It came back this weekend - the glorious MLS visibility ball. Never has an orb so perfectly represented the spirit of its league, it is the physical manifestation of the fact that nothing will stop the relentless forward progress of Major League Soccer. Stadium delays, playing on baseball fields, David Beckham showing no visible interest in being an owner for the past three years, pro/rel twitter, and weather all battle with futility to prevent the league from playing the beautiful game and all fail to stop it.
What more could you want from MLS this week? There was a snowball fight.
Anyway, onto the Rekrap:
The beauty of the touch and the glory of the long ball
There were some preposterous goals this week. As much as it might pain me to say it, the assist from Jozy Altidore (TOR, $9.9) to set up the Sebastian Giovinco (TOR, $12) goal against Atlanta was pure beauty. The awareness and skill to dink the ball off of the outside of his boot when it was played behind him rather than try to touch it forward to set up his own shot should fill USMNT fans hearts with hope that Jozy’s hamstrings hold together well enough for the summer World Cup Qualifier against Mexico - because Gyasi Zardes (LA, $9.0) doesn’t have that touch.
Better still was Hector Villalba (ATL, $9.7) who scored a brace, perhaps due to some dodgy keeping from Alex Bono (TOR, $4.7), thanks to Atlanta playing some of the most beautiful route 1 soccer you’ll ever see.
The signature late MLS goal strikes again
MLS needs to end games at the 87th minute or so. I lost a grand total of 20 points - TWENTY - thanks to Chris Wondolowski hitting a last minute goal for once and the Colorado Rapids getting a penalty that two point Tim Melia couldn’t save at the end of their respective matches. I dropped about 1000 spots in the rankings this week and need to come up with something to gain some ground.
If you were taking my defensive advice last week I was leaning pretty heavily on SKC players so I hope you went the other direction I was leaning towards and took Joe Bendik (ORL, $5.1) who led keepers with 10 points.
A delicate snowflake
For a team from Canada that has mountains on its crest and is named after snow, the Vancouver Whitecaps melted in the poor conditions against Real Salt Lake. Sure, they played a mid-week game against Tigres in the CONCACAF Champions League, but I’d have expected a better result out of a defensive team that tries to strike out on the counter against a RSL side that had scored three goals all season.
It should be encouraging to fantasy owners, and perhaps worrying for Atlanta United fans, that Joao Plata (RSL, $9.0), Yura Movsisyan (RSL, $7.4), and Albert Rusnak (RSL, $9.2) all had a decent game with Ruskak leading all fantasy points with 16 this week.
Goalkeeper: I said last week that I didn’t like clean sheets and the week ended with 6 teams managing to keep their opponents from scoring of 22 possible scoreless results. This week I really don’t like clean sheets. Colorado is not their same old self without Sjoberg, San Jose looked more cohesive against Seattle but I doubt they’ll keep FC Dallas from scoring, and Vancouver has been all over the place with their results so the old reliable defensive picks haven’t been so reliable.
Where’s that leave us for a keeper? I like Luis Robles (NYRB, $6.0) against DC United who still look shaky after starting the season on a long scoreless streak. The Rapids looked pitiful going forward against SKC and while Real Salt Lake has let in a lot of goals, this is a rare time a road keeper could get a good score so look at Nick Rimando (RSL, $5.9). For a cheap option take a look at Alec Kann (ATL, $4.8) he gets a lot of saves and Montreal may miss Ignacio Piatti for a chunk of the game.
Defenders: Aaron Long (NRYB, $5.2) has a decent matchup at home with DC United visiting Red Bull Arena. I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (ATL, $6.4), his price is high for a defender but the lowest he’s scored in a game is 5 points and he’s got more overall points than Nicolas Lodeiro.
Midfielders: I love the Houston vs. Minnesota game for fantasy. I think the match could end 6-5 or put up some silly numbers. Alex (HOU, $7.6) should get back on track and I think Kevin Molino (MIN, $9.9) writes his name at least once on the score sheet. Aside from that game, Miguel Almiron (ATL, $9.3) is a bit of a homer pick but I think Atlanta will control more of the ball against Montreal who will be missing Marco Donadel who will be suspended with a red card.
Forwards: The Philadelphia Union have allowed two goals in each of their games except for their opener against Vancouver and I think they’ll have a rough day against NYCFC led by David Villa (NYCFC, $10.4). The Houston, Minnesota game has so much value for forwards it looks like a Wal Mart on Black Friday - run, do not walk, to get Cubo Torres ($8.6) and Christian Ramirez (MIN, $8.0).
Any LA Galaxy player, put them in the garbage can. LA is still figuring it out under new manager Curt Onalfo and they have to get on an airplane this week. I don’t think Orlando will keep another clean sheet but I have no idea what to expect out of LA yet and until they are consistent I’m staying away unless they have a good game at home.
In the Colorado game the Fox Sports commentators were discussing that Pablo Mastroeni realized he needed a goal scorer in MLS. It’s taken him three years to figure this out. Colorado doesn’t have a goal scorer and his key central defender Axel Sjoberg is his team’s best player. Without the big Swede the Rapids net is filling up with herring and they aren’t hauling in any of their own and that’s not a good thing.