MLS Fantasy Manager 2016 week 21 brings us to the halfway point of the season and, because of the All-Star game, most of the games are on Sunday. Only one match is played on Saturday this week. This means that some of the league’s big stars could be seeing rest for the weekend’s matches and there’s a chance for other great players to shine.

TOP FORWARD PICKS

Robbie Keane, Los Angeles Galaxy, $11.7

MLS Fantasy Manager
(Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

Robbie Keane has lit things up since he returned to the line-up for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Keane has spent time away due to injuries and international duty but now can focus on his club team.The Galaxy are playing on this road over the weekend and they don’t have a great away record but one of their road wins came in Seattle where they play on Sunday. Guess who scored in that 1-0 win—that’s right, Robbie Keane. I think he’ll repeat that again this weekend because of how good he’s been playing. He could also pick up bonuses for his attacking play and possibly an assist if he gets help from his team.

Maximiliano Urruti, F.C. Dallas, $8.6

(USA TODAY Sports)
(USA TODAY Sports)

Maxi Urruti is not a great hold-up forward, he isn’t the best with his back to the goal, but when he has great service and can head towards goal with the ball at his feet he is hard to stop. Losing Fabian Castillo is a big blow to the F.C. Dallas attack but I think they’ll be able to keep their undefeated home record this weekend with Urruti heating up again. He probably won’t earn any assists but he’ll pick up bonuses for his attacking play and shots on goal. At least one of those shots will go in for the F.C.D. striker and he should help his team stay on top of the league.

Dom Dwyer, Sporting Kansas City, $10.2

(USA TODAY Sports)
(USA TODAY Sports)

There are rumors circulating that Dom Dwyer could be leaving for Olympiakos for a hefty sum but I doubt he’s gone by this weekend. Dwyer has managed to cobble together a solid season so far with some streaky play that is keeping his team in a playoff spot after a rough start. Sporting Kansas City welcomes the road winless Portland Timbers to Children’s Mercy Park this weekend. Dom Dwyer should be able to take advantage of a team missing the heart of its defense by either scoring goals himself or earning bonuses from assists and his attacking. I wouldn’t be surprised if he put together another 10-plus-point game.

TOP MIDFIELD PICKS

Kevin Molino, Orlando City S.C., $8.6

(Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports)

It still boggles my mind that Kevin Molino is cobbling together the great year he is having for such a mediocre team. This weekend is a “six-pointer” against the New England Revolution and a must-win game for O.C.S.C. if they hope to make the playoffs. Molino has turned into a key part of the O.C.S.C. attack and will have to play an amazing game this weekend—I think he’ll step it up for his team with another 10-plus-point game by netting a goal of his own while also earn an assist. He could also pick up bonuses for his attacking play.

Chris Pontius, Philadelphia Union, $7.4

(Trevor Ruszkowski)
(Trevor Ruszkowski)

The Philadelphia Union have slowed a bit since their amazing start to the season but they’re still playing good soccer. Chris Pontius is their MVP and main reason they’re still going strong in the playoff hunt. The Union play a strong road opponent this week, Real Salt Lake, but I think that Pontius will have a strong match no matter the final outcome. Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman could have tired legs after appearing in the All-Star game on Thursday night and that could mean more opportunities for Pontius to shine by taking advantage of the situation. I’m not sure he’ll score but he could pick up points for his attacking play, his defensive play, and his passing which all add up to at least a seven point match for Pontius.

Dax McCarty, New York Red Bulls, $9.3

(Ben Solomon/NYRB)
(Ben Solomon/NYRB)

Dax McCarty is the most underrated midfielder in Major League Soccer since he joined the league. His ability to play some of the best offense and defense in the league week in and week out has turned him into the most reliable player for New York Red Bulls. He’s not always on the scoring end of things but his ability to start scoring opportunities with his ability to win challenges keeps his team in almost every match. New York plays in Chicago this weekend but it’s a winnable road match because of how bad the Fire are this year. I don’t foresee him picking up a goal this match but an assist paired with passing and defensive bonuses could turn this into a big match for McCarty.

TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS

Steven Beitashour, Toronto F.C., $7.7

(USA TODAY Sports)
(USA TODAY Sports)

Steven Beitashour continues to contribute strongly to Toronto F.C.’s defense and offense with his amazing tenacity. He’s able to keep offenses from getting a strong foothold while still keeping the opposing back fields from pushing to high against him. Toronto F.C. play at home this weekend against a Columbus Crew side that has yet to win on the road. Beitashour should be able to keep Columbus Crew from scoring more than one goal at home but I won’t be surprised if he helps earn the clean sheet for his side. He should also pick up some attacking and passing bonuses to go with his defensive work which means a strong points tally.

Jelle Van Damme, Los Angeles Galaxy, $8.7

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Jelle Van Damme has turned into one of the best offseason acquisitions this year. He’s susceptible to giving the ball away at inopportune times but makes up for it with his tackling skill and ability to break up scoring chances. Van Damme should have little problem against a still floundering Sounders attack that can’t stay above water. It’s rare that Los Angeles have a strong defensive showing on the road but this would be their best shot at it this season and I think Van Damme will play a big role in it. If he manages to miss out on the clean sheet bonus, I think he’ll still have a strong enough game to make up for it.

David Horst, Houston Dynamo, $7.3

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

I usually wouldn’t pick a Houston Dynamo defender with the horrible season they are having but this is week is their best shot at a strong home win in quite a long time. The San José Earthquakes are a weak road team and their best striker will not be as rested this weekend due to his appearance in the All-Star game. Horst is possibly Houston’s best defender this season and his strong numbers show it. He should continue to play great defense this weekend but could earn a bigger bonus from the probable clean sheet his team will earn.

GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK

Brian Rowe, Los Angeles Galaxy, $5.1 

(Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports)
(Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports)

Brian Rowe continues to surprisingly impress week after week with his improvement as starting goalkeeper for the Galaxy. I don’t usually pick goalkeepers when they’re on the road but Los Angeles and Rowe have played so strongly lately while Seattle have played so weakly. There’s a slight possibility that Seattle could finally scoring boots this weekend but I don’t see them scoring more than one goal which means big bonuses for Rowe. He should also pick up extra points for multiple saves and his defensive bonuses.

 

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