The season draws to a close today with every team in action at 3pm CDT. I mean, maybe- we don’t really do that here typically, but maybe it’ll be close at least. The weekly shout out goes (conveniently to Phil) who absolutely crushed the Catalina Wine Mixer last week with 108. This put him back in the Top 20 overall, and it also means that he re-re-took the top spot in our league from me. 7 points separate us, so this will be a juicy subplot to today’s action.
As for today’s action, there’s little I can offer in terms of hard analysis. Obviously, you’ll get to see all of the lineups unveiled before the game, so there’s your pre-game. I can see the Seattle-RSL game being low-scoring as RSL plays for a draw to secure their fate. David Villa versus Bradley-Wright Phillips for the golden boot should be interesting, and I’m guessing they’ll both be gunning for it since they won’t have to play midweek. Of course, FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids all have it left to play for.
That said, I’m mainly out of ideas at this point. I still like Alphonso Davies as a cheap long shot today for what it’s worth, but predicting the final day is a crapshoot with the varying stakes (or lack thereof). With that said, here’s the Best XI for this year.
Best XI (3-5-2)
Tim Howard (G-$6.5/5.8ppg)- Howard came in at midseason and Crapids didn’t miss a beat. He scored almost 10% more points per game then his nearest competitor (Brian Rowe), and he helped keep Colorado in the Supporters’ Shield race to the very end. Timmy’s a legend.
Honorable Mention: Brian Rowe
Axel Sjoberg (D-$6.5/5.4 ppg)- The best defender from the best defense is an obvious choice. Early adopters got to enjoy a $1.0 value rise over the course of the year.
Walker Zimmerman (D-$7.2/5.6 ppg)- Our man Zim was the top overall scorer on Defense and also tied for highest ppg among regulars. His 4 goals led to some huge rounds, and his price rose $1.2 over the course of the year.
Harrison Afful (D-$7.9/5.6ppg)- Defying the conventional wisdom on center backs being preferred for your backline, Afful survived Columbus’s ‘awful’ defense by chipping in goals, assists, and bonus points galore. If Columbus sticks with their style of play next year, look for a repeat.
Honorable Mention: Justin Morrow, Drew Moor, Marlon Hairston
Sacha Kjlestan (M-$13.1/7.0 ppg)- Kjlestan could be the first since Carlos Valderrama to notch 20 assists in a season. All he needs is one today against Philadelphia.
Ignacio Piatti (M-$11.9/7.5ppg)- Consistent and frequently spectacular, Piatti could still end up the leader in total points with a big game today against defensively-challenged New England. He could end up being more valuable next year if he ends up taking penalties.
Diego Valeri (M-$11.5/7.3ppg)-Valeri tapered off at the end of the season, only averaging 5.8 ppg over his last 10 games. He’ll probably miss today, but with Portland’s aggressive front office, I fully expect him to reproduce his earlier season form at the outset of 2017.
Mauro Diaz (M-$11.8/6.9 ppg)- Alas, we already know we’re not going to get a sequel to this magician’s 2016. This makes me sad. You had to own him because he was awesome and a favorite.
Nicolas Lodeiro (M-$12.5/8.5ppg)- Be terrified of a full season with this guy; he had the 2nd best ppg of any player in the game this year albeit over a shorter stretch. He’s the 2nd most money player in the fake game, and I imagine he might actually be able to improve next year.
Honorable Mention: Ozzie Alonso, Justin Meram
David Villa (F-$12.9/7.2ppg)- The Spaniard is timeless, and even if he does trade by a goal going into today, he’s my bet for the Golden Boot winner. Might want to add him today if you don’t have him already.
MVP: Sebastian Giovinco (F-$13.9/8.9ppg)- For the second consecutive year, ‘The Atomic Ant’ leads the league in points and ppg. He’ll probably do the same next year. There’s really nothing more to say; he’s had the best 2 years of any player in MLS history.
Honorable Mention: Bradley Wright-Phillips, Giovani Dos Santos