By FRANCO PANIZO
Welcome to the Soccer by Ives Fantasy Corner, where this week I will be filling in for the injured (okay, sick) Casey Cannon.
It’s a pretty straightforward week for most MLS Fantasy players, as the only team with a bye is Chivas USA, and we all know that nearly no one has a player from the Goats on their fantasy team. That leaves Fantasy owners with less tinkering to do with their lineups than in most weeks, but there are still some important decisions to be made.
For instance, selecting a captain is a difficult proposition this week. Most of the games are pretty evenly matched up, so finding a player who is guaranteed to have a stellar outing is tough. Still, there are a couple of surprise candidates on teams that have struggled recently that could help out more than you think.
Let’s take a closer look at what moves will improve the fantasy standings this week:
Take Three – Portland Timbers - The Timbers are due for a win, and FC Dallas is the type of struggling opponent that might have a hard time trying to prevent that. Portland is playing at home, so picking up Donovan Ricketts, Rodney Wallace and an attacker will likely be a smart decision.
Take three – Columbus Crew - This might be a surprise given that the Crew are not the sexiest team and have struggled to win in recent weeks, but they’re playing at home against lowly Toronto FC. Given that Columbus is coming off a confidence-building victory, they should come out of the gates flying and blank TFC. Taking Federico Higuain and a pair of defenders might be an astute move.
Avoid – Philadelphia Union - Amobi Okugo might be the only Union player worth having this weekend, and even then it is a risky proposition given who and where Philadelphia play on Saturday. The Union are set to visit the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena, Philadelphia’s house of horrors (they are winless there all-time) and a place where the Red Bulls tend to thrive.
Captain – Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew - Higuain is coming off a two-goal performance, so confidence must be pretty high heading into the Crew’s home game against a rebuilding Toronto FC side. Expect Higuain, worth 9.6M, to be at the front and center of most of Columbus’ attacks, and another multi-goal outing is not out of the question for the skilled Argentine veteran.
Value – Rodney Wallace, Portland Timbers - Listed as a defender but serving as more of an attack-minded player for Caleb Porter, Wallace is a steal at 5.1M. He is going up against a sputtering FC Dallas at JELD-WEN Field, so a big day could be in the books.
Drop – Eddie Johnson, Seattle Sounders - The U.S. Men’s National Team’s win over Bosnia & Herzegovina may have made you forget that Johnson is suspended for Seattle’s road game against the Houston Dynamo. You’d be better off spending the 9.7M that Johnson occupies, elsewhere.
The three player Monte game has two elements selecting: three players to score goals and creating a streak of picking a captain who scores every week. The players can be awful, tossed out of the game for reprehensible fouls, and single handedly responsible for costing his team the game but all that matters is that singular moment of brilliance.
Captain: Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew
2. Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls
3. Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy
That’s all for today. We’ll be back next week with more Fantasy advice.