This weekend Atlanta played Real Salt Lake in their grey top and mismatched white bottom kit, it is not a good look for the team. My understanding is that Atlanta could not wear red shorts because Real Salt Lake was wearing all red and that perhaps this would confuse viewers at home or not give enough contrast to line judges or referees far from the action. I understand this I suppose, but what I don’t understand is why MLS decided to attempt their own version of the NFL color rush uniform scheme with the Earth Day kits that NYCFC, Orlando City, the Seattle Sounders, and LA Galaxy wore on Sunday.
A soccer league that is reliant on advertising revenue as a business model which drives the consumerism that is destroying the planet is more than a little problematic promoting an Earth Day campaign, but I digress. I just wanted to watch some soccer and my old TV that gets hot enough to cook eggs on, sometimes randomly turns itself off, and at times I think is actively shooting radiation waves into my eyes to give me eye cancer and has probably degraded to only show picture in about 12p meant that the light grey vs white kit situation really made it difficult for me to passively watch soccer while I was doing other stuff on my lap top.
I’m not sure what I missed in those games, Orlando beat NYCFC and the LA Galaxy sank into a black hole against Seattle so I’m guessing not much. But hey, at least Adidas makes jerseys out of recycled plastic from the oceans now so environmental degradation will have a big mission accomplished banner hanging over it any day now.
Anyway, onto the Rekrap:
Good goals galore
The goals came back to town this week as 33 Adidas Nativos found their way across the goal line. Still despite that five defenders made it to the dreamteam this week each from a different team. That said there were big goals from big names like Clint Dempsey, Sebastian Giovinco, and Lee Nguyen. Hopefully this signals the return of Giovinco and some semblance of order and reason to the fantasy season.
The Whiff of the Century
Chris Wondolowski is known for missing a goal in the World Cup that many mischaracterize as easy. I’ve never thought the goal was that easy - makeable, sure but his shot would have had to go through the coelom of Thibaut Courtois in order to have been a miracle moment. All of this is to say that the shot was harder than it looked and people act like it actually went down like this:
Oh Wondo. #NEvSJ pic.twitter.com/0adx6H8Y9Z— Ben Baer (@BenBaer89) April 20, 2017
This is such a bad miss - if you look at the start of the clip he actually points at the exact spot that he will eventually wildly dive at the ball like a helpless child falling off of the 10 meter high dive platform. I feel like the universal disdain that everyone has for Wondo was channeled into this exact moment in time and caused him to execute the worst miss since William S. Burroughs.
A Dystopian Galaxy
Did you know the classic film The Running Man takes place in 2017? If you haven’t seen it you really are missing something great it’s about Arnold Schwarzenegger who plays a cop who is framed for a massacre in Los Angeles. The movie takes place in a dystopian universe when an economic collapse leads to the United States becoming a militaristic, fascist, police state and in order to entertain the restless population the government hosts a television program in which enemies of the state are executed in imaginative and gruesome ways basically by pro wrestlers (the filmmakers were perhaps half right in how the future would turn out 30 years later).
Not to spoil the film, but Schwarzenegger is on the show as a criminal and the producers and government mules running the show can’t figure out how to kill him even though their best gladiators try their best.
That’s what its like watching the LA Galaxy this year - wave after wave of hired guns being unable to come together and vanquish their enemies despite the full force and support of the state putting resources behind the team. All that came to a head this weekend as the Galaxy lost 3-0 to Seattle and is sitting two points behind Minnesota in the standings.
Anyway, onto the picks!
Goalkeepers and defenders: There are a lot of high scoring offenses playing bad defenses and the typical teams to count on for clean sheets don’t have great matchups. That said: I like two defenses this week - Atlanta United and Orlando City. DC United and the Colorado Rapids have both been atrocious in front of goal this season and both are on the road to good defenses.
Look at Alec Kann (ATL, $4.6) for a solid inexpensive option in goal and for a big bold center back pick look to Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (ATL, $6.0). Orlando City has more economical options in the back with Donnie Toia (ORL, $5.0), who also has a decent floor, and Jonathan Spector (ORL, $5.7) who anchors their backline. Another decent matchup is Toronto hosting Houston, but the Dynamo have shown they can score so I’m less sure of a clean sheet there.
Midfielders have better matches this week. If you want a sneaky pick look at Javier Morales (FCD, $9.2) against Portland who might have trouble holding possession without Diego Valeri this week. Romain Alessandrini (LAG, $9.6) has a good match against a defensively inept Philly team and is the best thing from LA this year aside from the diving viral video from the Portland game. Nico Lodiero (SEA, $11.3) has yet to live up to his price tag this year but that could change against an attack first, attack second, defend third New England team this week. For a cheap option this week look at Alex Muyl (NYRB, $6.4) who you may need if you are going to fit Lodiero on your team at his price.
Options at forward this week on decent home games include Bradley Wright-Phillips (NYRB, $10.0) and Clint Dempsey (SEA, $9.6) who has a great matchup against New England. Also, I think Giovinco (TOR, 12.2) or Jozy Altidore (TOR, $9.9) should be a good number of rosters this week.
Captain: Nico Lodiero, I think he’ll put up an eye popping number against New England and you’ll want to double it up.
Defenders from Vancouver and San Jose have tough matchups this week so stay clear of them. I also think if you are going to see a weird game this week it will be between RSL and Sporting KC. The teams have developed a rivalry over the years and their games tend to be pretty unpredictable with odd late goals and unexpected red cards. RSL hasn’t been good on the road so maybe risking a SKC defender wouldn’t be a bad idea but I’m keeping players from both teams off my squad this week.