Ah yes, the international break. A time to sit back and watch World Cup qualifiers as America’s best including Juan Agudelo, Chris Wondolowski, and Gyasi Zardes get called in to represent the U.S. Men’s National Team. Granted, Zardes left due to injury, but Bruce Arena seems convinced that he can make it to the Men’s World Cup to replicate his doomed 2006 campaign. If he’s going to do it, the squad he’ll do it with a class of players that never quite reached its potential while the exciting young players waiting in the wings seem to be, at least in Arena’s mind, not yet ready for the big stage.
The international break is also a time to watch Major League Soccer, because of course it is. Atlanta and Minnesota kick things off in the “Minnesota is lucky this game didn’t happen when Atlanta had their full squad available as they did when this game was originally scheduled back in August” derby. Rosters lock at 7PM tonight so check the international callups list and get ready for the week (er, 8 days).
Anyway, onto the rekrap...
That’s what clean sheets will do
Last week was a little weird, only one defender had fewer points than the highest scoring midfielder and there were some impressive scores out of fantasy midfields this week. Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez gets a shout this week though as the Atlanta United center back pulled in 21 points which has drawn him even with Justin Morrow with most defender points in fantasy. This is all the more impressive because Morrow is so mixed in with the attack for Toronto and needed a hat trick in order to stay above LGP for highest defender overall score.
Woe be those who trusted Bradley Wright-Phillips. Somehow he couldn’t find the net against D.C. United and was shut down by Toronto FC. More impressive was manager Mike Petkie who is so confident that his team will make the playoffs that he decided to rest BWP against Toronto ahead of having a week off before his next game.
FC Mufasa back from the dead
Orlando City is back in the playoff hunt! They couldn’t beat FC Dallas but the Hoops might just have beaten themselves thanks to making a player ineligible before the game. Orlando still needs to actually win some games, score goals against teams that have 11 players on the field, and hope that the Red Bulls are as bad as I keep saying they are to get that 6th spot in the East.
I can actually go team by team this time, get ready for some analysis.
Atlanta United: For now I just have Tito Villalba, but I might put Julian Gressel in depending on how the lineup looks when we get closer to kickoff. In defense, I am worried about the clean sheet potential for this team with Anton Walkes due for some rest tonight and Kyle Reynish in goal. That said, this game could be a wild one as Minnesota will be missing their first choice center back pairing. This could also be a chance to have some fun with differential picks especially with Kenwyne Jones potentially starting and Jacob Peterson likely to get some time on the field as well. It is a big drop off from the first and second choices for Minnesota’s backline.
Minnesota United: It’ll be all about the attack for the Loons. Christian Ramirez on a double game week with a game against Kyle Reynish in goal (sorry) is too good to pass up and he’s a must own. NASL all-star Ibson gets a shout this week as well as the MNUFC midfielder has a decent floor which is about all you can hope for this week. Finally, look at Ethan Finlay perhaps as a switcheroo (that’s where I have him), he’s been a lot better since moving up north this summer.
Sporting Kansas City: They will be without seven players including Matt Besler and Benny Feilhaber, still there are some pieces here to look at. Even though Peter Vermes hates fantasy soccer and will probably rotate his team away to Minnesota and Houston this week, Tim Melia in goal is a must start along with Ike Opara in defense. For now I also have Seth Sinovic and Gerso in the off chance those players actually get more than 90 minutes this week.
New York Red Bulls: What are we going to see out of New York? They rotate, they haven’t won since beating Orlando in week 23 and they are taking on a Vancouver team that is taking advantage of a weak Western Conference. I only really like Daniel Royer this week, he’s back, he plays more centrally and takes a chunk of points away from Sacha Kljestan, and actually has decent results in fantasy. Vancouver might have trouble evading the NYRB press though and Aaron Long in defense or Luis Robles could get a good point haul in the back.
Vancouver Whitecaps: Last week was a huge result for Vancouver, they beat SKC away from home and managed to look pretty decent doing it. They’ll be missing Kendall Waston, Christian Bolanos, and keeper Stefan Marinovic so some players will need to step up. I don’t really like a lot of their players for fantasy, as of now I just have Yordy Reyna in my squad though Tim Parker, Christian Techera, and Fredy Montero are good picks and Brek Shea could be in for a start with Bolanos away.
Houston Dynamo: They’ll be missing several starters so I’m mostly looking at Cubo Torres though their matchup against SKC is less than ideal especially with Elis and Quioto missing. Their play down the wings will be sorely missed.
FC Dallas: The Hoops need wins. They’re even on points with RSL and San Jose for now, but with a decision looming on whether or not they fielded an ineligible player against Orlando, they might be three points behind those teams as they head to Colorado. In any case, they need to get some points but nothing is going right for them. Maxi Urutti isn’t scoring, Mauro Diaz is struggling as he comes back from injury, Michael Barrios apparently shouldn’t be on the field, Kellyn Acosta seems to have regressed, and they lost to Minnesota recently. My only FCD player is Hernan Grana but I’m tempted by Javier Morales in midfield who might get a start against a Colorado team he’s had success against with Acosta on national team duty.
Colorado Rapids: No. They might get a clean sheet and maybe Dominic Badji gets a goal, but who cares? There are better options at striker and in the back while Colorado wallows in futility to end yet another lost season.
Diego Rubio: I just don’t think he’s reliable enough even with two games.