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Fantasy MLS Round 34

The penultimate round is upon us.

MLS: New England Revolution at D.C. United Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A long time ago, I wrote my first fantasy MLS article for the blog. That was fine, but it was kind of boring, so we tricked it up a bit. We made it ANGRY. Ok, it wasn’t that angry, but it was unique. Then there was the flirtation with rendering all picks entirely in verse. Along with being extremely time consuming, it also wasn’t really an efficient means for delivering killer picks- hey, at least naropean liked it. Probably my favorite was doing a prelude with something not all that pertinent to MLS’s fantasy game, and then offering my picks at the end. Given the popularity/lack of popularity of the game when compared to Fantasy Football, this is probably at least a decade ahead of its time for US professional soccer.

With that experience in my back pocket, I believe I nailed the formula for this year. I’d like to say I came to this because our league is larger (112 members) than it has ever been, or that it’s for the 4 players in the BigD league in the Top 60 who have a chance at prizes in the clausura. That would be just as dubious me saying it was trying to help my old writing partner win the FC Dallas supporters’ prize. No, the change was all about me.

In addition to enjoying the extra time which I’ve dedicated to other writing and farting around, I think taking off a week, or weeks, or even weeeeks has helped me think about the game mechanics and the matches with greater clarity. Also, did I mention the extra time for farting around? Anyway, as the season progressed, I have noticed that my round score tends to be better when I do a round preview, and baby, I need a big score this round. So that’s why I’ve been writing fewer round previews, but I’m writing one this week (and probably next week). That and the gambling- I love to gamble.

You know the drill; if you can get two games in a round, you’re likely to score more from those players than the players just playing one game during the round. Here’s my preview of the seven teams who have a DGW this round in order of preference.

DC United (TFC, NYCFC):

DC’s huge homestand finally comes to an end this week with their 16th and 17th home games of the season. After starting the season on a hellish road trip with only temporary local venues for respite, Audi Field opened on July 14th. Since then, they’re 10-4-3, and Wayne Rooney proved himself a valuable signing. You’re starting 4 DC this week and picking Rooney or Luciano Acosta as captain will be the chalk play this week. The only yellow card warning is for Russell Canouse, but you really don’t need him.

Pick to Click: Yamil Asad. Obviously, you’re on Acosta and Rooney, but I’m pitching Asad this round. He scored 6 this weekend without a goal or an assist, looks dangerous, and is due. Additionally, he’s a solid bet for two starts. Get him in your lineup.

Orlando City (SEA, CMB):

On the same day as Audi Field opened, another auspicious event happened. Bastille Day 2018 was also the last match Orlando has won this year. It’s been a 0-9-3 slog since then, and I may need to have my head checked. Also, Yoshi Yotún is suspended for the first game and wouldn’t have played anyway because he played with Peru last night.

That said, it’s two home games. One of them is against a depleted Sounders team making their longest trip of the season, and a Crew team that’s 1-2-2 in their last five. Hungry (and cheap) players should make the games interesting for the long suffering fans. It also bears mentioning that injuries have played a big part in Orlando’s struggles, and they’re now considerably healthier than they’ve been for that dreadful stretch.

Pick to Click: Dom Dwyer. Dom is cheap, fresh, and an optimal switcheroo play- if he blanks, you can swap in one of the Sunday late game players. He’s also good for a goal every other game this year, and 8 of his 12 goals this year have come at home. This is a great ceiling play this week.

Real Salt Lake (NER, @POR):

The next three teams are kind of tied for 3rd. I’ll start with the teams who have a home game to begin the round and finish with a tough away round. RSL needs the full six this week to clinch as of now, but they’ll play New England tomorrow in all likelihood without their three most potent attackers (Savarino, Plata, and Rusnak) since they all played internationals yesterday. RSL will also be missing Sunny and Beckerman through supension, and the Revolution will be more than happy to play spoilers. Also, Portland still hasn’t clinched yet. Lean into the RSL D here but avoid Silva, who is on yellow card warning.

Pick to Click: Justen Glad. He’s a good high floor/high ceiling candidate this week. You’ll get two games from him and 6-8 points barring a red card. There’s little to add to that, so we’ll move on to...

Vancouver (SKC, @LAFC):

They’re almost a carbon copy of RSL; international absences, playoff hopes hanging by a thread, and a difficult home game followed by an even more difficult road game. Like I said, RSL, VAN, and SEA are all pretty much in this tier of hell. Vancouver did manage to save their season in their last match at Toronto, and they might be enjoying a dead cat bounce. They also play two ‘scissors’ teams this round which sets up well to their rock.

Pick to Click: Kei Kamara. Over their last eight games, you’d be surprised how little Josef Martinez has outscored Kamara by. That number is -10. Yeah, you heard me. Kei Kamara has scored 10 more points over the last 2 months than Josef. It’s a high risk/high reward play, but maybe it isn’t as high risk as you’d think. You can even line him up for switcheroo duty and ditch if he doesn’t score tonight.

Seattle (@OCSC, @HOU):

Two road games, albeit against bad teams, isn’t a great formula for success. Add in the international absences (more on that in a sec) and the heavy travel, and predicting success this week seems like a dodgy proposition despite Seattle’s good form. Alonso is a tempting floor play here, but he’s on yellow card warning. I’m not at all interested in risking that.

Pick to Click: Christian Roldan*. He’s pretty expensive for a floor play, but I’m not enamored with any of the other options, and a likely eight point floor isn’t that bad. The asterisk (big one) is the status of Nicolas Lodeiro. While Svensson, Ruidiaz, and Delem will all be unavailable, Lodeiro played in neither of the Uruguay friendlies, and there’s a slim possibility he actually makes it to Orlando. It’s a lot of time in the air (well over 7,000 miles and 18 hours plus in the air plus 13 hours time difference), but you’ll want to monitor that because Seattle’s a different team with him.


Here’s a good team with tough road matches. Ignore SKC’s thrashing of Vancouver earlier this year where the Whitecaps played half the game with nine players. That won’t happen this time. Also, Gutierrez, Russell, and Nemeth are all questionable to appear in this match due to international matches in the last few days. After that, no big deal; just a trip to Dallas on short rest after a lot of mileage. There are no Disco warnings to speak of for Spork this round, so they’ve got that going for them.

Pick to Click: Ilie Sanchez. I’m not high on Spork’s chances of getting a cleansheet in either match, so you’re looking for that high floor. Sanchez offers a similar floor to Opara and Besler with a much lower price. He also offers the added benefit of taking penalties for Kansas City. I lean ever so slightly towards Sanchez without being thrilled about any of Kansas City this round.

TOR (@DC, @MON):

Here’s a bad team with even tougher road matches against two teams fighting for the last playoff spot in the East. They have SEVEN players who went to their respective National Teams, lost Victor Vazquez to surgery, might be without Jozy Altidore, and are generally in shambles. If Altidore does manage to make the team, he’s on yellow card warning, too.

Pick to Click: Sebastian Giovinco. Giovinco was one of the guys on international duty, and he left Italy’s team without playing a minute this Sunday. He could be available today and this weekend, and he’s always capable of putting up a big number. He’s awfully expensive for a differential punt, but his ceiling is in the 20s, and you could use him as a switcheroo if you want/need to get cute.

Oh, and before I forget- Gambling*!

Midweek games.

DCU -1 +120

VAN Pick Even

RSL -1 +110

Previous weeks’ picks: 1-2 Season: 22-18-4

Good luck, fellow degenerates.

*- Odds courtesy of Bovada. For Entertainment Purposes Only!