Those were the thoughts of Real Salt Lake Coach Jason Kreis when explaining the financial structure of Major League Soccer.
“When you advance in tournaments like CONCACAF and get yourself into MLS Cup you get allocated money,” explained Kreis. “That allocation money is significant enough that you are at least talking about a player or two players that you can keep going forward. When we didn’t succeed in those tournaments, it meant that we had no extra money. And the other point of it is that if you fail, you get extra money as our system is now. Either you win things and get extra money or you fail miserably and get extra money, but being good and not great is the worst place to be.”
Those are the financial realities that the squad found themselves dealing with as they had a very strong 2012 season finishing with a 17-11-6 record for a total of 57 points, a franchise record. Too good to get the infamous “you suck” allocation, but not advancing far enough in competitions to get the allocation rewards that came with that. That left the team a reported 25% over the salary cap heading into the offseason.
The result was that the team had to send Jamison Olave, and Fabian Espindola packing to New York in exchange for allocation money, and Will Johnson was shuttled off to Portland in an effort to balance the books. When all was said and done, Kreis was left sympathizing with the fans.
“I’m outraged as well to know that we’re in a system where you can’t keep your team together forever,” he said. “I love those guys, there’s no doubt about. I feel like they’re all part of my family. But we’re in a system where we knew going into the offseason that if we didn’t advance in CONCACAF, we were going to have to replace three players at the very least, and so then it’s about making choices.”