MLS Fantasy Manager week 33
MLS Fantasy Manager week 33 is the penultimate round of the Major League Soccer season. It looks as if it will come down to the wire for many of the teams hoping to make the post season. These players are going to have to come up big if they want their squads to end up where they wanted to at the start of the year.
TOP FORWARD PICKS
Cyle Larin, Orlando City S.C., $6.0
Orlando City S.C. are fighting for their playoff lives with only two matches left. They have to win this weekend to avoid being mathematically eliminated. Cyle Larin is the leading Rookie of the Year candidate and this weekend won’t change that. He will have plenty of chances to score as O.C.S.C. play fellow expansion team New York City F.C.. N.Y.C.F.C. have been criticized all year for their lack of difference but have made up for it with an amazing attack. Both teams are going to trade plenty offensive punches this weekend and Larin will contribute to whatever goals O.C.S.C..
Mike Grella, New York Red Bulls, $6.4
Mike Grella is wrapping up an amazing season for the best team in the Eastern Conference. I’m sure much of it has to do with the team around him but I’m not taking anything away from how well he has played up top with Bradley Wright-Phillips. New York is in the driver’s seat for the Supporters’ Shield and two wins this week will practically seal it. They can clinch top seed in the East with a win or tie against Toronto F.C. and if they don’t find a way to do that midweek, they get another shot this weekend against Philadelphia. Grella isn’t going to have two amazing games, it’s not he has played this season, but I can see him having one outstanding match and then a respectable one. He’s going to do better against Philadelphia on the weekend so don’t be disheartened if he only pulls in a couple of points midweek. He’s going to come away with more than eight points before the weekend is out.
Dom Dwyer, Sporting Kansas City, $10.0
Dom Dwyer did not have the season experts thought he would have. It wasn’t a bad season by any means, just not a great one. He’s been able to still come through for his club when it was important and he will again this weekend as Sporting Kansas City need to win (or draw and get some help from Portland) on Wednesday night to secure a playoff spot. I think Sporting will have a tough time on the road in San José but should have a better time at home against Colorado on the weekend. Dwyer could tally a goal against San José but he’s going to light up Colorado who have been out of the playoff race for weeks.
TOP MIDFIELD PICKS
Mauro Diaz, F.C. Dallas, $10.2
Mauro Diaz needs to stay healthy and focus if F.C. Dallas want to stay in the hunt for the Supporters’ Shield or top spot in the Western Conference. F.C.D. has much more offensive pop when he is in the line-up and his squad will definitely need him with Fabian Castillo still away on international duty for the Wednesday game. The match against Vancouver at home midweek is practically winner-take-all for the Western conference. F.C.D. play better at home which bodes well and the road match on the weekend against Real Salt Lake is winnable, even with R.S.L. fighting to stay alive. Diaz matches up well against the less physical Vancouver midfield and I think he’s going to have a “Man of the Match” performance with the help of his strikers. The match against R.S.L. will be tougher but the team will need him if they want to have the Supporters’ Shield at the end of next week. Look for him to rack up his points on Wednesday and pick up a few extra on the weekend.
Dax McCarty, New York Red Bulls, $8.5
Dax McCarty isn’t the offensive engine of the New York Red Bulls midfield but he still finds ways to be crucial to their attack. He’s going to get defensive bonuses against both Toronto and Philadelphia this weekend since both teams have a strong central attack and he’s going to have a hell of a time trying to stop Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco (if he makes it back in time for the match since he is away on international duty). He’s going to get a chance to gain more attacking bonuses going forward against Philadelphia on the weekend since their central midfield isn’t as strong as Toronto’s and they don’t have a single attacker who will have to occupy his time.
Jonathon Osorio, Toronto F.C., $7.1
Toronto F.C. is going to have a tough time on Wednesday night against New York Red Bull as they’ll be missing Jozy Altidore and likely Sebastian Giovinco. This means that Jonathon Osorio will get an opportunity to help Toronto in their last playoff push with more playing time and importance to the attack. He’s a winger who plays better when he has more targets or help from the middle. Both matches are against tough opponents but the weekend will be easier for Toronto with their stars returning from international duty. Toronto must find multiple goals each game if they want to win and they can’t do that without Osorio having big matches each time—he’ll come through.
TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS
Zach Loyd, F.C. Dallas, $8.1
Zach Loyd is the rock of the F.C. Dallas defense. He’s played the majority of matches in every season he has worn an F.C. Dallas jersey and played them well. He’s going to have to come up big this week for his team to stay in the hunt for best record. The F.C.D. defense has been solid all season and Zach Loyd will be key to that during both matches this week. Loyd matches up particularly well against both the Vancouver and Salt Lake attacks. While I’m not sure where Loyd will line up on the back line, I’m sure he’ll be there to pick up plenty of defending bonuses since at least one of these matches will be low scoring.
Kevin Ellis, Sporting Kansas City, $6.8
Kevin Ellis is another defender who has been key to his team’s success this season. Sporting Kansas City’s match on the road against San José midweek will be a tougher affair but Colorado will have a hard time wining on the road this weekend. He’s still a perfect target on set pieces and will pick up plenty of defending bonuses in each match. Colorado hasn’t exactly been throwing in the towel but they’re not nearly the threat to a clean sheet that San José is. Kansas City has to win on Wendesday if they want to make qualifying for the playoffs easy but don’t be surprised to see them wrap it up this weekend. Ellis will come up big either way.
Damien Perrinelle, New York Red Bulls, $7.1
I’m still surprised at the impact that Perrinelle had on the New York defense this season. He’s not only been a key to their success but also been very much missed when not in the line-up. Perrinelle will have some issues against the Toronto attack on the road, even with their missing starters, but will have an easier time against Philadelphia at home this weekend. He’s a threat on set pieces but is even better his clearances to keep his team in it. He won’t have many chances for attacking bonuses against Toronto but plenty chances for defending bonuses. He’ll possibly pick up both against Philadelphia.
GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK
Tim Melia, Sporting Kansas City, $5.1
Speaking of surprises, Tim Melia could be the biggest surprise for any club this season. He’s been a rock for Sporting Kansas City since entering the starting 11 early in the year. There’s a chance he could be rested for one of these matches but I doubt coach Peter Vermes will want to take any chances with the playoff implications in each match. One of these matches will be a clean sheet and he’ll pick up plenty defending bonuses with San Jose’s aggressive attack coming at him. He’s a smart pick than other goalkeepers playing twice this week if only for the one match of a guaranteed weaker attack.
Cesar Gutierrez covers MLS for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @namcopunk