The MLS is back on thanks to our lovely heroes, the players! The Collective Bargaining Agreement was finally completed around dinner time here in the central time zone, and it was filled with excitement! The players mostly got what they wanted, and here are the major advances to the league through this deal:
A form of free agency
So, the main problem in this whole mess of shenanigans was that the players wanted free agency. They got it, but not FULL free agency. You have to be 28 with 8 years of MLS experience to be registered as a free agent. Basically, the players that grew up in the league and are now staples in the league can move! Yay exciting :/
Minimum salary upped to 60K
The salary minimum wage was 35K before all this, and now they upped it to 60K, and more small things like, if you make less than 100K the max % increase of salary in contract is 25%, 100K-200K is 15% *I believe* and 200K+ is 10%.
The new CBA will last through the next 5 seasons, which gives the owners some leverage to make more money as the league grows, but for the most part it's a good compromise on both parts and means the season can start on time this Friday.
Week 1 MLS Schedule
So, those aren't player picks are they? You're here for player picks aren't you? You're waiting for the player picks aren't you? Making people wait is fun, but I shall make you wait no longer.
I'll be conservative this week with the picks, as we don't know what to expect at all, so many of the featured players will be pricy, but have earned their price based on last season's solid fantasy returns.
I'll have the regular player picks up towards this area at the top, then an "8 under 8" player picks area, where I'll give you 8 players under 8 million to consider for your teams. Alright, NOW here are the players!
Bill Hamid (9.85) - Bill Hamid is the best young keeper in the MLS, and arguably for the USA as a whole (expect to see him #1 for the USA for the 2022 World Cup). They are playing Montreal who used all their energy in a crucial 1-1 draw with Pachuca to make the CONCACAF Champions League semi's. (DC did play in the CCL as well, but seemed to not have put as much importance in it being they were down 5-2 on Agg.) Montreal could score a goal or two, but I feel Big Bill will get the win and some saves to get a good week out of him, and with Hamid, there is always a chance for a cleanie
Jaime Penedo (9.24) - Jaime had a great second half of the season last year with LA, and I feel LA could get the win and clean sheet against a Chicago team that has little to live up to from last season.
Chad Marshall (15.43) - Chad Marshall is the MASTER of passes intercepted and tackles won, he had 176 of those two combined last season in 31 games played and averaged 10 points a game from only 9 clean sheets last season, and with Lee Nguyen, Charlie Davies, and Jermaine Jones running at him, expect a big payback, if you can afford him
Omar Gonzalez (12.05) - Omar is a great central defender that can get forward and is ALWAYS an aerial threat on corners and long free kicks, plus he is playing Chicago, who could be an easy clean sheet and maybe a goal, I highly recommend
Bobby Boswell (10.29) - Bobby should be a good option as he will get a decent amount of opportunities for passes intercepted and blocked shots with Montreal coming to town, and I could see a clean sheet in his favor
Clint Dempsey (19.02) - Clint is a goal and assist machine, especially when having Obafemi Martins right up top. Those two are the best duo in the MLS currently and will look to get their tallies underway for this season against Clint's old club, New England. Expect either a goal or an assist, maybe both
Kaka (19.66) - Kaka will make his debut in MLS in front of a sold-out 60,000 seat Citrus Bowl against other newcomer star, David Villa, and I expect Kaka to do a lot of amazing things for the home fans, and to start off his MLS MVP season with a bang.
Justin Meram (10.07) - Now here's a more reasonable priced option! Justin Meram led Iraq to a heroic semifinals appearance in the Asian Cup this winter, and is looking to give the Crew fans something to go nuts over! They play the Dynamo and I expect a great performance from Meram
Michael Bradley (9.13) - Michael Bradley is finally fully healthy, and reunited with USA teammate Jozy Altidore, making that instant chemistry. They are playing Montreal away, which will be hard, but Bradley loves the grit of the game. At just above 9 million, I expect him to give you the money back plus more in points.
Robbie Keane (20.15) - It's the reigning MVP Robbie Keane, at home against Chicago, what else do I have to say?
Tesho Akindele (8.60) - Barely out of the "8 under 8" section, Tesho, the reigning rookie of the year, will not have time to gloat in his trophy, he'll have to get right to work for Dallas as they play a San Jose team trying to rebound from a terrible season last year. No sophmore slump here people, move along.
Sebastian LeToux (13.48) - Philadelphia look to rebound after a disappointing season last year. They are at home versus an unproven Colorado side with a young inexperienced keeper.
"8 under 8"
GK - Joe Bendik (Toronto), Dan Kennedy (Dallas)
DF - Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Hernan Grana (Columbus)
MD - Mix Diskerud (NYCFC), Brek Shea (Orlando City)
FW - Bradford Jamieson IV (Galaxy), Charlie Davies (NE Revolution)
Here's My Current Team: Vamos DC United (3-5-2)
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I hope you guys liked the article and didn't mind my conservative picks for week 1! Who are you considering?