I have to say, after all the issues we've been subjected to by the Yahoo fantasy game this season, playing a game on a stable, clean, real-time platform was a breath of fresh air. I discussed with a few of you in the Week 8 live chat that I'm still not completely sold on the less complex scoring system for the official game, but I am quite impressed with how well organized the MLS Fantasy website is.
With that said, I'm looking forward to competing in the Fashionably Late league and our more intimate Beat the Bloggers group for the rest of this season. My 66 points in Week 8 was enough to keep me in the top 10 in BtB, and the top 30 in Fashionably Late, so I'm feeling good heading into this week.
If you missed out on joining last week, it's not too late! Check out the Week 8 Player Picks article for league codes and a breakdown of scoring. The more, the merrier!
Looking ahead, we've got two teams who don't play at all in Montreal Impact and Orlando City, and two teams that play twice, New York Red Bulls and Colorado Rapids, so keep that in mind when deciding your transfers for this week.
Week 9 Major League Soccer Schedule
Wednesday, April 29
New York Red Bulls v. Colorado Rapids
Friday, May 1
Real Salt Lake v. San Jose Earthquakes
Saturday, May 2
Philadelphia Union v. Toronto FC
D.C. United v. Columbus Crew SC
New England Revolution v. New York Red Bulls
LA Galaxy v. Colorado Rapids
Portland Timbers v. Vancouver Whitecaps
Sunday, May 3
Sporting Kansas City v. Chicago Fire
New York City FC v. Seattle Sounders
A cursory look at the fixtures suggests investing NYRB and the Rapids could be less savory than double week teams normally would be given their tough second-match opponents (remember Columbus and Philadelphia?), but as always it's hard to overlook players with two bites at the proverbial cherry. Among the single game teams, there are a lot of pretty even match-ups. At the very least, fixtures that would normally lean one way (Toronto against Philadelphia, for example) are a bit more balanced with home-field advantage taken into account.
You'll probably want to hang onto your consistent performers from teams like SKC, Seattle, Vancouver and Columbus, while you should also keep an eye on players from the Week 10 doubles for LA, RSL, Houston and San Jose.
Week 9 Player Picks
Luis Robles - The Red Bulls have the better set of matches on paper, with a home game against the Rapids giving them an advantage. Colorado haven't been the most free-scoring of teams, so a clean sheet is a possibility in the first match, while an away match against the in-form Revolution in match two could bring a number of saves.
Clint Irwin - The fixtures aren't kind, but Colorado have defended admirably on many occasions this season. Irwin has been a major part of a number of the early season clean sheets, and will have to be relied upon again if the Rapids are to gain anything from their Week 9 matches.
Tyler Deric - If you're not sold on either double week keeper, or if you'd rather use your transfers to switch outfield players (assuming you already have Houston's excellent shot-stopper), Deric could return to the form from earlier in the season with a home match against Dallas. At the very least, he's a good option to hold ahead of the double next week.
Drew Moor / Axel Sjoberg - Moor's return to fitness has seemingly spelled the end of Bobby Burling's run of starts at center back, so if you're looking for defensive bonus points you should look to one of the two center backs for the Rapids. Sjoberg is a much cheaper option who also poses a threat on set pieces, so he could be a great way to get a foot in the door for Colorado's double.
Damien Perrinelle / Matt Miazga - The bye weeks make it difficult to gauge the league standings accurately, but the Red Bulls have a chance to be top of the league once they've played their games in hand. Their form can't be ignored, and both Perrinelle and Miazga have been in great form. Miazga is the cheaper option, though Perrinelle is averaging an additional point per game.
Jalil Anibaba - Since the beast Ike Opara fell injured, Anibaba has been the man to step up for Kansas City. SKC have a winnable match at home against the resurgent Chicago Fire, but the defense will need to be on top of their game to shut down the likes of David Accam and Harry Shipp.
Kofi Opare - With Steve Birnbaum most likely still missing with an ankle injury, Opare is a cheap way to buy in on DC's solid home form. Columbus is a difficult proposition given the form of Kei Kamara and Ethan Finlay, but haven't been at their best on their travels so the United stand-in could be a good single game option in D.
Dillon Powers - The Rapids' central midfielder has been displaying some of the best form in the league over the past three matches and has delivered excellent returns (13, 7 & 7) of late. Even with two tough away matches, he should return at least his value this week.
Lloyd Sam / Felipe Martins - If you hold Sam in your team, it's probably wise to hang onto him despite slight concerns over his availability after he was taken off in Week 8 with a hamstring complaint. He's listed day-to-day, so he should take part in at least one, if not both games. Felipe has been keeping pace with Sam and offers set piece duty to your squad for $.5 less than his English teammate. Both should be strong considerations, though Felipe is the better bet if you're buying in this week.
Benny Feilhaber - Benny has been one of my favorite players for a long time, but I can't remember a time when he was in better form. With Graham Zusi and Dom Dwyer struggling to find their top form, SKC have relied on Feilhaber, and he's delivered.
Stefan Ishizaki - The Galaxy have one of the best matches on paper this weekend, facing off at home against Colorado, and Ishizaki has been an attacking force from the wing. Set piece duty adds to his value in a week where there aren't a ton of stand-out options.
Clint Dempsey - Deuce was perhaps a bit lucky to get on the score sheet against Portland, but you have to be in the right places for luck to find you, and he tends to put himself there more often than not. A cross-country trip to New York isn't the most ideal of situations ahead of the game, but NYCFC have struggled to find any semblance of consistency this season, so the Seattle man could continue with another goal here.
Bradley Wright-Phillips / Mike Grella - BWP didn't have a great week against LA in week 8, though he was unlucky not to score on the deflection that led to Felipe's goal. He's an investment at $11m, but has shown his ability to score goals is not reliant on having Thierry Henry alongside him. Grella has popped up with a few goals this season as well, and is a considerably cheaper option if you don't have the funds for Wright-Phillips.
Gabriel Torres / Dominique Badji - Badji would be my primary recommendation from Colorado if he was a guaranteed starter, but Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni has rotated his squad a frustrating amount. Torres should start both matches and has put up double the points of his teammate.
Juan Agudelo - The Revolution striker is hitting his stride, and is coming off of a goal-and-assist performance in the 4-0 demolition of RSL in Week 8. Like many strikers, Agudelo is a confidence-driven player, so you wouldn't bet against him adding to his tally at home against the Red Bulls.
Octavio Rivero - A second consecutive Cascadia clash should be a cracking match as Vancouver travel south to face Portland. The Timbers fell victim to an unfortunate goal against Seattle in Week 8, and will be eager to make amends, but their attacking forays could come at a cost as Rivero is just the man you don't want to overlook.
Who are you looking to this week? Did you plan ahead to have multiple players from the double week, or are you sticking to the single game players? I've currently got 3 players each from New York and Colorado, but am still deciding whether or not to make some moves to switch things up with an eye on Week 10, or really pushing the limits by going for the maximum of 4 from a particular club.
Don't forget about the Wednesday deadline this week. Save your team by 7:30 p.m. EDT!