Fantasy Forecast: Playoffs Edition
Semi-Finals Second Leg
November 6, 2013
It seems nobody's fate was sealed in the first leg, but definitely some lines were drawn in the sand. By far one the biggest surprises from this first leg was the New York Red Bulls slipping from a potential strangle hold on the Houston Dynamo. A close second was perhaps Sporting Kansas conceding twice and losing to the New England Revolution. Looking ahead to the next leg we see which teams and players can close out their series, advance and further contribute to fantasy managers in the conference finals.
New York Red Bulls vs Houston Dynamo
The New York Red Bulls made a powerhouse home team Houston Dynamo look very, very average. Unfortunately for them a rush of blood to the head by defender Jamison Olave ($5.9m) changed the scene dramatically with the Dynamo able to recover two goals and draw the match following his ejection. With away goals not a factor in the MLS Cup, everything is now up for grabs. After yet another special performance from Red Bulls Dedicated Player Tim Cahill ($8.1m) it's no wonder why the New York are firing on all cylinders of late. He's a must have in anyone's fantasy team, averaging eight points in his last five games. We wouldn't recommend having your heart set on any defenders this match however, as this second leg has plenty of goal potential, so look for your clean sheet bonuses elsewhere.
Sporting Kansas vs New England Revolution
Fans and fantasy managers alike were surprised with Kansas' defeat in the first leg but that doesn't change much in this tie as Sporting definitely has the squad depth to win at home. Graham Zusi ($10.5m) is a must have. Even with Zusi not featuring on the score sheet he still managed to amass four bonus points, and with that attacking presence he's our favourite for picking up an assist or goal this leg. Aurélien Collin ($6.8m) nothing needs to be said about his value to fantasy managers, a pure bonus machine. A high potential for a clean sheet this leg could put Colin very close to another nine point performance. If you're looking at filling out the roster or opening up some salary cap to get players like Collin, a great value play would be Lawrence Olum ($4.0m). Olum is a midfielder listed as a defender which ups his chances of receiving an attacking bonus in addition to a clean sheet.
Los Angeles Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake are likely licking their wounds and thanking their lucky stars returning home only a goal down after the first leg in Los Angeles. A very rare outing for Robbie Keane (11.0m) missing a handful of chances, but he and Landon Donovan ($10.2m) remain irreplaceable to your fantasy squad, with Omar Gonzalez ($6.1m) filling out the dynamic trio. Jamie Penedo ($4.9m) is one of our goalies this week, with an honourable mention to Portland's Donovan Ricketts ($5.5m) and our second favourite this week Jimmy Nielsen ($5.7m).
Portland Timbers vs Seattle Sounders FC
Seattle managed to keep their hopes alive thanks to a 90th minute goal, but have an uphill battle against a Portland side that has only lost a single match at home all season and even that being almost eight months ago. Throw a dart at the Portland starting line up and you'll likely end up happy for this leg. The two key midfielders in the squad Diego Valeri ($8.0m) and Darlington Nagbe ($8.0m) have quickly made names for themselves that rival last year's breakout of Graham Zusi & Brad Davis. Cheap defender Mamadou Danso ($4.2m) has been a diamond in the rough and what a time to discover, he's a big piece to why Portland has five clean sheets in their last seven matches.