MLS Fantasy Manager week 28 brings the full league back to action as the international fixture dates have passed. Two teams are pulling double duty this week as Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City play midweek as well as on the weekend. The playoff race is getting down to the nitty-gritty which means managers playing their strongest line-ups where possible. Check the standings and check the injury report to see who needs to fight for their lives and who is left standing.

TOP FORWARD PICKS

Gary Rohman/USA TODAY Sports Images
Gary Rohman/USA TODAY Sports Images

Dom Dwyer, Sporting Kansas City, $10.4

Dom Dwyer has two matches on the road this week but one of those is against Orlando City, the club where he went on loan and lit up the scoreboard when it was still a USL team. Some are calling it a homecoming, others are calling it just another road game but I think it’s a great opportunity for him to stay on the score sheet. Both teams are in the thick of a playoff hunt but S.K.C. is fighting to keep their spot while Orlando is fighting to stay in it. I expect this game to be high scoring and fast paced which means plenty of chances for the Sporting attack. Dom Dwyer will be able to get through the O.C.S.C. defense and possibly get an assist in a set piece situation.

AP Photo

Kekuta Manneh, Vancouver Whitecaps, $7.4

Vancouver Whitecaps have so many attacking options it’s scary. They can beat their opponents with their midfield but tear them apart with their forwards. Octavio Rivero has been a mainstay at the top with a rotating cast of strike partners. Kekuta Manneh is having a great season and has capitalized on most of his opportunities when they present themselves. Vancouver has a rough match midweek against a revitalized Colorado team that have clawed their way out of the conference cellar and are holding on in the playoff hunt. The Rapids defense is a tough nut to crack but Vancouver has all the tools to do so. Manneh will do wonderfully if he gets the start. If he doesn’t then he’ll be brought on as impact sub who will play his role perfectly.

Jim Tuttle/The Dallas Morning News

David Texeira, F.C. Dallas, $7.2

I would have had a hard time believing anyone who told me at the beginning of the season that David Texeira would be the number one choice up top for F.C. Dallas but he’s earned that spot with his work rate. F.C. Dallas is a team that lives and dies by its midfield, where most of their scoring comes from, but Texeira has an understanding with his teammates that lets him contribute without putting the ball in the back of the net. Sometimes it’s an assist, sometimes it’s his hold-up play, or even a great through ball. No matter how it’s perceived, he’s become an integral cog in the F.C.D. machine.

TOP MIDFIELD PICKS

Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports
Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports

Graham Zusi, Sporting Kansas City, $10.9

Graham Zusi is having a bad year. He’s shown the occasional sign of brilliance of the past two seasons but he hasn’t been anywhere his pre-World Cup form. A two game week is exactly the shot in the arm he will use to regain some of that form. Both matches are on the road, as previously mentioned, but Sporting Kansas City has proven that they can score on the road even if they don’t win. Zusi matches up well against the less physical outside backs of Portland and Orlando. He’ll impose his will on both sides and come away with plenty of attacking bonuses and assists.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Sebastian Lletget, Los Angeles Galaxy, $6.8

Sebastian Lletget is the best midseason signing by any team this year and, at this, point is possibly the most bang fantasy managers will get for their buck. He’s just as key to the Los Angeles attack as his high-priced teammates and is putting up numbers almost as impressive as Robbie Keane or Giovani Dos Santos. He’s a pure play maker who can make the perfect pass to set up a scoring play. L.A. faces the defensively unimpressive Montreal Impact at home this weekend and, even with only one game, any Galaxy star will be hard to leave off of your roster.

Icon Sportswire via AP Image

Sacha Kljestan, New York Red Bulls, $10.1

Sacha Kljestan cannot be denied right now. He’s playing the finest soccer he has played in years for a team that’s performing beyond the aspirations of their fans and owners after the offseason they had. New York is playing a Chicago team that has much more offensive bite than they have in previous months but are still lacking the defensive play to catapult them into a playoff spot. They’ll be unable to contain Kljestan this weekend but that’s okay because no one else can either.

TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS

Robbie Rogers
Danny Moloshok / Associated Press

Robbie Rogers, Los Angeles Galaxy, $7.4

Bruce Arena has turned Robbie Rogers into one of the best outside defenders in the league. He hasn’t given up his hold on the position since he was slotted in there during the middle of the 2014 season. Montreal has a deadly attack when they can get going but the Los Angeles defense is known for being able to control the ball enough to not give the other team a chance. Robbie Rogers has enough understanding of his team and the position to be able to contribute to the attack without sacrificing any of his defensive responsibilities. There’s a high chance of this game being a clean sheet for L.A. but Montreal is much more go than stop so giving up a goal or two won’t seem too bad if he can make it up with attacking bonuses.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Steven Beitashour, Vancouver Whitecaps, $7.6

Steven Beitashour is quietly having one of the best defensive seasons in the league. The entire Vancouver back line has been impressive all year with their defending and their attacking. Beithashour matches up well against the slower Colorado defense and their midfield. He’s got enough pace to beat their wingers and full backs with enough skill to swing in some gorgeous crosses. This game will not be high scoring unless it’s a lopsided outcome in Vancouver’s favor. Look for Beitashour to pick up some attacking bonuses and a possible assist.

David Zalubowski, AP

Maynor Figueroa, Colorado Rapids, $7.2

Colorado plays twice this week and it’s hard to not recommend someone for a roster this week. They’ve been resurgent as of late but still have a lot of ground to make up. Their defense is the one thing keeping them mathematically in the hunt this deep into the season and the addition of Maynor Figueroa has given them the boost they need for the final stretch. He’s not only notched a goal already during his short time with the team but also has a clean sheet. He’s got two chances for clean sheets this week but his best shot will be at home against D.C. United. D.C. is one of the best teams in the league but Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is one of the hardest stadiums to score in. Both games will be close and Figueroa will be the difference if Colorado hopes to not let in anything.

GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Deric, Houston Dynamo, $5.0

Houston is hanging on for their playoff lives right now and Tyler Deric is one of the main reasons they are still in the hunt. He’s young and is standing on his head every game. Houston welcomes collapsing Real Salt Lake who suddenly find themselves in last place. Real Salt Lake also plays horribly in Texas and I don’t expect that to change this weekend with their current struggling form. Deric and Houston will win this game, whether it’s a clean sheet will depend on if Deric can help his defense keep it.

Cesar Gutierrez covers MLS for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @namcopunk

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