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LAFC's Vela, Galaxy's Chicharito, Miami's Higuain top MLS salaries; Atlanta's Luiz Araujo highest-paid newcomer

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LAFC's Carlos Vela remained Major League Soccer's highest-paid player with a guaranteed compensation of $6.3 million, according to the latest round of salary data published by the MLS Players Association.

The latest disclosure included players signed during the summer transfer window. As such the top four wage earners remained the same, with LA Galaxy's Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez checking in at $6m, Inter Miami CF's Gonzalo Higuain earning $5.79m, and Toronto FC's Alejandro Pozuelo taking in $4.69m.

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Atlanta United FC's Luiz Araujo was the only recent signing to crack the top 10, with his guaranteed compensation of $3.94m ranking him fifth. Other notable newcomers were Austin FC's Sebastian Driussi, whose guaranteed compensation of $2.69m ranked 15th, while the Vancouver Whitecaps' Ryan Gauld came in at 26th in the league with guaranteed compensation of 2.03m.

The average guaranteed compensation for the entire player pool is $418,048 -- down slightly from the mark of $423,232 recorded last May, but up 1.5% from the September 2019 mark of $411,996.

The median guaranteed compensation is $200,000, down slightly from the May mark of $210,000. But thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated earlier this year, the latest mark is still up 11.4% from the September 2019 figure of $179,498.

In terms of team payroll based on guaranteed base compensation, there was some movement. The Galaxy moved up from fourth last May to take the top spot with a total guaranteed compensation of $20.32m. The top three were rounded out by Atlanta United ($20.06m) and Toronto FC ($19.27m).

Inter Miami, which had been highest back in May, fell to fourth with a total guaranteed compensation of $17.55m. LAFC was fifth at $15.88m.

The Colorado Rapids, in third place in the Western Conference, had the lowest guaranteed compensation at $9.89m. This was followed by the New York Red Bulls ($9.98m), the Philadelphia Union ($10.57m), the Vancouver Whitecaps ($10.96m) and the San Jose Earthquakes ($11.04m).

The New England Revolution, runaway leaders for the Supporters Shield, had the 20th-highest total guaranteed compensation at $11.68m. FC Cincinnati, set to finish in last place in the leaguewide table for the third year running, had the 10th-highest mark at $13.11m.