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Orlando City Had Some of the Best Bargains of the Transfer Window

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After acquiring three starting-caliber players for less than $1 million combined in base salaries, Orlando City's top transfer window acquisitions have proven to be some of the best bargains in the MLS.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, the MLS salary dump was released, showing the salaries of every player in the league, and revealing quite a few of the mysteries of what players acquired during the transfer window are making.

With a busy transfer window, Orlando City acquired quite a few players, some familiar to MLS fans and others not. The two most intriguing acquisitions were that of David Mateos and Adrian Winter.  With the release, we found out that Mateos was the highest paid player brought in, making $300,000 in base salary, and Adrian Winter is making $180,000, the same as former Houston defender Corey Ashe.

Each has made their impact felt with the Lions in recent weeks, as their play has continued to improve with them jelling more with their teammates the more they get on the pitch. Winter scored his first two goals in Orlando City's 3-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 13.

Orlando City was one of the most active teams during the summer transfer window, as expected. Some teams chose to make one or two big moves, while others chose to make numerous smaller moves, and some chose not to do much of anything.

Let's take a look at some of the biggest transfers around the league from a monetary standpoint (above $150,000 base salary), and what those players have done for their teams.

  • Giovani dos Santos - LA Galaxy - $4 million - Easily the biggest signing of the summer, dos Santos came to LA from Villareal on a $7 million offer sheet. Since arriving, dos Santos has appeared in six games, registering two goals and three assists. With the Galaxy an already solid team, dos Santos elevates them to one of the favorites to come out of the Western Conference.
  • Andrea Pirlo - NYCFC - $2 million - Pirlo was perhaps the transfer that received the most media attention, despite him being on the down side of his career. Pirlo has the ability to set up anyone with his passes, and is one of the most dangerous free kick takers on the planet, but with nine appearances already under his belt, he only has two assists and has yet to score on 14 shots.
  • Didier Drogba - Montreal - $1.6 million - One of the targets that Orlando City was reportedly interested in, Drogba ended up on a Montreal Impact team that is battling Orlando City for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. And he could be the player that makes the difference. In five appearances, Drogba has scored five times and has an assist under his belt. If he is the player that pushes Montreal into the playoffs, he will be well worth the salary they are paying him. It may be one of the moves Orlando City regrets not being able to pull off, although the league has rather nebulous rules with overseas stars (i.e. discovery rights and such).
  • Nelson Valdez - Seattle - $960,000 - A rather high profile signing, Valdez was said to make Seattle one of the best-positioned teams for the second half of the season. However, Valdez hasn't had a major impact, but rather he has played second fiddle to Obafemi Martins. Valdez has scored one goal in six appearances that includes four starts.
  • Juan Manuel Martinez - Real Salt Lake - $710,000 - Martinez has been a good player on a not-so-good team since arriving at Real Salt Lake, but it has come at a hefty price of more than $710,000 in base salary. He has a goal and an assist in three games.
  • Tranquillo Barnetta - Philadelphia - $624,000 - Barnetta has made seven starts and scored one goal and has an assist.
  • Gaston Sauro - Columbus - $583,200 - Sauro has made one start for Columbus since arriving from FC Basel. Not exactly a bargain but, at 25, he could be a build for the future kind of move.
  • Roman Torres - Seattle - 438,000 - Another pricy player that Seattle brought in to help its chances come playoff time. Torres started four games and recorded one assist for the Sounders before he tore his ACL.
  • Alvaro Saborio - D.C. United - $400,000 - Saborio was brought to United in a deal for Luis Silva. He makes quite a bit more than Silva, but has provided some consistent chances offensively and has three goals in 13 games.
  • David Mateos - Orlando City - $300,000 - Mateos, the most expensive OCSC transfer, has probably been the best and most consistent since arriving. He has started all six games he's appeared in, logging 540 minutes. He hasn't logged any goals or assists, but he has clearly been solid in the eyes of the coaches or he wouldn't keep getting his number called in the XI.
  • Ahmed Kantari - Toronto - $300,000 - Kantari has been just as solid for Toronto as Mateos has been for Orlando City. He has started eight matches and played more than 700 minutes. Steady defenders like Kantari and Mateos are well worth the price tag attached to them.
  • Amobi Okugo - Sporting KC - $275,000 - Okugo found his way on the end of the bench for Orlando City, but has managed to get some time on the field with SKC. He has one assist in two appearances.
  • Jack McInerney - Columbus - $270,000 - Once Orlando City fans discovered how little it took to acquire McInerney, many thought the Lions should have made a run at him. Instead, they used a second round pick for a much cheaper Adam Bedell and sent him out on loan to the Danish League. McInerney has been solid, but unspectacular for Columbus at a fairly high price tag. He has started in one of his three appearances and scored once.
  • Herculez Gomez - Toronto - $240,000 - Gomez was a late deal in the transfer window, and a big one for a Toronto team trying to hang on to a playoff spot. He has only started one match though, and unless an injury occurs to Sebastian Giovinco or Jozy Altidore, he probably won't be much more than an expensive substitute.
  • Bakary Soumare - FC Dallas - $225,000 - Sitting atop the Western Conference, FC Dallas didn't need much help. And they didn't get much help with this deal. Soumare has yet to appear in a match.
  • Gonzalo Veron - New York Red Bulls - $200,000 - Veron has one goal in one start and seven appearances. RBNY has a deep pool of attacking players and Veron may come in handy as a substitute off the bench for Lloyd Sam or Mike Grella late in games, but that's a lot of dough to spend on a backup -- unless you're trying to win a Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup, like New York is.
  • Adrian Winter - Orlando City - $180,000 - Winter has made five starts for Orlando City and scored two goals playing mostly on the wing. It took a few matches for Winter to prove what he could do with Orlando City playing shorthanded in two of his first few matches due to red cards. But he's a player with pace and solid ball and foot skills.
  • Corey Ashe - Orlando City - $180,000 - After being relegated to the bench in favor of DaMarcus Beasley, Ashe was moved from Houston to Orlando City, and the former all-star has been quite solid at outside back. It's a bit of a rotation at outside back with Rafael Ramos and Luke Boden working in as well, but I would argue that Orlando City is a better team with Ashe on the pitch than without, as he has enough to get forward and create opportunities offensively. Ashe has seven starts in eight appearances and two assists.
  • Andreas Ivanschitz - Seattle - $180,000 - Ivanschitz has appeared in just two matches for Seattle, though he has been decent when on the pitch. But he's likely not going to become a full-time starter.
  • Harrison Afful - Columbus - $150,000 - Afful has been a reasonably priced addition for Columbus's back line and has played quite well. He has five starts and has logged 400 minutes. A nice bargain on the back line for one of the most dangerous teams in the east.

Orlando City, Columbus and Seattle were the only three teams to add more than two players that will make more than $150,000 base salary in 2015. Orlando City will spend $660,000 in 2015 base salary on Mateos, Winter and Ashe and has three starting caliber-starting players to show for it. The trio has combined for 18 starts since arriving, which so far has worked out to pretty good value for a team that is fighting for the final playoff spot.

Meanwhile, Seattle spent more than $1.5 million to acquire Valdez, Torres and Ivanschitz, who have combined for nine starts since arriving. The acquisitions might not be as good of a value so far for Seattle, but Valdez will certainly be an integral piece for the Sounders come playoff time.

Columbus is paying Afful, McInerney and Sauro slightly more than $1 million in 2015. The group will probably be the least effective, for the shear fact that Sauro makes more than half of what Columbus is spending on its three major transfer acquisitions and has made just one appearance. But Columbus is obviously much better positioned to make a run this season than Orlando City is, and is arguably better off than Seattle, since the Crew play in a weaker conference.

Many fans wanted Orlando City to go out and make a splashy signing during the transfer window, but it could easily be argued that the Lions helped themselves more than any team in the league by adding three starters for good values.

The only major signing that so far looks like a good value is the Drogba signing for Montreal.

Unfortunately for Orlando City, that may be the signing that costs them a playoff spot in 2015.