MLS Fantasy Tips: Value for money picks

The new Major League Soccer season is drawing ever closer and that means it’s time to start weighing up your MLS fantasy football options ahead of the new campaign.

Here we’ll look at the best players in terms of value for money from the current list of players on the official MLS Fantasy Soccer game. We’re excited for the new season and fantasy football is one of the best ways to get involved with the fastest growing league in world sport if you’re new to MLS.

Below is a list of the five players we believe will be more than worth their price tag this year and some of them should probably be worth more.

Everyone will want that star name whether it be Kaka, David Villa or Robbie Keane but we take a look at the players that will keep you in the hunt for the fantasy title in your league at a more affordable price.

1. Bryan Rochez – Striker (Orlando City)

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It’s surprising that you can have a new Designated Player for just $7.0m. Rochez is a risk, but we believe he’s one worth taking, as you have to assume he will lead the Orlando City line. And after all, someone has to finish Kaka’s great work. Right?

2. Dan Kennedy – Goalkeeper (FC Dallas)

Kennedy was left without a club after the disbandment of Chivas USA. and Dallas picked him up in the Dispersal Draft and now he can be yours for $5.0m.

In terms of a starting goalkeeper, that price is cheap. Especially when you consider Dallas is expected to challenge for a playoff spot again this season. The only catch could be Chris Seitz as the ‘keeper made 14 starts last year and will compete with Kennedy for the starting role.

3. Will Bruin – Striker (Houston Dynamo)

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Bruin will start up top going into the season, and depending on the form of Erick Torres upon arrival, he could be a crucial member to this Houston side for the entire campaign.

He scored ten times in 27 appearances last term so he has proved he can deliver. A slight risk at $8.0m but we believe he’ll be more than worth that price tag, especially in the early months of the season.

4. Otis Earle – Defender (FC Dallas)

A first round draft pick this year and at $4.0m Earle is the cheapest it can get and we are hoping the young defender will see regular first-team action in Dallas after Jair Benitez left the club.

Earle is known to attack down the left side from left-back and could form a lethal partnership with Fabian Castillo this year.

And at such a low price he’s worth having in the side even if you’re just making room for a star man like Kaka or Sebastian Giovinco.

5. Sam Cronin – Midfielder (Colorado Rapids)

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Cronin was traded to the Rapids from the San Jose Earthquakes in the offseason and is set to partner Marcelo Sarvas in a new-look Colorado midfield so he will see game time.

If you just want someone who will reliably see the field week in, week out, then Cronin is your guy. And at $6.0m, he is a low risk pick.

Who do you think will be the best fantasy player for value in 2015?

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MLS 2015 Season Preview: FC Dallas

In the build up to the new season we’ll have a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what FC Dallas will be looking to achieve this year. 

Last season saw FC Dallas record their highest points total ever as they picked up 54 points and advanced to the MLS Playoffs for the first time in three seasons. Head coach Oscar Pareja has his team well drilled and supporters will be expecting the team to progress even more this year. Not too many changes to the squad have been made and Dallas are in a perfect position to pick up where they left off.

Last season’s finish: Western Conference position: 4th – P34 – W16 – D6 – L12

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What needs to change this year?

FC Dallas need to find a solid level of consistency throughout the campaign this season. Last year they went through a poor spell without a win in eight but also managed to go unbeaten through ten games after that. Finding a performance level that allows them to continuously put points on the board is what Pareja has to do. The Hoops could improve their away form too as they only won four games on the road in 2014.

Scoring goals wasn’t a problem last year and it shouldn’t be this year either despite the fact Dallas have yet to add any attacking players to the roster. The club will expect to make the playoffs once again and will hope to advance further than they did last term. They were unfortunate against the Seattle Sounders as they were knocked out on away goals in the Western Conference semi-final.

Key changes to the squad:

Ins: Alex Zendejas – Midfielder, Dan Kennedy – Goalkeeper, Atiba Harris – Midfielder, Otis Earle – Defender, Kyle Bekker – Midfielder

Outs: Jair Benitez – Defender, Andres Escobar – Midfielder, Raul Fernandez – Goalkeeper, Hendry Thomas – Midfielder, George John – Defender

Key player: Fabian Castillo – Winger

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The pacey Colombian scored ten goals in 27 regular season appearances last year and seemed to improve with each week. He has just put pen to paper on a huge five-year contract and is a player capable of firing Dallas into the playoffs almost single-handedly.

One to watch: Otis Earle – Defender

The young Englishman was selected in the first round of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and will hope to make an immediate impact in Major League Soccer. Otis Earle should step in as Jair Benitez’s replacement at left-back and could form a strong partnership with Castillo down the left flank for Dallas.

Predicted finish: Western Conference – 4th

FC Dallas will expect to build on last year’s record points tally but will do well to finish as high in a fiercely competitive Western Conference. Another fourth-placed finish in 2015 would be an achievement for Dallas though they would hope to go further in the playoffs.

What are you expecting to see from FC Dallas in 2015?

Otis Earle: FC Dallas move a “dream come true”

English left-back Otis Earle will be playing in MLS this season after he was selected by FC Dallas with the 15th pick of the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday.

The London native will hope to make an immediate impact in the Dallas side, especially as long-term left-back Jair Benitez was waived at the end of last season.

Moises Hernandez is expected to be the first-choice left-back come the start of the season for FC Dallas but Earle is just looking forward to get started with his new team in MLS.

“It’s a dream come true,” Earle said after being drafted in the first round. “FC Dallas is a great team. I met with them during the Combine and really liked the coaching staff.

“I got a good feel for what they want to do, how they want to play and I thought that was a team I could contribute to. I’m really thankful for the opportunity and just ready to get to work now.”

Otis Earle in action at the 2015 MLS PLayer Combine (Photo via mlssoccer.com)

Otis Earle in action at the 2015 MLS PLayer Combine (Photo via mlssoccer.com)

The club’s technical director Fernando Clavijo was delighted to have picked up Earle with the fifteenth pick and feels the 22-year-old can be a solid player for the Western Conference side this year.

“He’s strong with the ball. He understands, he grew up in a good environment in soccer in England,” Clavijo said.

“I think he has a lot of attitude to the game that is going to help us. He’s a guy that can go up and down the field. With his service, can he get a little bit better, probably yes, but he’s a good asset for us.”

Earle is a real threat going forwards as a left-back and ended 2014 with two goals and four assists for UC Riverside, and he will hope to see plenty of action in MLS with FC Dallas now.

How good a selection was Otis Earle for FC Dallas?

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Otis Earle ahead of MLS Player Combine

Young English defender Otis Earle will be at the MLS Player Combine in early January, looking to impress scouts from all 20 Major League Soccer clubs ahead of the MLS SuperDraft on January 15.

The 22-year-old London native is the son of former Premier League player Robbie Earle who now does media work in America.

Otis Earle moved from Epsom College to California to play for UC Riverside and after impressing during his four seasons with the Highlanders, he is now close to making it as a professional in the fastest growing sports league in the world.

“I’m very excited for the MLS Combine. It’s a great opportunity to represent my school, as well as myself and I am looking forward to showing the various scouts and coaches what I can do,” he said.

“Football in the US is growing, there’s no doubt about that. So as a young player striving to get drafted, it’s a very exciting time.”

Otis Earle in action for UC Riverside (Photo by Gabriel L. Acosta)

Otis Earle in action for UC Riverside (Photo by Gabriel L. Acosta)

More and more English youngsters are moving to America to play soccer and the Earle belives the standard is almost as good as that in the UK now.

“The standard over here is very high. Extremely close to that seen in England. Especially in Southern California, where I’ve been playing. The game is played the right way, with a lot of technical players.

“I think the idea of scholarships and college sports are a great idea and something that the UK could possibly learn from.

If you don’t make it at a young age in the UK, there are no real options. Over here, you can still pursue your professional goals whilst attending a college and getting an education.”

The MLS SuperDraft see’s MLS clubs draft college players and other youngsters, and it is a great way for players such as Earle to get their chance to play in the rapidly growing world of Major League Soccer.

The left-back scored two goals and picked up four assists in 15 games for UC Riverside in 2014 and is certainly a player with the potential to be a star.

He will now be preparing for the MLS Player Combine in less than a month and Earle admits that he is ready for the next chapter of his career.

“I would love to get drafted. I feel like I’m ready to make the next step in my career and to challenge myself as both a person and a player.

It’s an exciting time but I need to just keep my head down, stay focused and hopefully things will work out.”

MLS Combine 2015: Three Englishmen will be involved

The list of 55 college athletes that will take part at the Adidas 2015 MLS Player Combine next month has been revealed.

The combine will take place between January 8-13, so it’s not far away, and it will signal the biggest trial of these players careers to date.

Coaches from all 20 MLS clubs will be at the combine to scout talent ahead of the 2015 SuperDraft on Thursday January 15.

Adidas 2015 MLS Player Combine

We take a look at the three Englishmen that will be involved:

Otis Earle – Defender (Oregon State)

Otis Earle is the son of former Wimbledon star Robbie Earle who played in the Premier League, as well as at a World Cup for Jamaica. So Earle has a lot to live up to. Born and raised in Epsom, England, he now attends the University of California, Riverside, where he is an established centre-back.

MLS clubs will know of his father’s accomplishments and will be hoping that Earl can replicate it if they choose to draft the youngster.

Laurie Bell – Midfielder (Milwaukee)

Laurie Bell is the most decorated of the three Brits set to be at the combine. Bell has previously been a part of the Rochdale and Manchester City academies, and he was a first team All-American in 2013.

Born and raised in Poynton, England, he now captains the Milwaukee Panthers and has huge potential and he is definitely one to watch.

Will Seymour – Midfielder (Oregon State)

Will Seymour is originally from Colorado Springs, California, but he moved to Cambridge where he represented his county. He has also had trials with England Schoolboys U18’s.

An Oregon State senior, Seymour could be a surprise package at the combine.

Generation Adidas players, lower NCAA division seniors and international invitees will join the 55 that were selected. So there is set to be a lot of competition.

The combine results could change the course of the MLS SuperDraft, which takes place just two days after the conclusion of the MLS Player Combine in Philadelphia.