MLS Player Picks: Kick Off Weekend Edition

ALERT: This guy (DeRo) won't be playing for the first two weeks due to suspension - Andy Marlin

The start of a new season is always exciting for fantasy managers. So far, none of us (other than Dwayne De Rosario) have made any mistakes or fallen behind in the standings which is always nice. So, with that in mind, we're off with our first player picks column of the season.

If you're looking for more information before making your final choices, here is some analysis on who takes set pieces for MLS teams by our friend and NMA MLS Fantasy Insider Ben Jata. That said, kickoff is tomorrow so I'm sure everyone reading is looking for some advice so here is my analysis of the opening weekend:

Schedule

In games like the one at MLSSoccer.com where transfers are limited we can't do TOO much week-to-week optimizing but there will always be two or three teams that have excellent match-ups that will be the focus of your limited transfer activity. Another confounding factor is that the season has yet to start and, unlike Europe's big leagues, there is a fair amount of year-to-year fluctuation in the quality of MLS teams. You can probably count on San Jose, LA Galaxy Houston Dynamo, and Sporting KC being pretty good and Chivas USA and Toronto FC being pretty bad but in-between there will be a lot of unknown. In light of this, here are the match-ups that I'm focused on for this weekend:

Sporting KC at Philadelphia Union - The Union should be strong defensively once the new faces mesh but KC are very good and it's probably a little early to expect the Union to be locking down the league's best teams.

Houston Dynamo vs. DC United - I've been a DC United supporter since the league began and they're coming off of a very nice season but Houston is better, playing at home, and they just seem to kill United. I hate to say it but Houston should have a significant advantage here and even more so since DeRo is suspended for the first two matches. (Happy to be wrong on this one)

Seattle Sounders vs. Montreal Impact - Seattle are better and playing at home - 'nuff said.

Columbus Crew at Chivas USA - Chivas USA are a bit of a mess, especially in attack and Columbus seem to be on the rise which makes me feel good about the Crew in this one.

The nice thing about Sporting KC and Houston is that you probably want to keep players on both teams longer than one week - same with the LA Galaxy players at home to Chicago. Columbus players will likely be week-to-week starters. Seattle could go either way depending on how the revamped attack comes together.

Player Picks

I'm going with a starting line up of Robbie Keane (c), Will Bruin, Juninho (NYRB version), Graham Zusi, Chris Pontius, Diego Valeri, Markus Holgersson, Todd Dunivant, Corey Ashe, Kosuke Kimura, and Zac McMath.

On my bench I have Bill Hamid, Daniel Woolard, Miller Bolanos, and Diego Fagundez.

Others I strongly considered include Brad Davis, Kenny Cooper, Andy Gruenebaum, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and the other two premium forwards Thierry Henry and Chris Wondolowski.

Chime in with your line-ups for the first weekend of the season and remember to join us in our private league (create a team > click "League" > join a Private League > Enter League Code 5633-1479. We should have some prizes to announce soon.

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