How does that saying go? A 7 days without soccer makes one week? Well, there were international friendlies and it was 2 weeks… So I guess that does not work. Regardless, it’s been too long but not long enough to forget about how important both of these game are going to be.
For MLS Fantasy managers, you need to decide how best to use those 4 or 5 transfers that you have. If you choose wisely 2 weeks ago, you’ll be happy with most of your team. If not, well here are the players that I like for Leg 2.
If you want to see more, keep reading after the break. But please join the discussion at r/FantasyMLS, that’s where a lot of planning is made and last second decisions finalized.
Sporting Kansas City v Houston:
This game went as expected 2 weeks ago. Both teams were exhausted from the quick turnarounds of games, and there was little that could be called “pretty”. Honestly, after 2 weeks of rest, I don’t expect much to change. I expect this game to come down to the wire and have a small scoreline, but the SKC will move on the the final round.
As far as defense goes, that’s been the bread and butter of SKC points during this playoff. I expect SKC to come out very strong and you can count of their defense for good point totals. If you’re not already all in, Aurélien Collin is still the best pick (if you do not already have him) because of his bonus point generating ability and goal threat. As for the rest, my priority would be Besler, Myers, and Sinovic. SKC has several talented midfielders, but Graham Zusi is still the standout. With midfield space being more productive than forwards, you really need to look for the cream of the crop and I would rate the others behind the other teams. As for forwards, it’s a barren wasteland for SKC. Claudio Bieler would be the best chance they have, but he may not start. It’s really just too risky to pick a SKC forward.
I said some nice things about the SKC defense above and it would be poor form if I did not do the same for Houston. They are in their playoff form, and will be a challenge for the offensively challenged SKC. Unfortunately, the Houston defenders just don’t post the same kind of offensive threat that SKC’s do. Warren Creavalle has the best chance (since he’s OOP in midfield), but most of his points have come from Clean Sheets recently. Bobby Boswell is the best defensive option, but I don’t think Houston will be able to keep another Clean Sheet so I’d rather fill my roster with other players. Houston also has many midfield options, so you need to be surgical in your selections if you want to pick one. Frankly, it comes down to Brad Davis or Boniek Garcia. Of those 2, I lean toward Garcia. Houston does actually have one of the 3 forwards who I think is worth considering. Will Bruin has had some bright points during this playoff, but he’s still not been a reliable source for points. He’s a long shot, but one who could payoff (if he gets a full 90).
To sum up, I’m picking SKC to win this one. They have struggled to keep a home clean sheet at times, but the energy is going to be intense and I think it will light a fire under their players. If this one does come down to PKs, it’s anyone’s game.
Prediction: SKC-1 HOU-0
Portland v Real Salt Lake:
This was the surprise game of the previous round. Portland almost lost it but was able to claw back in the end and has setup what I expect to be another great game full of goals (just not quite as many as last time).
Portland has a tough defense and a excellent home record. They got burnt by RSL’s speed in their last game, but I’m sure this is something that Porter will have worked on during the break. Still, I don’t think they will be able to keep a clean sheet, so going with too many Portland defenders could be risky. Rodney Wallace is still your best bet for a defensive player who could get involved in the offense. Other than that, I don’t think their other players will be able to generate enough pints to makeup for the loss of a clean sheet. This midfield is the hardest to pick players from. There are Three good players to consider. I rank them like this: Will Johnson, Darlington Nagbe, and Diego Valeri. I like Johnson’s ability to generate both offensive and defensive bonus points, and he’s a goal threat on set pieces. Nagbe has come on in spurs all year but with Valeri not getting full 90s, and his recent goal, his form earns the second spot in my opinion. As for forwards, Portland has my second overall pick, Ryan Johnson. He’s not been getting full 90s, but he’s scored 2 goals in the last 4 games, and Portland will be desperate to make up the 2 goal differential they are coming in with.
The last two games RSL played at Portland resulted in draws (3-3 and 0-0), so Portland has not been as difficult for RSL as other teams. That does not mean that RSL will have an easy time this week, and I expect that they will have their hands full. Unfortunately, I think Portland will be able to score a couple of goals again so there are only two defenders that I would even consider from RSL. Chris Schuler is just a beast, and keeps finding the back of the net. This could easily happen again against Portland. Nat Borchers has been a defensive powerhouse and earns CBIs like it’s his job…which I guess it is. Both are good options if will end up with a mixed defense this week. In midfield, Javier Morales earned 15 points last week. Enough said? For me it is. Also, I think Kyle Beckerman could be a good pickup this week since he generated good defensive bonus points and RSL should be playing a defensive game. RSL has my top forward pick this week, but it comes with a caveat. Alvaro Saborio has done some training over this break, so if he is fit for play, I’d roll the dice on him. If not, ten RSL is also pretty hit or miss with forwards.
To sum it up, I’m sorry to say, but I think RSL will advance to the MLS final on aggregate. No disrespect to RSL. They have come on strong and are a great team. I was just really enjoying seeing Portland do so well this year.
Prediction: POR-2 RSL -1
• Yellow cards will not cary over to the Final, so SKCvHOU should be rough. But I think SKC has the best CS chance.
• PORvRSL looks like several goals could be scored again.
• Don’t forget about aggregate scores. Don’t want to get burt w/o enough players in the final.
• Keep an eye out for RSL injury reports in case Saborio is fit to play before the transfer deadline.
These are my picks, if you think there should be more names on this list, or if you have questions, please leave a comment or come to r/FantasyMLS and comment on the post. You can also leave a message on our Facebook page or you can find us on Twitter @FantasyMLSTips. Keep checking back for more updates through the week for other positions. Good Luck!