LA Galaxy v. San Jose Earthquakes: Are they so different after all?

John Medina

The LA Galaxy often get painted as the Yankees of MLS. Sure the Galaxy and New York currently hold millions of dollars in contracts, but are they assembling their teams any differently than the rest of MLS?

The LA Galaxy often get painted as the Yankees of MLS. Sure the Galaxy and New York currently hold millions of dollars in contracts, but are they assembling their teams any differently than the rest of MLS?

The San Jose Earthquakes on the other hand are supposed to be this working class team that came out of nowhere. Are they relying on draft picks and academy players any more than the Galaxy are? Or is it a matter of same strategy, different sized purses?

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San Jose Earthquakes LA Galaxy
Cost (Million) Player Cost (Million Player
Free Busch Free Saunders
Draft Morrow Draft Gonzalez
Draft Beitashour Draft Franklin
Free Bernardez Allocation Dunivant
Free Corrales Draft Meyer
Allocation Cronin Draft pick Magee
Loan Dawkins Free Sarvas
Allocation Chavez Loan Juninho
Draft Baca Free Wilhelmsson
Weaver Wondolowski Free Buddle
Allocation Lenhart 3.4 Keane
Total: ? Total: 3.4 + ?

Chart like these show the various ways their are to build a team. San Jose didn't sit on their hands over the offseason, they brought in Marvin Chavez with allocation money as well as Shea Salinas (also allocation money) who came in off the bench. They re-signed Steven Lenhart and brought in Victor Bernardez whom we have to assume was a free transfer though the details aren't public.

Allocation money is a mysterious black shroud in MLS. The Galaxy spend 3.4 million Euros to bring in Robbie Keane and spent allocation money to get Todd Dunivant. How does that compare to San Jose spending allocation money to bring in Lenhart, Sam Cronin, and Chavez?

The Galaxy pay much more in salaries than San Jose does. However, they both feature just as many draft picks, no starters from the academies, and a majority from free transfers and trades. Every team is going to spend relative to it's player budget. It's not salaries that matter so much, it's how the team is assembled. The Galaxy and the Earthquakes have used similar strategies in assembling their teams.

One would hope over time to see more of those spots say Academy. One wonders if Robbie Keane is an exception, or if we'll see MLS teams more willing to pay transfer fees to bring in top talent. Just some thinking points as MLS continues to grow.

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