10 Most Selfish People in MLS
The Major League Soccer season is entering the home stretch with only six weeks left of regular-season play before the playoffs and the hunt for the MLS Cup begin.
With most of the season already done and dusted, here's a look at some of the most selfish people in the league, whether that's due to their play on the field, their greed for money or pure stupidity.
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No team or fanbase has suffered more in the past year than Chivas USA, who now sit at the bottom of the standings in MLS' Western Conference and regularly play their games in an almost-empty stadium.
Since Jorge Vergara became the sole owner of Chivas at the end of last year, the team has been in disarray. In the offseason, Chivas became notorious for a transfer policy that looked solely aimed at increasing the Latino presence on the team and has now become involved in a discrimination lawsuit with two of its former coaches.
Those coaches allege that Vergara told the Chivas staff that if they did not speak Spanish, they would be fired and that Chivas' youth policy become centered around recruiting players of Mexican heritage. These allegations were also examined recently by HBO's Real Sports.
It's impossible to argue that Eddie Johnson isn't underpaid—he makes just $156,333 a year compared to teammate Clint Dempsey's $5 million a year and around $4.5 million a year for Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry.
However, conducting salary negotiations in public is never a good idea, and Johnson has been very vocal about his feelings over the past few weeks via Twitter and his now infamous "Pay Me" goal celebration last week (video at the 1:10 mark of the attached clip).
Johnson scored 14 goals for the Sounders last year, one less than Henry and five more than Donovan. And while Johnson is not as marketable as those two, he certainly deserves more than what he currently earns, which is below the league average ($220,000) for forwards.
Still, carrying wage demands into the public view only distances players from their fans (the average worker in the U.S. earns $45,000 a year). It also creates an unneeded distraction for the Sounders, who are in the midst of making a serious run for the MLS Cup.
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Tied for fifth in the league in goals (10) and near the top of the league in starts (23), games played (25) and minutes (2,003), Jack McInerney has exactly zero assists.
As a striker, McInerney's main job is to score goals, but he could take a page from Robbie Keane, who is excellent at setting his teammates up as well as himself. Keane has 10 assists this season to go along with his 12 goals.
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It's never a help to your team when you leave them short-handed, something Dimitry Imbongo has done three times this season to his teammates on the New England Revolution. Despite only starting seven games this year, Imbongo has managed to get sent off an incredible three times, exactly matching the striker's goal total for the season.
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As Taylor Twellman pointed out via Twitter last week, many MLS fans have plenty of complaints about the league but aren't doing their part to support it financially.
Television numbers for the league are slipping and that won't do anything to help the league's already poor television contracts. Right now, what games are being televised are predetermined well ahead of time. That leads to even lower ratings as the networks broadcast games that no one cares about, and a vicious cycle emerges.
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There's not a single midfielder in all of MLS with more minutes (1,795) and less assists (0) than Hendry Thomas.
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Yes, Rafa Marquez is no longer in the league, but he still can't keep his mouth shut about it.
This summer, via Tom Marshall on Twitter, Marquez questioned MLS' "professionalism." For anyone who needs a reminder, this is the same guy who managed to get himself red carded two consecutive years in the playoffs, helping to eliminate the New York Red Bulls from contention for the MLS Cup. He also repeatedly got sent off in important games for Mexico in international competition.
During his tenure with the Red Bulls, Marquez also showed what a great teammate he could be by saying the other Red Bulls' players were not "on my level" and blaming centre-back partner Tim Ream for the team's defensive errors, via Dave Martinez of Empire of Soccer.
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As a deep-lying playmaker whose entire job it is to get other people the ball, it is difficult to call Juninho selfish.
Juninho's selfishness isn't in his passing—it's in his shooting. No one in Major League Soccer has more shots (41) without a single goal.
Just lay it off to someone else, Juninho.
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Next to McInerney, no one in the league has more goals (7) with less assists (0) than Robert Earnshaw. Some of that might have to do with the finishing of his teammates as Toronto FC is second to last in the league in goals scored, but Earnshaw has started 23 games this season without being the provider a single time.
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This summer, the league announced plans to expand to 24 teams by 2020, making MLS one of the biggest leagues in the world. That means big money for the owners, upward of $40 million per team in franchise fees.
What isn't being widely discussed is how that will affect the quality of play, which already suffers tremendously any time a team hits a string of injuries or is forced to play during an international break missing its top players.
At some point, the owners also need to be held accountable by the players union for the widely disparate salaries that have much more to do with name recognition than performance on the field.
Follow me on Twitter @JohnDHalloran.