This week in MLS had some surprises. DC United scoring 4 goals? Vancouver and Colorado combining for 6? The Dynamo with a player scoring a hat trick against the defending MLS Cup champions? There were only 4 clean sheets kept this round, but 5 defenders in the dream team this week, which is usually a bad sign, but there were also a lot of high scoring fun games too.
My team had a horrible week, I dropped out of the top 200 to 202 after clawing back to the 160’s over the past 3 weeks. It really set a new benchmark in futility as my team seems more and more like a salmon who won’t beat the current to the spawning grounds this year.
Really, if it wasn’t for a questionable penalty kick given to Ola Kamara and a ball that bounced off of the referee into the path of Ozzie Alonso from Nicolas Lodiero, it would have been much, much worse.
Rekrap: Luis Robles and New York’s defense remembered to keep playing in the last ten minutes and the Red Bulls net-minder scored 9 points. Like I said, there are like 5 defenders on the dream team this week and I refuse to write about all of them. For one thing, nobody plays 5 defenders because a defenders job is to stop goals and ruin fun. On top of that, Kevin Ellis got 10 points and is about as interesting as changing your shoelaces, do you really want me to subject you to something that dull? No, you don’t.
They should do a reboot of Walker, Texas Ranger with Walker Zimmerman and call it Walker, Texas Center Back and he’d just go around doing things like slamming revolving doors or kicking horses in the chin to turn them into giraffes and clearing poorly hit crosses, the FCD defender got 10 points. Chris Duvall scored 12 points and helped keep Drogba, Nacho Piatti and the rest of the Poutine Princes off of the scoreboard as the Red Bulls blanked Montreal. There that was three, calling Kevin Ellis boring counts, OK?
The downside of only mentioning 3 defenders is that you have to mention 4 midfielders. This week was not a great one for big names who play in the middle of the pitch. Erik Hurtado bounced a ball off of a poorly positioned Marc Burch for a game tying goal as Vancouver came back with only 10 men to draw with the Rapids.
In a game that was not so much a dominant 1-0 win over Montreal as much as it was another stumble in the slow motion fall of the Impact out of the playoffs, NYRB summer addition, and apparent Mike Grella usurper, Daniel Royer scored 10 points.
Patrick Nyarko was not in the dream team this week but gets a mention because he’s more interesting than a defender, he provided two assists and scored 9 points as DC’s players continue to defy Ben Olsen’s orders to avoid scoring goals at all costs.
When the Sounders movie this year is cast, Vincent D’Onofrio will play Sigi Schmid, Eminem will play Clint Dempsey, and Vin Diesel will play Ozzie Alonso, who scored a rare goal and earned 8 points in a game in LA that looked like it had as many spectators as an Atlanta United U18 match.
Apparently if your first name is Mauro you can just sashay into the league and twinkle toes your way into bossing games. Mauro Manotas, Houston’s 21 year old DP, did just that on his way to a hat trick and 18 points this week.
Chicago rested their starting center back and starting right back and their replacements fared about as well against World Cup winning striker David Villa as a tissue in a hurricane; the NYCFC talisman earned an assist, two goals, and a handful of bonuses to score 18 points on the weekend.
Ola Kamara came up big for the Crew as the striker scored a brace and earned a penalty to take home the Kamara Cup for the season and scored 15 points.
Fantasy Delusions: These players seemed like good picks for one reason or another, but in the end they are just testaments to the power of self-deception (and may have been a pick I made last week).
Jozy Altidore looked more like the player who couldn’t crack the starting 11 for Sunderland than the striker who had been burning a hole in the net lately and scored 2 points.
Kaka is on this list again and has completely disappeared, he was so ineffective in the game against DC United that he was subbed off before Nocerino’s red card and the OCSC midfielder managed just 2 points as everything seems to be going sideways for Orlando entering the upcoming double game week.
Added to the dud pile is Nacho Piatti since the once dominant fantasy MLS force has seen his points total, and team’s spot in the table, slowly slide towards irrelevance over the past few weeks. In the Impact game against New York, he saw shot after shot go wide or into the arms of keeper Luis Robles and his harmless shots earned him 3 points.
Picks: Ah yes the future, when everything will be fresh, new, and filled with the promise and unrealized dreams of a new day and failure is just a salmon carcass on the banks of a river. So we have a double game week coming up followed by a massive bye week. This would also be a good time to remind you that rosters will lock at 7:30PM EDT on Wednesday so get your transfers in before that.
On the DGW schedule this week is Chicago, Columbus, Seattle, San Jose, Montreal, DC United, Orlando, and Toronto. Of the teams on a DGW this week who also play in week 32 there’s Chicago, Seattle, San Jose, and the Columbus Crew. They will join Houston and Colorado, who play two games that week, as the only teams playing in week 32, so plan accordingly because a lot of teams will be on bye.
Complicating things are international friendlies for the US as well World Cup qualifiers for African, South American, and Asian teams taking place that week, so before adding a player take a second and check if they’ll be called into their national squads.
Depending on how aggressive you want to be you may just go with 2 players who don’t play at all in week 32 but who you like the match ups for this week and then either take hits in week 32 or just play with less than 11 players. I think there are about four players who fall in the Venn diagram of playing two games in week 31 and then having a game in week 32 for and one of them is Nicolas Lodiero who was called into his national team for week 32 so he doesn’t really count. Keep in mind that after, meaning the week following, round 32 you will get unlimited transfers in round 33.
Nicolas Lodiero/Ozzie Alonso/Chad Marshall/Joevin Jones - Seattle is going to play Chicago who just gave up 4 goals to NYCFC and Vancouver who just gave up 3 goals to Colorado, even if he misses week 32 make sure Lodiero is on your team. For Marshall and Jones, this is a pure pick in order to get a DGW player who will also play in week 32 on your team. I don’t expect a lot out of Seattle defensively but Jones does like to get forward.
Jozy Altidore/Michael Bradley/Drew Moor/Justin Morrow - TFC plays two at home this DGW with a great match up against a defensively inept OCSC and a perhaps less than ideal game against DC United. Keep an eye on Giovinco’s status, he flew to Italy to get his injury checked out, Toronto cannot afford to have Giovinco injured during the playoffs so be completely sure that he’ll be back before adding him this week. If he does play, he is a must own.
Alvarez/David Accam - Chicago is not great, but Alvarez has been scoring reliable points lately and he will play in week 32. David Accam may be called into Ghana’s squad for their World Cup qualifier in week 32 so be cautious in bringing him in.
Ola Kamara/Ethan Finlay/Justin Meram - Unless you are using your wildcard for the bye week after this one, I think you should add a Columbus player. Their match ups are at DC, who haven’t been their normally defensively stout selves lately, and hosting Chicago. If they want to move up to a playoff spot, both of these are must win games with DCU above them in the standings and Chicago being a terrible team. Justin Meram will probably be called into Iraq’s squad for qualifiers in week 32, this is becoming a familiar refrain, but he’s the playmaker for Columbus and is decently priced. Ethan Finlay is all over the place with his scoring, well into 15 point range one week, completely disappears for the next four or five, but his ceiling is high enough in a double game week to be worth a gamble. Ola Kamara would be my pick this week for a Crew player, I already have him on my team and don’t think it is totally unreasonable to captain him.
Avoid: Like Friday mystery casserole at work, stay away from these players, your GI tract will thank you.
Everything in your body is probably pushing you towards picking up a DC United player. Patrick Mullins got a brace this week and had a hat trick earlier this year, Taylor Kemp is one of the best defenders in the league, Luciano Acosta is one of the most exciting attackers in MLS, but I beseech you to avoid doing this. Ben Olsen hates Fantasy MLS and has probably been having his players trying to attack and play soccer that looks attractive as a giant false flag operation just to deceive you into thinking that he’ll do anything other than rotate half his squad to try and park the bus and bunker his way to 2 points this week. Do not put your fantasy team’s well being in his hands: just stay away, for the good of your soul, stay away.
I’d also avoid anyone from Montreal. They are falling apart, if you have any of their players you obviously shouldn’t drop them on the double game week because who knows what can happen, but I’d stay away from them as they continue to disintegrate down the stretch. Drogba is also unlikely to play a full 90 against Orlando since they play on turf so keep that in mind.