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MLS Fantasy Manager: Round 19

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Exploit Gold Cup absences to the fullest!

Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

This past week was full of fireworks...in MLS.  Ha! I kill me. In all seriousness, I spent my first 4th of July in the Los Angeles area after moving here in March. Having spent 15 years in Texas and the rest of my life in Oklahoma, you might guess that I enjoy a good firework show. You would be correct. You might also think that in pinko, tree-hugging, tinder box California, bottle rockets and roman candles are about as common as fully-glutened loaves and vaccinated children.

Well, you would be wrong my friend. On the Thursday night after the Independence Day holiday, there are still crackers a boomin' in the neighborhood much as there was the week before. You see, it's here in California where the 'real' Americans live to the point that the 4th is a more like the 12 days of Christmas, and the locals laugh at wildfires. After a delightful display of pyrotechnics launched from a barge drifting outside the Port of Los Angeles, I was surrounded by every citizen's amateur re-enactment on the 2 mile round trip from where I parked my car to the street in front of my home. It was awesome.

I say this with the caveats you might expect after a guy blew his own head off, a Texan died duplicating the feat from his chest, and Jason Pierre-Paul lost a finger. Fireworks are dangerous, but they are fun. Also, you're at least a 1000 times less likely to be felled at the hands of a firework than you are by a gun.  Unless, of course, you live in Texas.Hey! Let's hear it for Round 19!

Critiquing the expert:

David Texeira and Mike Magee didn't ball out last week, but I issued caveats (Kamara, Castillo) for both of those guys. They were both cheap options as caperoos. You can use them similarly this week. Their alternatives scored well, as did Ethan Finlay and Federico Higuain. I picked well, but I picked low hanging fruit. I also introduced you to cheap phenom Anatole Abang who scored last weekend (3rd goal in 5 games).

Verdict: A-/B+: I'll let you decide, but I feel like the expert is handling it these days. Wait until you get a load of what I've got for this week.

FC Dallas:

FC Dallas has earned 2 convincing shutout victories at home after a long road trip. This weekend, they go back on the road. Their opponents, Orlando SC, suffer from being in the Eastern Conference, being an expansion team, and missing out on the services of Kaka, Brek Shea, Cyle Larin, Darwin Ceren, and Aurelien Collin.

With the usual caveats about parity, OCSC is on the precipice of a Western Conference bullying. The West added Sporting Kansas City (MLS Cup 13' champions) and Houston Dynamo (perennial finalists) while the East added two expansion teams. Short staffed, Orlando is in a tight spot (at least according to our bloggers) and is ripe for the picking. Anything short of three points will be disappointing.

Adds: Dan Kennedy ($4.9)- Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz are too obvious to promote in the space. If you don't have one or both of them, it's not too late to enjoy their services for at least the next 3 games (home to DC and Portland after this week). Dan-O's got back to back clean sheets and is in a good spot to add to that.

Avoid: Robbie Earle ($4.0)- Outside of the Gold Cup participants, I'm pretty bullish on all of the Hoops this week. Why am I avoiding Earle? He's actually the most selected FC Dallas player (29.6%) in fantasy because he's at the salary floor and he never plays (caperoo). With all the Gold Cup absences, be wary of the fact he might get some minutes in the next week or two and ruin your plans.

MLS:

You know Columbus and Chicago are the double week buys for next week. In 4 weeks, it will be Montreal, Red Bull New York, Orlando SC, and Toronto. Outside of that, here are 3 matchups (besides FC Dallas and Orlando) to exploit this week.

Mike Magee F ($8.0)- I'm doubling down on Magic Mike this week. On top of next week, he gets Seattle who are missing Marco Pappa, Clint Dempsey, and Brad Evans for the Gold Cup. They're also missing Obafemi Martins and Sebastian Frei through injury, and Magee looked dangerous in his sub shift in Houston. I'd bet the farm he starts this week and bags at least a goal or an assist.

David Bingham G (5.4)- Need a clean sheet from your goal keeper? Look no further. On top of backstopping a pretty tidy defense, he goes up against an anemic Houston attack at home. Add to the fact that Houston is shy 4 regulars and that Brad Davis is gimpy, and this looks like your best bet for a clean sheet this week.

Luis Solignac F ($7.0)- I'm going to pick on Real Salt Lake here. They're missing 5 guys to the Gold Cup and Jamison Olave is on the shelf indefinitely. Their spine is in shambles. It's an off the radar play, but Colorado are at home and I have a feeling they vent their frustrations on their Rocky Mountain Rivals. Solignac is very reasonably priced as well.

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