Well, it's week four and this is the first of our Double Game weeks. Four teams, DC United, the New England Revolution, FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps all enjoy two fixtures this period. The situation is complicated because this is an International break, where 78 MLS players have been called away and the MLS matches are spread over a 9 day period from March 26 through April 3. Many of the players who will miss the (only 4) matches this weekend will return to play in matches the following weekend. Although the multiple matches for the four teams are exciting, it is a bit early in the season to determine which of the four teams may yet be dominant and where to poke salary dollars to maximize points. And some inexperienced players are certain to get some opportunities. There will be better double game fixtures to take chances ahead. That being said, there are a few things to consider this game week four. Let's take a look at the player choices.
David Ousted enjoys two home matches, hosting Houston and Los Angeles. And, although MLS teams enjoy a huge home advantage neither of their opponents travel well. The bad news is that Vancouver will play back up central defenders in the first match against Houston.
Travis Worra is the budget option for DC United. He will set you back only 4.1 and has allowed but one goal in 2 matches. Worra is homeSaturday against Dallas and travels to San Jose next Saturday.
Bobby Shuttleworth is the leading points producer among goalkeepers with 24. He saved two penalties for New England last week, although Philadelphia still scored 3.
Matt Hedges might be the outstanding choice this week, but is a bit pricy at 8.9. He is certain to start among the back four for Dallas in both matches. As with most double game week teams this weekend, the other members of his defensive unit are going to experience some rotation.
Vancouver again enjoy the luxury of the two home matches. Jordan Harvey and Fraser Aird would appear to be starting both matches. If you have either Tim Parker or Kendall Waston, they might be expected to start Saturday night against the Galaxy after returning from International duty.
Sporting Kansas City is leading the West and has allowed but one goal in three matches. They have an attractive home fixture against Real Salt Lake and double game weeks in week 6 and 8. Folks are already starting to load up on their defenders, which include Chance Myers at 6.6, Matt Besler at 8.7, Nuno Coelho at 7.8 and Amadou Dia at 6.1. This is a deep team defensively, however, beware rotation that will begin at some point.
DC United and New England have both been a mixed bag on defense, sometimes looking strong other times, not so much. I like Perry Kemp for DCU at 7.6 and Chris Tierney for New England at 7.9. Both are threats to attack out of the back.
Mauro Diaz is in the "must have" category for this game week and many of us will captain him. He has delivered 30 points for FC Dallas and is on most set pieces. He scored a beauty last week against Montreal.
Pedro Morales has scored 28 points for Vancouver and is a great option with the two home games. He is on penalty duty and has delivered 3 of these for the Whitecaps.
Ignacio Piatti is off to a great start, leading all players with 37 points. He has an attractive fixture at Seattle and I encourage you to take a look at getting him, if he is not on your squad already. He is exceptionally dangerous on runs from the midfield and very creative in the box in getting shots off.
Diego Valeri is on almost all set pieces for the Timbers and has taken 30 corners with 15 attacking bonus points earned. These points will show up, even if he does not get on the scoresheet. He will remain an excellent option.
With the new scoring system regarding defensive play from midfielders consider Marcelo Sarvas at 7.1 for DC United or Matias Laba for Vancouver at 7.5 as cheaper options. They are set to feature in both of their team's matches.
Max Urruti is a very hard worker as a single forward for Dallas. He has scored 2 goals in three matches including the brilliant strike against Montreal last week. He is reasonably priced for a forward at 8.5 and has some great fixtures approaching.
David Villa let many of us down, even as we captained him against Orlando last weekend, at Yankee Stadium. He will be anxious to redeem himself against a New England side who gave up three and could have easily been more, last week against Philadelphia.
Sebastian Giovinco should be a fixture on your squad, short of injury or International duty. Although, he is playing at a tough defensive squad, Colorado, he is capable of delivering a hat trick in any match. Leave him off your squad at your own peril.
Will Bruin will play against Vancouver without their two starting center backs. He scored 2 last week in Houston's high powered offense. Bruin is a great differential selection for this week.
Just a quick note on my own team. I had a fine period with 77 points and now stand at 88th position overall with 245 total points, very rare air for this point in the season for me. The trick for me will be to keep things simple and not to start suspecting I have some sort of vision, grin.
Anyway, I am sitting on last week's team with two transfers: Worra, Parker, Redding, Kemp, Diaz, P. Morales, Valeri, Kljestan, Villa and Giovinco. I will drop either Valeri and Kljestan for Urruti and a filler. I probably will not take a hit for a double game defender, but am actually considering one to get Ousted. We will see.
Again, this is not the double game week to jump in and take a bunch of hits. Trust your squad, there will be some surprises this early. Make sure you have eleven players playing at least one game.
So, who have I missed? Is there anyone you like? Which teams stand out in the double games? What does your team look like? Any surprise thoughts at the captain position?
Good luck and fair play to all,
Charles aka the orphanage