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Ben's Fantasy (MLS Fantasy Manager Round 6)

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Fake it ‘til you make it.

MLS: New England Revolution at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of the match in Pachuca on Tuesday night that left most FC Dallas (and some MLS) fans in some state of mild disappointment, the autopsies and smoldering takes came fast and furious with slightly more contemplation than Donald Trump’s twitter feed. Once again, MLS wasn’t up to the task. Once again, MLS was ‘naive’.

If you’re describing a soccer match as a fan or a writer, I can think of few more over-used and hackish descriptors for a team lacking in experience and savvy than naive, and while there is a kernel of truth regarding the utility of clichés and buzzwords in lieu of actual expertise, you have to use them in the proper context. Minus sufficient evidence, the use of ‘naive’ or ‘naivete’ devolves from bromide to the idiomatic equivalent of ‘I could care less’. This is bad enough for an armchair general. For a professional writer, it’s a pretty big tell that they’re not adequately skilled for the writing part of their gig.

Over the course of two legs, this isn’t indicative of a ‘naive’ display.

Missing a gimme shot from 4 feet away? Still not naive...

If you watched the two legs with any kind of care, neither team displayed anything approaching overtly innocent in their response to chippy play or display of cunning from the other side. In fact, the simple bromides in play here are ‘profligate finishing’ (there’s a good cliché) for one side and ‘took their chances’ (Seitz has had better nights) for the other. The difference in an almost symmetrical series was a ‘last gasp’ winner for the host on a shot that could have just as easily been saved- a goal that could have just as easily been a ‘moral victory’ had Mikey just buried the ‘sitter’.

Being trite is ok- most of this is not re imagining an ancient circular fabrication which has been so crucial to the advancement of man, nor should it be. However, confusing a wheel for a Lego™ block isn’t even amateurish. It displays a lack of cognition and rudimentary experience that seems like it could be denoted with one word (if only I could think of it). You’ll get called out as a poser pretty quickly when you screw up a cliché. At least you will if anyone’s paying attention...

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Well, writing up something like an actual preview last week yielded major fruit. I’m up 5 spots! Wait, that’s 5 spots overall. Actually, I’m only up 2 spots in our league, and honestly, that’s a pretty middling return for that effort. The big number went to the Galatico Gunners (glad to see we’re strong in the highly coveted Real Madrid-Arsenal crossover fan demographic), while Sporting Los Greengos and Pancho Villa’s Watch are still tops.

Circling back to the CCL, FC Dallas gets the low-hanging fruit of the Loons on Saturday. Minnesota did add some defensive reinforcements recently in the form of Sam Cronin and Marc Burch, but this doesn’t seem like the week they manage to give up fewer than 2 goals. It’s going to take some time, but how do you exploit that this week?

Maxi Urruti is the obvious play having started off the season in good form. That said, his status for this weekend is somewhat nebulous, having called for a sub late in the game with a possible injury (pretty naive of FCD not to get the sub late, eh?). Watch closely for injury updates this weekend. Update: Maxi trained Thursday morning.

Minnesota’s offense has scored this year, so the defense isn’t a sure bet, but I’m speculating some combination of Colmán, Tesho, and Barrios will be your scorers for FC Dallas this weekend. Update: Maxi trained Thursday morning. I’m not sure what this means- predicting rotation will be difficult/impossible.

I could even see Javier Morales getting a start this weekend, and his through balls to Colmán could be a hidden gold mine this weekend. A bold FC Dallas play is a winner this weekend, but the ideal combination is going to be hard to nail. Since FCD’s the 7th of 11 teams playing this weekend, I’m going to stock up and try to avoid having too much player equity after kickoff. Update: Maxi trained Thursday morning. I think you almost have to start him and hope he’s in the XI Saturday.

To that end, I’m stocking up on LA. There’s hidden gems there, Montreal can be had, and I think Piatti and Ciman will miss out on the LA game, too. Beyond that, I don’t see any other obvious picks prior to the FC Dallas game. Spork looks like your next best bet for a cleansheet. Jimmy Medranda’s the top scoring defender but, since he’s out of position and the offense is sputtering, I worry he’s going to end up on the bench soon. Also, here’s food for thought if you need a more reasonably priced midfielder.

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Byrd’s Ballers: (Round 5. 3-2-0, Season 14-9-2)

  1. Romain Alessandrini - M $9.4
  2. Cyle Larin - F $9.2
  3. Maxi Urruti- F $8.7
  4. Michael Barrios- M $7.9
  5. Giovani Dos Santos - F $9.9

Aside from my confidence picks on LA and Dallas, Larin’s scored at least a goal in every game he’s played at home this year. That’s great production for the price. If you think I’m overly bullish on FCD and LAG this week, feel free to pelt me for it in the comments.

Skinflint’s Specials: (Round 5 2-3-0, Season 12-13-0)

  1. Anibal Godoy M $7.3
  2. Ike Opara D $5.3
  3. Nathan Smith D $3.8
  4. Oguchi Onyewu D $4.5
  5. Eriq Zavaleta D $5.1

Would have had a winning record if I’d stuck with Crognale. This part is harder than it looks, but it’s easier when you can count Godoy who’s a good shout at home this round. I’d have Smith higher if I knew he were starting. He might end up interchangeable with Romney. Gooch has been getting BPs, and I like the home matchup. Toronto and San Jose face stern challenges at home but do offer good budget options. I’ll go with Zavaleta due to a slight edge in BP potential. That’ll do it for this week. Good luck with your FC Dallas players this round!

Complaints, comments, suggestions? Email bmlyon@yahoo.com