MLS Fantasy Focus: Time to load up on Quakes stars for latest DGW?

By Jamie Dawe and Sam Martin

If you are squeamish, don’t click on the following link. Nigel De Jong’s horror tackle on Darlington Nagbe overshadowed all other gameplay this weekend and if you want to indulge yourself in this footballing monstrosity, you can watch the challenge here. However, there were some more positive goings on this week in MLS. A total of 14 players picked up a score in the double digits and there were some standout performances from unexpected stars, as well as contributions from the usual suspects.

Week 5 Review

The Good:

It was a more enjoyable experience for the spectators who could enjoy ten 11vs11 matches, the way football should be played, as no red cards were issued this weekend. It was a good week for DC United who picked up only their second win of the season and their first in front of their own supporters. Regular starter Fabian Espindola ($10.1) and late substitute Alvaro Saborio ($7.7) both netted braces in an emphatic 4-0 win over the Whitecaps, bringing them 14 and 11 points respectively and making Espindola the highest point scorer of the week. Also standing out this weekend, Real Salt Lake extended their unbeaten run to five games with star of the season so far, Joao Plata ($9.5) netting his fourth goal of the season.

At the other end of the Western Conference, Seattle Sounders’ defender Chad Marshall ($8.5) equalised in the 94th minute to save a point for the Sounders against Houston as he picked up 10 points for the gameweek himself. Having heavily criticised the Chicago defence on the opening game of the season (conceding four goals at home to New York City), it’s clear their players must have been paying attention to the criticism, as they have gone on to concede just one goal from their next four matches and are yet to lose since the opening day. This meant that ‘keeper Matt Lampson ($4.7), along with defenders Johan Kappelhof ($7.7), Jonathan Campbell ($5.1), Rodrigo Ramos ($6.1) and Michael Harrington ($5.3) all picked up between 6 and 10 points this weekend. Houston Dynamo striker Giles Barnes scored a fine goal, which also deserves a mention here as he casually looped the ball over Stefan Frei’s head to put the Dynamo in the lead. It’s certainly worth a watch and you can do just that right here.

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The Bad:

For the first time all season, there was not a single red card in any match during the weekend! However, one sour point was Nigel De Jong’s ($9.1) tackle on USMNT star Darlington Nagbe ($9.0), which was certainly a tackle worthy of a red. It does seem that De Jong has been retrospectively banned, but we’re yet to find out how long for.

Whilst it may not have been a weekend for red cards, there were a large quantity of own goals and defensive disasters to talk about. Portland Timbers’ Nat Borchers ($7.7) netted a late own goal to rescue LA Galaxy a point as Portland continued their winless run that has lasted since their only victory of the season on opening day. Also guilty of scoring at the wrong end, San Jose defender Victor Bernardez ($7.5) chalked up Dallas’ equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Toyota Stadium. Defensively, it was a horror show for the Vancouver Whitecaps, who let in four goals away to DC United, with none of their back four picking up anymore than 2 points this week. Meanwhile in the Eastern Conference, Bradley Wright-Phillips ($10.7), a man who netted 18 goals last season, is yet to score a goal this term. He fired ten shots on Saturday (more than anyone else in a single game so far this season) and missed a perfect opportunity to end this drought, missing from the penalty spot against Sporting Kansas City. New York have failed to score in four out of five games this season, although ironically it has been their defence that has been hit by injury, so their first-choice attack has no excuse for not racking up the goals so far.

Bradley Wright-Phillips Clint Irwin

Week 6 Preview

Must Buy:

It’s double gameweek time! The second DGW of the MLS season gives you the opportunity to bring in an impressive points haul. With San Jose playing two out of form teams in the New York Red Bulls and Portland Timbers, my money would be behind them for banking some top scoring players. My main suggestions would be the ever reliable Chris Wondolowski ($10.7), who will also take any penalties, along with key men Quincy Amarikwa ($7.6) and Marvell Wynne ($7.0), both of whom will surely start both games. If you’re looking for value for money out of the double gameweek players, look no further than the Rapids’ Ugandan midfielder Micheal Azira ($5.5) and towering Swedish centre-back Axel Sjoberg ($5.5). Returning SKC captain Matt Besler ($8.7) might also be a good shout if you’re looking for a big name defender to bolster your squad.

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Must Sell:

Chicago Fire only play twice in the next two gameweeks, whereas other teams will tally several games in that period – so it’s worth getting value for money and removing Fire players (aiming at the 14.4% of you that have Brandon Vincent ($5.0). Replace him with a Rapids defender (they play five times in the next four weeks) or stick with a reliable points scorer like Justin Glad ($5.1) or Daniel Steres ($5.2). Anyone who has Darlington Nagbe ($9.0), might want to put their money to better use, as he could be out for an indefinite period of time after leaving the pitch on a wheelchair against the Galaxy on Sunday. Also, SKC defender Kevin Ellis ($6.9) could be about to miss an extended period of time after a nasty groin injury against the Red Bulls – so if you’re the owner of one of the 2,000+ teams that Ellis is in – you might want to look elsewhere for a few weeks.

Who will you be putting in your team for the upcoming DGW?

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MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Sporting Kansas City

Competition: Major League Soccer – FC Dallas vs Sporting Kansas City

Venue: Toyota Stadium – Saturday, March 14 – 20:30 ET (00:30 GMT – Sunday 15)

Match Odds: FC Dallas 23/20 – Draw 23/10 – Kansas City 12/5

Match Preview

FC Dallas host Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night in a battle between two Western Conference sides that are expected to make the MLS Playoffs this year.

Dallas come into the game full of confidence after a late Blas Perez header earned them a 1-0 win against San Jose Earthquakes in front of their own fans last Saturday.

Sporting KC have moved to the West but faced Eastern Conference opposition in the New York Red Bulls last weekend, playing out a 1-1 draw at Sporting Park and they will be without Matt Besler for the trip to Dallas after the USMNT defender was sent off on Sunday night.

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Getting something to take back to Kansas City at Toyota Stadium is unlikely though as FC Dallas have won 10 of their last 12 at home in MLS.

Last year’s only meeting between the two ended 1-1 at Sporting Park with two goals in the last ten minutes sharing the points. The last meeting at Toyota Stadium came in 2013 and also ended as a draw.

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This will be the first of three meetings between Dallas and Sporting KC this season but both are likely to be battling at the top end of the Western Conference come the end of the regular season.

Saturday night’s game will be the 50th Major League Soccer game between the two clubs and it should be an entertaining one as the pair have scored 151 goals in the previous 49 meetings.

Team News

FC Dallas have no fresh injury concerns going into the game but will still be without Stephen Keel (foot) and Coy Craft (shoulder). Head coach Oscar Pareja is unlikely to make any changes to his side so Chris Seitz could retain his place in goal with Dan Kennedy settling for a place on the bench again.

Sporting Kansas City will be without Matt Besler as he serves a one-game suspension while Chance Myers is also out (achilles). Amadou Dia is likely to keep his place at right-back while Erik Palmer-Brown will come in to replace Besler and will hope to keep things tight at the back alongside Ike Opara.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ form: W

Sporting Kansas City’s form: D

Key Stat: Both sides have scored in each of the last six meeting between the clubs. There have been 23 goals in those past six games.

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Key Player: Blas Perez – Perez scored the winner in last week’s win against San Jose and ended the last campaign with five in his last seven. Expect him to be a threat again against an SKC defence that is going to have to cope without Besler.

Score Prediction

FC Dallas 2-1 Sporting Kansas City – The loss of Besler for this one is huge for Sporting KC and Dallas will look to benefit from that. It should be a close game but the home advantage should help see FC Dallas across the line.

MLS Fantasy Tips: Top Defensive Picks

The third installment of our fantasy tips series sees us preview the best defensive options in the official mlssoccer.com fantasy football game.

With the 2015 MLS season fast approaching, we take a look at the best defenders to consider starting in your MLS Fantasy lineup. Here are the five we think could top the points chart this term in defence:

1. Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy) – $9.0m

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A hefty price for the LA Galaxy Designated Player should be money well spent as LA are the favourites to retain their MLS Cup title again this year. With eight clean-sheets in the 2014 regular season, Omar Gonzalez is certainly worth a look so long as your budget can stretch.

The USMNT star is also a threat at set-pieces. He scored four times last season and his experience will be key in defence and attack. One concern would be that he has been known to have injury problems.

2. Liam Ridgewell (Portland Timbers) – $8.5m

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Portland Timbers are expected to have a good season and Liam Ridgewell will play a huge part in any playoff push the Timbers mount. The Englishman is a free-kick specialist and can also play in midfield.

At $8.5m he is an expensive pick but he is worth a look as he has a keen eye for goal and will pick up clean-sheet points that will be so valuable for your team.

3. Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) – $9.0m

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The other half of the USMNT World Cup centre-half pairing, Matt Besler is a strong centre-back that can also pop up with a goal. Top players cost top money and Besler is valued at a price that is risky ($9.0m) but he could bring huge rewards if Sporting KC remain tight at the back.

Sporting Kansas City will be playing in the Western Conference this season but Besler should pick up some clean-sheets on the way. Last year saw Besler record his lowest fantasy points tally in three years but that was largely down to fatigue after the World Cup and he should bounce back in 2015.

4. Brek Shea (Orlando City SC) – $8.0m

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Some might say Brek Shea is a gamble but his versatility could see him move forward from left-back, where he is expected to play, throughout the season and with that he becomes more of a goal threat.

At $8.0m he is still a risk and may not settle back into MLS instantly. But he is going to get game time with Orlando City and may be worth the money so long as the Lions can remain relatively solid at the back.

5. Matt Hedges (FC Dallas) – $9.0m

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FC Dallas star Matt Hedges is a mainstay in a very good Dallas team. With the introduction of Dan Kennedy in goal, Dallas have only strengthened at the back and they are certainly contenders for the MLS Supporters’ Shield. Any club in the hunt for success needs to keep clean-sheets and Dallas are no exception.

Hedges popped up with three goals last season and that total could well increase this term. He was the fourth-highest scoring defender in 2014 and deserves serious attention.

Who do you think will be the best MLS Fantasy defender in 2015?

MLS 2015 Season Preview: Sporting Kansas City

As the 2015 season is now just four days away, the excitement is building. We’ve had a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday in the build up and today we take a look at what Sporting Kansas City will be looking to achieve this season…

Sporting Kansas City endured a long and tough season last time out as they limped into the MLS Playoffs only to be knocked out by the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference playoff game. They will take part in the Western Conference in 2015 as the arrivals of New York City FC and Orlando City SC has seen Sporting KC moved back to the West for the first time since 2004, a season in which they were runners-up for the MLS Cup title but won their first-ever US Open Cup. Manager Peter Vermes has seen many changes to his squad this season and will hope a change of opposition in the West can spark a comeback challenge for the championship in 2015.

Dom Dwyer was a real spark as he netted 22 goals in 31 regular season starts and if he can build on his form then Sporting KC will be a real force. The resigning of Roger Espinoza has strengthened the squad but the loss of centre-back Aurelien Collin could affect their defensive stability.

Last season’s finish: Eastern Conference – P34 – W14 – D7 – L13

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What needs to change this year?

Consistency was a problem in 2014. Sporting Kansas City had a great run of form through the middle of the season but ended the year by losing seven of their last ten. Fitness was a key factor as Matt Besler and Graham Zusi looked exhausted after the USMNT’s World Cup campaign and could not help the side to achieve. Sporting Park needs to become a fortress once more if the club are to do well in a fiercely competitive Western Conference this year as they had the seventh-worst home record last season. Picking up more points on the road than at home is a concern and something that must change from the word go.

Key changes to the squad:

Ins: Bernardo Anor – Midfielder, Jalil Anibaba – Defender, Krisztian Nemeth – Forward, Luis Marin – Goalkeeper, Roger Espinoza – Midfielder, Servando Carrasco – Midfielder.

Outs: Antonio Dovale – Midfielder, Lawrence Olum – Midfielder, Soony Saad – Forward, Aurelien Collin – Defender, CJ Sapong – Forward, Sal Zizzo – Midfield/Forward, Claudio Bieler – Forward, Jorge Claros – Midfielder, Eric Kronberg – Goalkeeper.

Key Player: Dom Dwyer – Forward

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Dom Dwyer was incredible last year as he scored 24 goals across all competitions and led the line perfectly for Sporting Kansas City all season. He lacked support at times but the additions of Nemeth and Espinoza, as well as the return of a fully fit Zusi should only make Dwyer more dangerous. The English forward seems to improve with each game and is undoubtedly a favourite for the Golden Boot come the end of the campaign.

One to watch: Krisztian Nemeth – Forward

Krisztian Nemeth has joined the club this offseason and can play on the wing as well as the main striker. He has already netted five goals and picked up an assist this preseason and looks like he could be a real threat. His versatility will make him a real asset for Peter Vermes this season and the Hungarian is certainly someone to keep an eye on.

Predicted finish: Western Conference – 6th

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Sporting Kansas City may take time to adjust to life back in the Western Conference, especially with the quality of teams around them this year. It looks set to be another tough campaign and a lot will depend on how well the team deal with such long trips. No other clubs are closer than a seven-hour drive and that could be a factor. Still, you can expect Sporting KC to make the playoffs for the fifth straight year and from there they could be dangerous. If Zusi and Besler can get back to their best then Sporting KC could be challenging right at the top of the Western but it may take time to adjust to a new conference with so many new players.

What are you expecting from Sporting Kansas City in 2015?

Is Dom Dwyer the man to inspire Sporting Kansas City back to their best in 2015?

Dom Dwyer enjoyed a really bright season in MLS last campaign, with Bradley Wright-Phillips the only player to find the net on more occasions than the Sporting Kansas City star.

The 24-year-old Englishman contributed to a huge 47% of Kansas City’s goals and helped push them into the playoffs.

Don’t miss: Sporting Kansas City reward Dom Dwyer with a new contract

He will be looking to take his side one step further than they did in this years playoffs in 2015. They were unable to defend their 2013 MLS Cup title and didn’t quite have enough to beat the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference wildcard game.

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Sporting Kansas City will face a new challenge in the Western Conference next season and will look to challenge at the very top despite fierce competition from the likes of Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders and the LA Galaxy.

SKC have good foundations in place to be a club who can offer a challenge to the ‘big boys’ once more in the league. Fitness may be the main reason they fell away this year as stars such as Matt Besler and Graham Zusi looked exhausted from the USMNT’s World Cup campaign.

That said, the club could still do with bringing in a couple of major players that can instantly improve the side.

We saw the difference one signing can make to a side with Jermaine Jones’s arrival at the New England Revolution in August. If Sporting KC can bring in a midfield powerhouse we could see them rise back to prominence.

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With the foundations they have to build upon they may just need a couple of signings to add to the strength and depth of the squad.

Dwyer, who has already been rewarded with a new contract, is committed to the club and will be looking to create history with his side.

His tally of 22 is a personal accolade he will be looking to build on that number next season and there is no reason why he can’t do so.

His ability to notch goals against even the best defences shows he has the capabilities to drive Sporting Kansas City back to the top of Major League Soccer’s hierarchy.  The backing he has at the club, both from the board and the fans will only be adding to his confidence – something he isn’t lacking whatsoever.

Can Dom Dwyer be the man to inspire Sporting Kansas City back to their best?

MLS Combine 2015: USMNT star Matt Besler’s younger brother Nick invited

The 2015 MLS Player Combine is fast approaching, and the younger brother of USMNT star, Matt Besler will be hoping to shine.

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler was a star at this years World Cup and has been a vital part of the SKC squad since his arrival in 2009, helping them to win the MLS Cup in 2013.

His younger brother Nick will be attending the MLS Player Combine in January and looks set for a bright future too.

Nick Besler, of Notre Dame, was part of the 55-strong list of college seniors that were invited to showcase their talents at the combine.

Don’t miss: MLS Combine 2015: Three Englishmen will be involved

He was the captain for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2014 campaign, and has been a mainstay in their midfield for three consecutive seasons.

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After the 2013 season he was selected to the All-ACC first team and he has gone from strength to strength.

A leader like his brother, Nick Besler is touted for a big future. And if he is anything like Matt he will be a great player in Major League Soccer for years to come.

Which MLS club should draft Matt Besler?

5 Takeaways from the USA’s disappointing 4-1 loss to Ireland

The USMNT capped off the 2014 schedule in poor fashion, losing 4-1 to a weakened Republic of Ireland side in Dublin, making it four games without a win – the worst run of form in Jurgen Klinsmann‘s tenure.

Klinsmann has come under some pressure as a result, but the performances on the pitch are what’s costing the team at the moment, and the long rest before the next international game leaves much to work on.

Defensively, USA looked as vulnerable as they have ever been against Ireland, while they failed to capitalise on some good spells of possession at the other end.

One game (or run of games) cannot take away from what has been a remarkable year for US soccer. But the manner of the defeat tonight will leave a sour taste in fans’ mouths until the next time a ball is kicked.

Here are five takeaways from the game:

1. Concentration levels are a major concern

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The deeply concerning trend of conceding late goals continued against Ireland as the USA let in two in the final ten minutes to put the game out of reach. Those two goals mean that the team have now conceded 11 goals in the final ten minutes in their last 11 games. Whether it’s fitness or focus, Klinsmann must address this issue urgently to ensure things change in 2015.

2. Defensive frailties are being exposed too frequently

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Klinsmann shuffled his defence once again for the game against Ireland – a fair move in a friendly as that’s ultimately what they are for, but it backfired greatly. Fabian Johnson looked better and his place in the side is not under threat. Timothy Chandler failed to impress at left-back and his chances must be running out. The major problem was in the heart of defence as Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron looked vulnerable throughout.

Besler has looked exhausted since the World Cup and needs an extended break to recover, whereas Cameron is making too many mistakes in the centre of defence and should be deployed elsewhere. The Jermaine Jones-John Brooks partnership used against Colombia looked solid and needs to be used again come next year. But things are far from certain in defence.

3. Mix Diskerud missed his time to shine

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Diskerud had the chance to impress the nation in the two friendlies but failed in both. He grabbed the goal against Ireland but that was a tap in from close range and his inability to influence the game from midfield is a worry. He is a free agent in January and has been linked with moves to MLS among other leagues. There were believed to be up to 15 scouts watching him tonight but he didn’t exactly take his chance to shine against an average Irish side.

4. Bobby Wood a bright spark

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Bobby Wood gave at least one positive to take from the game as he looked lively and energetic when brought on at halftime. He made a great chance for himself in the second-half but saw his one-on-one agonisingly saved by Shay Given. Wood looks like a player with a bright future if he can work on his finishing, and his ability to bring others into play make him a valuable member of the team going forward.

5. Bill Hamid needs more time before being handed a starting role

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The DC United goalkeeper cannot be blamed in any way for the loss, but he didn’t look as convincing as Brad Guzan does between the sticks and needs to be introduced more gradually now if he is to eventually take the starting job between the sticks. There was little he could do about the deflected goal and the wonderful free-kick, but he could have been off his line quicker for the first goal, and will be disappointed with how easily the second was scored. Hamid is the man for the future, but that is not now, and he needs time to work with the national team.

What did you make of the USA’s display against Ireland?

Breaking down the USMNT 25-man squad for upcoming friendlies

Jurgen Klinsmann named his 25-man squad for the upcoming USMNT friendlies against Colombia and Republic of Ireland today and there were a mixture of familiar faces as well as new ones in the roster.

The two friendlies may not be competitive games, but Klinsmann will want to end an excellent 2014 on a high and the first game against a no.3 ranked Colombia side on Friday will be a real test that many players will relish playing in.

“We want to finish 2014 on a high note and continue to try to meet the top teams eye to eye,” said Klinsmann.

“In these last two games we want our veterans to really become mentors both on and off the field, and we want to see our youngsters take advantage of the opportunity to make their case and grow from the experience. These performances will set the tone for 2015.”

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Bill Hamid (DC United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

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No real surprises here. Tim Howard is taking a year off international duty so Brad Guzan will expect to continue as first-choice. Though the fact that these are friendly games should see rotation between the sticks. Sean Johnson will be delighted with his call-up but he is unlikely to feature. Bill Hamid is certainly looking like the future no.1 ‘keeper and he deserves more and more responsibility from now on.

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)

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Mostly usual names in here but some surprise inclusions nonetheless. Firstly, Matt Besler looked extremely tired at the end of Sporting Kansas City’s season and needs a long rest during the offseason. A long trip to Europe is not what he needs.

John Brooks is also a surprise inclusion as he has fallen down the pecking order at Hertha Berlin while Geoff Cameron and Jermaine Jones have been called up in defence to presumably play centre-back but neither are naturals in the position. Jones is a far better midfielder and the experiment at centre-back against Honduras didn’t exactly flourish. Facing a pacey Colombian attack will be a major test.

DeAndre Yedlin is one of three players called up who are still likely to be involved in the MLS Playoffs and so his game time may be limited. And any action he does see could be in midfield once again.

It’s a shame not to see Bolton Wanderer’s Tim Ream called up as he has been in good form this season.

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Hamburg), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution)

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Michael Bradley misses out as he recovers from a foot injury so some new faces are involved. Lee Nguyen has been rewarded for an incredible year though New England’s participation in the playoffs could limit his game time. Alfredo Morales in involved once again but it would have been nice to see a couple of MLS players called up considering the games are non-competitive.

The likes of Luis Gil, Will Trapp and Perry Kitchen could have all been given the nod by Klinsmann but he has overlooked all three on this occasion.

Kyle Beckerman will hope to forget about Real Salt Lake’s humiliating MLS playoff loss to LA Galaxy by ending what has been a great year for him on a high, while Julian Green could impress again.

Graham Zusi has been overlooked but he looked just as tired as teammate Besler and will likely be pleased that he can recover.

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Jordan Morris (Stanford), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

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The major surprises in the roster are in the attack. Clint Dempsey misses out playing at his former ground Craven Cottage as some new faces are set to see some action. Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, Miguel Ibarra and Rubio Rubin have all made the squad and will be desperate to impress.

Miguel Ibarra plays in NASL and Bobby Wood is struggling to make any kind of impact for an 1860 Munich side that is near the bottom of the 2.Bundesliga.

While Jordan Morris has yet to leave College and is still a student at Stanford. All three will hope to see some minutes but Rubio Rubin is the most exciting to watch.

The 18-year-old has been called up for the second successive time and will expect to win his first cap this time around. He has four assists in nine games for Utrecht in the Eredivisie and is a versatile attacker with a bright future ahead of him.

Jozy Altidore continues to earn call-ups despite failing to get in the Sunderland team while Aaron Johansson and Terrance Boyd are not deemed fit enough having recently recovered from injuries.

Eddie Johnson has been overlooked once again and his USMNT career looks to be over as long as Klinsmann is in charge.

What do you make of the latest USMNT squad?

2014 MLS Season Review: Sporting Kansas City

Eastern Conference Final Position: 5th

Eastern Conference Playoffs: Knockout Round

Best Moment

Coming back from 1-0 down at halftime to beat Toronto away from home on July 26. It showed that the reigning champs still knew how to get the job done, in what was a good run of form.

Worst Moment

It seems obvious but their exit from the MLS playoffs. The defeat in the Eastern Conference knockout round to New York Red Bulls was a major disappointment, especially as they led until the 77th minute. Poor defensive communication saw them concede a last minute Bradley Wright-Phillips winner which sealed their fate. Devastating for the MLS Cup holders.

Player of the Year

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Dom Dwyer has been the standout performer in a tough year for SKC. Losing Graham Zusi and Matt Besler for the World Cup hindered their season, but with Dwyer’s finishing ability, SKC always looked threatening going forward, and he ended the season with an impressive 23 goal tally.

Biggest Win

Sporting Kansas City 4-0 Montreal Impact (April 26 2014)

Chivas USA 0-4 Sporting Kansas City (September 13 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Sporting Kansas City 0-3 D.C United (August 24 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season… 

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They had the highest possession percentage in MLS this year and converting that dominance on the field into more wins will be key. They should aim to be more clinical going forward, and look to get more names on the score-sheet as they became a little over reliant on Dwyer. SKC should come back stronger for the 2015 season and will look to be fighting at the top of the Western Conference after being moved from the Eastern.

Playoff Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Sporting Kansas City

Thursday night will be the last game of the season for one of these MLS heavyweights. Either New York Red Bulls or Sporting Kansas City will be eliminated from the playoffs as they go head-to-head at Red Bull Arena in the Eastern Conference knockout round.

This is one that shouldn’t be missed and it could well turn out to be the tale of two strikers; Bradley Wright-Phillips and Dom Dwyer. Two English strikers who are extremely clinical, and are the top two goalscorers in the league.

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New York Red Bulls home form: Played 17 – Won 10 – Drawn 4 – Lost 3

Whoever outscores the other will likely win the game for their team; as Wright-Phillips did on Sunday night in the final regular season game at Sporting Park.

Sporting Kansas City will be looking for their first win against the Red Bulls in MLS since April 2013. They looked poor defensively in the 2-0 defeat to New York on Sunday, and the fifth-seeded team has it all to do.

Sporting Kansas City away form: Played 17 – Won 6 – Drawn 6 – Lost 5

However, with World Cup stars such as Graham Zusi and Matt Besler in your team you are always in with a shout. Without mentioning they are last year’s MLS Cup winners, so they know how to progress in the playoffs.

Both teams have players that boast strong reputations, but only one side can advance and this is set up to thrill. Enjoy!

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Key Player: Thierry Henry – Potentially his last game of professional football. He has always loved the big occasions and is a legend of the game and a huge asset to this Red Bulls team.

Key Stat: Kansas City has only won two of their last ten in MLS. Not great form to bring into the playoffs.

New York’s last five: L/W/W/L/W

Kansas City’s last five: L/D/W/L/L

Prediction: New York Red Bulls 2 – 1 Sporting Kansas City