Ruidíaz when hot scores goals in his sleep.

12. Franco Jara - $3.23 Million

Franco Jara can’t complain about his salary and FC Dallas at least has gotten a modest return from Jara, nonetheless, seeing who FC Dallas has signed and sold recently am sure they’d take this deal back.

11. Nicolás Lodeiro - $3.25 Million

Nicolás Lodeiro has slowly turned from one of the best players on his team, to one of the top South American imports ever, and now is in the conversation for best signing in league history. Nicolás Lodeiro may have played for Nacional, Ajax, and Boca Juniors but his club career belongs to the Sounders.

10. Carles Gil - $3.5 Million

The Spanish international has been one of the best playmakers in recent memory in MLS. Gil has been the brains behind the Revolution attack and one of the best finds by any team in recent memory.

9. Lucas Zelarayán - $3.7 Million

Lucas Zelarayán came to MLS to revitalize his career, he found a home in Columbus and delivered an MLS Cup. Zelarayán is one of the best playmakers in the league.

8. Luiz Araújo - $3.9 Million

When not injured Luiz Araújo is one of the best players in the middle of the park for Atlanta United. Araújo has the talent to play a much bigger role for the five stripes and lead them to more silverware.

7. Carlos Vela - $4 Million

One of the league’s best players, Vela helped ignite LAFC, Vela is a true star in the league and has been well worth his salary. Carlos Vela is at the end run of his MLS career, but without question he has been the greatest Mexican import ever.

6. Josef Martínez - $4.1 Million

Goal machine Josef Martínez is still among the league’s top earners and well deserved. Atlanta United are a totally different team without the Venezuelan striker. Josef Martínez when healthy makes Atlanta a MLS Cup contender.

5. Jozy Altidore - $4.3 Million

It’s almost laughable to think that Jozy Altidore is the fifth highest paid player in all of MLS. When Jozy is not watching his bank account go up, he plays junk minutes for the Revs.

4. Alejandro Pozuelo - $4.7 Million

Alejandro Pozuelo is still a shining light with Toronto FC as his 2022 has gotten off to a better start than last year. Pozuelo’s body of work in MLS makes him well deserving of his wages.

3. Gonzalo Higuaín - $5.8 Million

When it’s all said and done Gonzalo Higuaín will be one of the biggest flop signings in league history. At over $5 million the former Argentina striker is not even on the starting XI, gives countless interviews about how MLS is a vacation stop, and looks past it. Money down the tubes.

2. Javier Hernández - $6 Million

Javier Hernández has played with a lot of passion on his sleeve since coming to MLS, it’s been up and down and all around, but Chicharito has been a great investment. When 100% healthy Chicharito is a dynamite striker.

1. Xherdan Shaqiri - $8.1 Million

The jury is still out on Xherdan Shaqiri who is the league’s highest paid player on a lacking Chicago Fire side. Shaqiri looks like a great talent on a team that has not supported him so far.