MLS Fantasy Focus: Time to invest in Crew attackers for Week 7?

By Jamie Dawe and Sam Martin

Double delirium for the Rapids in Week 6, alongside a duo of poor performances for the Red Bulls made last week a complete reversal of form from the 2015 season. However, FC Dallas have stayed true to last season’s form and top the Supporters’ Shield rankings with 17 points from 8 games, six of which were gained in Week 6 with comfortable wins over SKC and the Timbers. A first goal for Seattle’s Jordan Morris ($8.1) could signal the start of things to come from this much-hyped youngster. Overall, Week 6 was a positive one, with plenty of things to build upon in the coming weeks of the campaign.

Week 6 Review

The Good:

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Only six minutes into his MLS return for Montreal, Didier Drogba’s ($11.5) cheeky back heel leveled the score up at 1-1, as Montreal went on to earn three huge points away to Chicago. Impact teammate Ignacio Piatti ($10.6) netted a stunning 90th-minute winner with a curled effort from the edge of the box in a game dominated by Montreal. Meanwhile, the Sounders’ revival continues as Seattle beat Philadelphia 2-1 with defender Chad Marshall ($8.6) heading home from a corner to score for the second consecutive week. While it may have been a disappointing defeat for New York City, World Cup winning forward ‘El Guaje’, David Villa ($11.3) netted a brace – his third and fourth goals of the season. An emphatic victory for LA Galaxy was was started and continued by a Giovani Dos Santos ($10.9) double, with the Galaxy running away as 4-1 winners in Houston. Portland’s Fanendo Adi ($10.2) also continued his fine form, netting his second brace of the campaign against San Jose. Michael Barrios ($8.1) netted in both of Dallas’ games, which leaves the Western Conference leaders on a six-game unbeaten run. On the theme of unbeaten runs, Real Salt Lake remain the only MLS side yet to lose a league match this season. Juan Manuel Martinez ($8.5) netted early in the second half to make it consecutive 1-0 victories. How long can this incredible run continue for RSL?

The Bad:

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Philadelphia midfielder Roland Alberg ($8.1) picked up two yellow cards within 53 minutes of his side’s 2-1 defeat to Seattle. Columbus Crew’s Tyson Wahl ($6.0) conceded a penalty that teammate Michael Parkhurst then saw red for in a case of mistaken identity in his side’s eventual win over NYCFC. Wahl has since been handed the suspension that Parkhurst was wrongly given. Portland’s Diego Valeri ($10.3) also saw red in the dying moments of Portland’s 3-1 triumph, picking up a 90th minute yellow and 95th minute red card. The Red Bulls made it six defeats from seven as the star club from the 2015 season are being let down by key attacking players such as Bradley Wright-Phillips ($10.5), Lloyd Sam ($8.9) and Mike Grella ($7.8), with the team having only netted five goals from their seven matches so far. A club with such high expectations will be expecting to push on sooner rather than later. Houston Dynamo dropped to the bottom of the Western Conference after being outclassed by LA Galaxy, despite taking the lead within the first minute. The Dynamo have only managed one win so far this campaign (admittedly it was a resounding 5-0 romp against Dallas, with this being Dallas’ only defeat). It summarises the thrilling unpredictability of the league!

Week 7 Preview

Must Buy:

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With Columbus finally returning to form in their victory over NYCFC, now’s the time to stock up on their star players. When Kei Kamara ($10.9), Ethan Finlay ($10.7) and Federico Higuain ($10.3) are firing on all cylinders, they are an unbeatable side. Looking ahead to upcoming DGW’s, adding some SKC players would certainly seem wise. Nuno Coelho ($8.3) is quickly building a name for himself in Kansas City, along with their only two other ever-present starters, goalkeeper Tim Melia ($5.7) and French fullback Amadou Dia ($6.0).

Must Sell:

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Chicago Fire only play once in the next three weeks, so budget-hogging players like David Accam ($9.2) and Kennedy Igboananike ($8.1) need to be discarded for now. Portland are relying incredibly heavily on Adi and the now suspended Valeri, and won’t play in Week 7. Even when they do return to action, it might be worth transferring out Lucas Melano ($8.7), who is extremely pricy for a player that’s yet to really shine. Injuries to Marco Pappa ($8.2), Matt Hedges ($9.0) and Alvas Powell ($7.1) mean these three players will be dead weight for at least the next two or three game weeks and replacements should be brought in.

Who will you be transferring in for Week 7?

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MLS Fantasy Focus: Time to sell the NYCFC defenders ahead of Week 3?

By Jamie Dawe & Sam Martin

The second week of the 2016 MLS season didn’t quite provide the insane quantity of goals, red cards and all round excitement as Week 1, but it was the first week that we could see which teams were settled – and which teams were far from decided on a strongest lineup. Highlights of the week included the 5-0 drubbing of FC Dallas by Houston Dynamo in the Texas Derby and the magic of Sebastian Giovinco once again saving Toronto FC in their 2-2 draw with New York City FC.

Week 2 Review:

The Good:

Ignacio Piatti ($10.4) was at it again this week with a goal and an assist in the Impact’s 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls. Throw in a shot bonus and some defending bonuses – as well as clean sheet points – and this left him with a grand total of 14 points for the week. However, unlike last week, two players managed to outscore Piatti in the shape of David Villa ($11.1) and Andrew Wenger ($7.3). Villa scored two early goals, including one from the penalty spot against Toronto FC before Sebastian Giovinco ($11.8) hauled Toronto back to a 2-2 draw. Wenger created two and finished one off himself to score a terrific 16 points in the Dynamo’s 5-0 win over Dallas, throwing down his credentials for the 2016 season in the process.

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The Bad:

Last season’s finalists FC Dallas had a nightmare start in their first away game, being battered 5-0 at Houston Dynamo. Matt Hedges ($8.9) didn’t look at all worthy of his high price tag, scoring an own goal and putting in an all-round poor performance as the 2015 Western Conference champions were humiliated by a side who hadn’t beaten Dallas in seven games before Sunday. Chicago Fire’s Michael Harrington ($5.2) picked up a red card during his side’s tough 1-1 draw at Orlando as both sides continued their winless starts to the season. The only other red card of the week was given to Vancouver Whitecaps’ Jordan Smith ($6.1). The defender was sent off in his side’s 2-1 defeat at Sporting Kansas City, meaning a score of -3 and of course the customary suspension will follow.

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Week 3 Preview:

Must Buy:

We start at the back. With Houston and LA Galaxy’s first choice ‘keepers both injured, the chance has arrived for backup ‘keepers Brian Rowe ($4.7) and Joe Willis ($4.6) to deliver. They are both cheap options who are now both in the top three point-scoring goalkeepers in MLS Fantasy. They are certainly both making a statement as to why they should hold on to their place in future weeks and deserve consideration. At the opposite end of the pitch, Dominic Oduro ($7.7) of Montreal Impact has made an impressive start to the season, netting two goals and an assist in his opening two games, showing that Montreal at not missing Drogba’s absence. Up next for Montreal is a clash against a leaky FC Dallas side, who conceded five goals at Houston Dynamo. Oduro will see this as an opportunity to continue his solid start, as will Montreal who will be looking to make it three wins from three. Drogba is in line to start but Oduro should continue to be a high point-scorer for the next three weeks. In the centre of the park, Philadelphia’s Chris Pontius ($7.1) is a cheap midfielder who has certainly been worth his value so far. Two goals at the weekend away to Columbus show he is capable of getting on the scoresheet and with the New England Revolution game fast approaching, Pontius may be one of the best bets in fantasy for a budget attacking midfield option.

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Must Sell:

With the first set of international fixtures coming in Week 4, it’s time to be preparing which international call-ups to maybe sell. One definite call-up is Fanendo Adi ($10.0), who is heading to Africa to represent Nigeria in African Nations Cup qualifying. However, a home game against Real Salt Lake may mean managers will want to hang on to him for just one more week. MLS may be incredibly unpredictable but we seem to know one thing for certain at this stage – the NYCFC defence is far from settled and is very leaky. Especially with Vieira deciding to line up with three at the back against Toronto. As a result, it’s difficult to predict any starters in the NYCFC defence or whether they will ever actually gain a clean sheet this season. So, if you’ve got Frederic Brilliant ($8.0) or Jason Hernandez ($6.4), I’d recommend selling sooner rather than later.

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Freddie Shires’ side Jozy and the Pussycats banked an incredible 102 points this week, shooting him up to second in the MLSGB Fantasy League leaderboard. This tally’s primary creators were double-digit scorers Sebastian Giovinco, David Villa and Ignacio Piatti. However, at the top of the leaderboard is still Mack’s team Mack Legend with a grand total of 182 points after two weekends.

Who will you be bringing in for Week 3 in MLS Fantasy Soccer?

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?

FC Dallas’ Tesho Akindele named as MLS Rookie of the Year

FC Dallas forward Tesho Akindele has been named as the 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year, beating Chicago Fire midfielder Harry Shipp and DC United defender Steve Birnbaum to the award.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a fantastic campaign as he scored eight goals and picked up three assists through the 2014 regular season and MLS Playoffs.

Dallas have run a social media campaign supporting Akindele for the past few months with the hashtag #VoteForTesho. The campaign was an outtake of the classic US comedy Napoleon Dynamite starring Tesho Akindele and teammate Matt Hedges.

The support for the forward clearly worked and his impressive form through July and August saw him score six goals in six games – incidentally when nearest rival for the award Harry Shipp‘s form dipped.

Shipp looked like he was going to run away with the award after his incredible start to life in MLS but the FC Dallas man has beaten him to the award in the end.

Akindele was selected with the sixth pick of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and wasn’t disheartened by the fact that he only saw 15 minutes of action through Dallas’ first ten league games.

He went on to become a star and became the youngest Dallas player to ever score a goal in the playoffs when he netted against the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Western Conference knockout round.

Akindele is delighted to have picked up the award and will now be focused on getting FC Dallas back into the playoffs next season.

“It’s honestly one of the best days of my life. It’s such an honor and I couldn’t be happier,” he said upon learning of his award.

Video to celebrate Tesho Akindele’s Rookie of the Year award (via MLS on YouTube):

Do you think Tesho Akindele deserved to be named MLS Rookie of the Year?