The first thing that you have to know about this week in Major League Soccer is that it starts this evening (Friday) with DC United traveling to Kansas City for a match against Sporting KC. Even worse, the Red and Black head west without their talisman Dwayne DeRosario. For a team that hasn't been scoring much traveling to play a team they haven't beaten on the road since the halcyon days of Luciano Emilio (that's 2007 kids), this is not good news.
Before we get to things like schedule analysis and player picks though, it's time to give a shout out to those managers who are crushing it in our Never Manage Alone private league at MLSSoccer.com. First, we tip our hats to the highest scorers during the past match week:
- cWah eXpress came through with 79 points for manager Charles Wah
- Steve Vasilevitski's Spartak was a close second with 77 points
- Overall leader Lucky Number SE11 ascended to that perch with 75 points with Rodgesico at the helm
- Jason Anderson's Handsome Boys SC tied with the Brazilian-themed Steven's FC Corvo with 74 points each
- Lucky Number Se11 - Rodgesico - 360
- DamagedGoods - Richard Matthew - 355
- KFC Official - kentuckyfootballclub.wordpress.com - 354
- InRennieWeTrust - Jeff Smith - 351
- La Pura Vida FC - Jon Moma - 337
Before we get to my analysis, here are some links from MLSSoccer.com to get you even more insight and analysis before you make your final decisions:
OK, and now on to my thoughts headed into the weekend. First, the schedule:
- Sporting Kansas City v D.C. United - DC will struggle to score so focus on the KC defense wouldn't be a bad idea.
- Toronto FC v FC Dallas - Dallas has been THE surprise of the season so far but Toronto hasn't been as bad as expected either. My focus would be on the FCD attack.
- Columbus Crew v Philadelphia Union - Two nice surprises so far but the advantage goes to the homestanding Crew but don't invest too heavily in what should be a fairly even match-up.
- Colorado Rapids v Real Salt Lake - Colorado hasn't been good so using a transfer on an RSL player wouldn't be a bad idea at all.
- Portland Timbers v Houston Dynamo - Another superior away team that makes me want to dive in but maybe just stay with a Dynamo attacker since Portland has both scored and given up a lot of goals.
- San Jose Earthquakes v Vancouver Whitecaps - Last season tells us this should favor the 'Quakes. This season's small sample size says that San Jose isn't what they were so maybe tread carefully, especially with Earthquakes players with high prices off of last season's successes.
- Chicago Fire v New York Red Bulls - New York has been mediocre but Chicago just isn't very good so here's another road team that should have you excited. In this case the investment could come on either side of the ball with Chicago having only scored once thus far while allowing 9. Yikes!
- Chivas USA, Montreal Impact, LA Galaxy, New England Revolution and Seattle Sounders are all on byes this week so try to minimize the damage caused by so many potential zeroes.
Forward: Claudio Bieler isn't the cheapest player out there but for those looking for a premium forward, I like his chances against DC United at "Whatever They're Calling It Now" Park.
Midfielder: The bargain buy here is Andrew Jacobson who has been an incredibly cheap source of points as part of Dallas' early season run to the top.
Defender: Tyson Wahl is a bit of an obvious choice but he's the class of the defender category and his price isn't bad at all.
Goalkeeper: Jimmy Nielsen is my pick here against punchless and DeRo-less United. You'll pay the price, but it'll be worth it.