One year ago, the Orlando City ownership group was in the middle of a difficult task -- putting together a team capable of competing in Major League Soccer. Having added pieces throughout the USL Pro campaign and into the winter, the assembly of talent grew to be the club we followed religiously all summer. With a season to reflect on, one question comes to mind -- did City get good value for the money spent?
This week, we'll take a look at the left back position. A combination of Corey Ashe, Luke Boden and Brek Shea split starts at this position, with an average starting left back salary of $196,580.88, based on total compensation. (Note: this number was arrived at by average salary of Orlando City's left back based on the those three players and the number of games they played at the position.) What we want to find out is, how does the production at that value stack up with the best in the league?
One of the most popular left backs in the league, Beasley took the pitch for the Houston Dynamo at a price of $813,333.33 to play the position, over four times City's average price tag. His 80.7% passing rate comes in a full 1% higher than the Lions' production, but it's his defensive numbers that jump out -- dwarfing the Lions' tackles, interceptions and clearances by a combined 3.1 per game.
The left back for Eastern Conference power New England Revolution played strong throughout the year, and did it at a cost of just $113,333.33 -- quite the bargain at over $800K cheaper than Orlando City paid for the position in total.
His passing wasn't at the level of the Lion left backs, over 2% worse on the year. Defensively, he was very comparable -- but we know firsthand Tierney brings an offensive flair that City was unable to match at the position.
That one still hurts.
Plying his trade for the Vancouver Whitecaps, Harvey ran the western Canadians $150,000 on the year. His passing rate of 76.8% sits 3% lower than the accuracy Inchy's boys showed from the position, but he showed an ability to create on par with City's left backs, finishing with four assists to his credit.
Defensively, he totaled 1.6 more combined tackles/interceptions/clearances per game, showing a flair for the defensive duties that Orlando couldn't match.
When looking at different talents across MLS, it's easy to see Beasley's salary and think that City managed to get a bargain at the position. While it's true that dump trucks of cash weren't dropped on the position, a closer look shows they were a few hundred grand over a few talents who seemed to outperform Orlando's committee.