Minnesota might as well have had Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and Daffy Duck on the field against New England as the Revolution managed to score five goals against the Loons without the aid of snow. Of course the international break taking key MNUFC players Kevin Molino and Francisco Calvo away from the club. Stepping into the void was Vadim Demidov who didn’t quite step far enough as his presence in the backline again led to the defense allowing at least five goals.
Despite only six teams playing this should not have been a bad week for attentive managers who picked home teams or players from the Portland Timbers. Most of the big name players who were available this week put up good points with the exception of those on the Red Bulls who were held scoreless.
Anyway, onto the Rekrap.
Try the Chowdah
Virtually any player for the New England Revolution had a decent game, unless they were a defender not named Tierney or played in goal - I mean, Scott Caldwell had an assist in this game. The unlimited transfer system is a thing of beauty and when I saw Demidov in at center back for Minnesota I rushed to bring in Lee Nguyen and Kei Kamara. Juan Agudelo had a particularly good day as Swagudelo picked up 14 points.
Northern New Jersey Non-Fulfillment
It would be really easy to pick on Minnesota, who traveled to Massachusetts with 17 players, by making a Lake Wobegon joke about playing your best with a bad pun or something but I won’t do that. I am going to say that the 4-2-2-2 isn’t working so far for New York. Sacha Kljestan struggles with it and the rest of the team didn’t step up and show that the system was more successful without him in it. While RSL parked the bus to salvage a point under an interim manager with several suspended or injured players, New York failed to score a goal or generate many chances. The 4-2-2-2 just doesn’t add up.
The MLS Moment of the Week
In one of the most entertaining games of the young season, Columbus beat Portland after the Crew went down 1-0 early to the Timbers. Late goals given up by away teams is a theme in MLS and the Crew won on an 84th minute goal from Niko Hansen, who?, as Columbus seems to be getting back to their 2015 season form.
A word of caution. Just because the international break is over, it doesn’t mean that the players who were absent will come back. These aren’t soccer robots who can fly back to their teams on Wednesday or Thursday and play over the weekend, they’re flesh and blood humans and they need to rest - except for Jukka Raitala*, that guy is totally a robot. Check this list before making your selections knowing that players who got a lot of minutes are at risk of being rotated or coming off early as subs.
Rosters lock at 7:30PM EST when Toronto FC and Sporting KC kick off.
I think this will be a lean week for clean sheets but if I like one match to produce one, it is DC United hosting the Philadelphia Union. United has had two weeks of practice and I expect Ben Olsen’s side to regain their defensive form this week and Bill Hamid (DCU, $5.4) is a good option at a decent price.
If you want a cheap option against a struggling offense, look at Alex Bono (TOR, $4.7) who is facing Sporting KC. Bono may be in a position battle with Clint Irwin so be sure he’s starting before adding him to your team.
If you want to double up on a DCU defender, take a look at Taylor Kemp (DCU, $5.8) who likes to get forward for United and will be going against a soft Philadelphia defense.
Alexander Callens ($NYCFC, $4.7) is inexpensive and has a decent matchup against San Jose this week. The Quakes may suffer from not having Chris Wondolowski and David Bingham in practice the past week and may have to rotate Anibal Godoy who just played 90 minutes against the US.
My stars, I think I have a case of the vapors - or perhaps it’s GresselMania! In any case the only cure is Julian Gressel (ATL, $4.5). His price can’t be beat and he could get a really decent score for his price if he plays further up the field in place of Miguel Almiron. At worst, set up a switcheroo with him and hedge your bets.
Diego Valeri (POR, $10.2) laid an egg last week but this week I think he’ll be back to his higher scoring self at home against the holey New England defense.
For a mid-priced pick take a look at Luciano Acosta (DCU, $8.5). He played 74 minutes in his first start and while DC hasn’t scored yet, they won’t go 31 more games without netting a goal and Philadelphia has an awful defense.
In his two games without a goal, David Villa (NYCFC, $10.2) has 5 and 6 points. In the game he scored in, Villa put up 16. That’s a pretty good floor and a great ceiling and against a San Jose team that was missing some key pieces over the break I’ll have him on my team.
Ola Kamara (CLB, 10.4) is in some of the best form of any MLS forward who is healthy or didn’t play Minnesota last week. He has another good match this week against Orlando.
Speaking of Minnesota, if you want a lower priced option Christian Ramirez (MIN, $7.9) has played very well on a team that has tried to beat teams 7-6 all year but fell a bit short.
My key advice here is to stay away from tired legs who are coming back from international duty. To me any player who played significant minutes is a risk to be rotated so either avoid them or be ready to have an autosub if they don’t play.
I said above I don’t like a lot of defenses this week but topping the list are players from Orlando City, Philadelphia, and San Jose.
Sacha Kljestan - see what I said above about New York looking like Macklemore on the 4s and 2s - stay away from Sacha until the Red Bulls stop relying on own goals to win games. The past two years they have started cold and taken 6 or so games to settle into the season and results aside the same thing is happening now.
Kei Kamara and Juan Agudelo had great games last week but don’t expect the same on the road to Portland. The Timbers are still building cohesion on defense but they’re better than Minnesota.
*Jukka Raitala is not actually a robot.