Unlike pretty much every other top league out there, Major League Soccer will go ahead with its next round of matches despite a host of players being called up to represent their respective national teams. Perhaps it's due to the number of players in the league who aren't currently in the consideration of their international managers, and perhaps that will change over time as the league continues to attract more top talent, but for the time being the show will go ahead as planned for Week 4.
Ahead of our Player Picks post for MLS this week, I thought it would be helpful to go through the list of absentees, focusing particularly on those players who may have been in your thoughts for your fantasy teams so you don't invest any of your budget into players who won't provide any returns over the weekend.
Naturally, with the league featuring located throughout the USA and Canada, those two nations feature the largest proportion of players who will be missing out on international duty. Here's the run-down of fantasy-relevant players set to miss out from their domestic matches over the weekend:
Each of the five players called up to Jurgen Klinsmann's USMNT side have been popular choices in fantasy squads so far this season, so many of us will have to look elsewhere to fill our teams this weekend. Another popular choice that isn't on the list but will nonetheless be out of action in Week 4 is Clint Dempsey, who is set to miss 2 - 3 weeks with a hamstring injury he picked up in training this week.
It's not just the full national side who will be calling on some fantasy contributors over the next week, as Fatai Alashe, Shane O'Neill, Khiry Shelton and Will Trapp will join up with the U-23 side; Erik Palmer-Brown will take part in the U-20 match against England on March 29, as well.
There haven't been too many points from the first three men on this last as yet this season, as they've been introduced from the bench if they've come on at all in the first three weeks of the season, though Tissot put up an impressive 16 points last week in Montreal's scoreless draw with New England. Sam Adekugbe was also called up for Canada, but was forced to withdraw after picking up an injury in Vancouver's match against Orlando City last weekend.
There were a few other names called up for Canada, but none who have made an impact in fantasy thus far. In case you were considering them anyway, the remaining players are Marcel de Jong (who doesn't appear to be listed in the Yahoo! game for whatever reason), Chris Mannella, Karl Ouimette and Quillan Roberts.
The Best of the Rest
I was surprised to find so many internationals from across the world plying their trade in the MLS, and a number of the players who have been called up have been major contributors to our fantasy teams thus far. Here are the absentees who have earned points in the MLS Fantasy game this season:
Blas Perez (FC Dallas) - 48 points
Moises Hernandez (FC Dallas) - 38 points
Alvas Powell (Portland Timbers) - 36 points
Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy) - 32 points
Roger Espinoza (Sporting Kansas City) - 28 points
Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact) - 25 points
Marco Pappa (Seattle Sounders) - 22 points
Jermaine Taylor (Houston Dynamo) - 22 points
Giles Barnes (Houston Dynamo) - 20 points
Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew SC) - 19 points
Justin Meram (Columbus Crew SC) - 18 points
Shaun Maloney (Chicago Fire) - 18 points
Jaime Penedo (LA Galaxy) - 18 points
Kevin Molino (Orlando City) - 18 points
Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake) - 16 points
Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo) - 12 points
Rafael Ramos (Orlando City) - 12 points
Darwin Ceren (Orlando City) - 11 points
Adam Nemec (New York City FC) - 10 points
Luis Garrido (Houston Dynamo) - 7 points
Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps) - 5 points
Atiba Harris (FC Dallas) - 4 points
Michael Azira (Seattle Sounders) - 4 points
David Accam (Chicago Fire) - 1 point
Dane Richards (New York Red Bulls) - [-1] point
As you can see, there are a number of big name players who will be missing, so it'll be interesting to see who is set to fill in over the weekend. Are you going to have to replace any of these players? Do you plan on hanging on to any that you may have at discount?
It's definitely going to be tough for me to let go of Dallas duo Hernandez and Perez, though Blas' negative return last week is making parting with him much easier than the incredibly consistent Hernandez, who has yet to return less than double-digit returns this season.
We'll be back soon with Week 4 Player Picks to help you further hone in on where to invest this week, so stay tuned!