DaMarcus Beasley started the game Sunday night at left back instead of long-time Houston Dynamo, Corey Ashe, which was a shock to some fans. Ashe has always seemed like a Dominic Kinnear kind of guy; he may not be the most talented player on the team, but his hustle and work ethic is rarely matched.
Now questions have started circulating, will Corey Ashe be back next season? One thing is for certain, Houston cannot afford two high salary left-backs. It’s always nice to have quality back-ups, but there comes a point at which it just does not make financial sense.
This financial sense is actually something that Houston needs to start taking into account. The Dynamo at the moment have three DP spots being filled, and one player that is making enough to be considered a defacto DP, as well, in Brad Davis. It can be argued that Alex Lopez does not deserve that Designated Player spot, but that does not take away from the fact that he is one.
It can be argued that Alex Lopez and Oscar Boniek Garcia are not really DPs, because they were only tagged that way because of their transfer fee. However, the unknowns of the salary cap are something that should not be taken lightly. For this situation, let’s just assume that they are.
In order to better understand the situation that Houston is in let’s assume that the released salaries are somewhat accurate. We will also count Beasley at a full season’s designated player salary of around $390,000.
Now it’s time for a little something I call, “Musical Chairs: Salary Cap Edition”. Let’s start off with a gigantic leap of faith and take the MLS Salary Cap for 2014 which was around $3.1 million, or $3,100,000, for you people that are great with zeros.
If we only take into account left-backs and goalkeepers we will be spending $876,000 next season, and that’s assuming that nobody gets a raise. That’s already around over one-fourth of our salary on only two positions! In fact, that’s around 18% on only left backs with still 10 other positions needed to be filled.
These are important facts, because even though the salary cap is one crazy mathematical equation that involves so many variables even Albert Einstein himself would collapse, when it comes down to it, the salary cap is still a numbers game. If you spend too much on certain positions, other positions will suffer.
This has become extremely clear this season and will become even clearer next season, as well. We are currently having issues at the center back position. If Ashe requires a raise, which he will, then how will we be able to afford to spend even more money on defenders? How can we even justify spending anymore money on defense, if we also require forwards?
Houston needs forwards, and they need them fast. I don’t mean Dominic Oduro fast, because we all remember how that turned out. I mean fast, in the sense, that we need them, as soon as possible.
The only way to make space is to get rid of Corey Ashe, and also get rid of Tally Hall or Tyler Deric. Why get rid of one of our goalkeepers? Tyler Deric and Tally Hall are both amazing goalkeepers by Major League Soccer standards. It can be argued that we have the best one-two combo in Major League Soccer when it comes to goalies.
There’s one sad thing about all of this. You can only play one goalkeeper at a time. It’s not like playing two forwards, I’m pretty sure it’s against the rules to have two goalkeepers start for you.
Now here goes the 6 figure question, because I cannot say $1 million question since that would be lying. Which goalkeeper will we choose? Tally Hall has never impressed people with his distribution of the ball. In fact, this past Sunday, he almost cost us a goal by launching the ball out of bounds on a goal kick.
The simplest thing a goalkeeper can do is kick the ball forwards, and he had trouble with this. This wasn’t under any pressure by a player. It was a goal kick, and they tend to be protected by rules.
Hall is a great shot-stopper, and that’s the reason why he was called up to the United States Men’s National Team a couple of times. However, he is too set in his ways to become a complete goalkeeper at this stage of his career. He won’t improve much. He’s still young, but not young enough.
On the bench, we currently have a goalkeeper that can not only impress people with his shot-stopping ability, but he’s also capable of performing goal kicks without having them go out of bounds. Not to mention, he’s younger, and has a ways to go before reaching his prime.
Now let me dream about a world in which we let go of both Corey Ashe and Tally Hall. If you add both of their salaries together you get around $389,000. Why is that number important? Why does it sound so freaking familiar? That’s right! That’s almost as much as DaMarcus Beasley is costing us because he’s designated player.
Now I know that we already filled our DP slots, but if you look at Boniek and Lopez’s salary they’re $259K and $110K. Neither of those two salaries are designated player salaries. That means that the only reason they have that tag is due to their transfer fees. We don’t know exactly when that tag goes away, but there are rumors, that if we find a way to renegotiate Boniek’s contract we can get rid of that tag.
We cannot currently get rid of Lopez’s tag, because he’s new to the team, but Boniek has been with us since 2012. If we can somehow get rid of his designated player tag, we will have around enough money to work with to get a new DP.
Now I know I’m making multiple assumptions. Some of these include, raises, and contract re-negotiations. There are some intangibles that may still work our way. There are rumors that with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, we may not only see a raise in the salary cap, but also another designated spot may be up for grabs. Especially since Orlando and New York City Football Club would love nothing more than another spot to fill.
*Disclaimer: Major League Soccer is not exactly transparent with their information. I know that many things have been taken at face-value and there can be a million arguments made against them. However, let us dream as a fan base for once. Chris Canetti has given us hope that we are capable of some big moves when they are needed. Don’t go on crushing our dreams because the numbers aren’t quite right!