It's the dreaded World Cup Qualifying week, a situation that could prove very costly for many owners that haven't planned ahead. It's also something fantasy managers best start getting accustomed to. Why you ask? Well looking at the international qualifying schedule it appears we'll run into this situation at least four or more times in the 36 rounds before playoffs.
This week we address the teams most likely to benefit from having opponents with players on international duty. The complete list of MLS players who have been called up can be found HERE.
First up, FC Dallas have home field advantage versus a gutted Real Salt Lake squad who have lost five starters including their leading goal scorer Alvaro Saborio ($10.1m). Meanwhile, Montreal Impact look to extend their winning streak at home against a New York Red Bulls team without Australian international Tim Cahill ($8.0m), and Costa Rican international Roy Miller ($4.5m). New York will also be missing the likes of Thierry Henry ($10.4m) due to injury and Juninho ($7.8m) remains questionable with a calf strain.
David Ferreira ($9.1m), FC Dallas – Listed at 5'5" the little guy commands a big price and rightfully so! Ferreira has been on the score sheet every game this season with 2 goals and 1 assist and it doesn't look likely to stop facing a destitute Real Salt Lake line up. Expect the reigning 2010 league MVP to be a nuisance all game long, we've captained him.
Matt Hedges ($5.0m), FC Dallas – It's not a typo friends, it's another Dallas player. This season Matt Hedges hasn't received a clean sheet yet, and you know what? That's totally fine with us! Matt is averaging 17 CBIs a game (That's good for being ranked 2nd in the league for clearances, blocks or interceptions) that's close to 3 defensive bonus points per match!. Factor in the 2 points for playing 60+ minutes and the mere chance of 4 points for a clean sheet, and we love it, we love it a lot! HUGE upside, get him in your team.
Team of the week (Round 4), Montreal Impact – With a perfect 3-0 start to the campaign it's no surprise that Montreal is at the top of the MLS Power Rankings. More importantly, the Impact have only Sanna Nyassi ($5.9m) away on international duty and square off against a severely depleted New York Red Bulls side that has struggled to find a win this season even when they do have a full squad.
Jeb Brovksy ($4.8m) is the man to start your Round 4 plan with. His cost will only go north of here with many people looking for value on the back line. Davy Arnaud ($7.3m) is proving to be a poor man's version of Patrice Bernier ($8.0m) or Felipe ($9.0m) as Arnaud has played the same amount of minutes and contributed slightly more in fantasy points than his fellow starting midfielders. That being said, New York has been known to concede a fair amount of penalty kicks and you can be certain that Montreal's PK specialist Bernier will be the one to step up and take them.
Lastly, be sure to avoid Alessandro Nesta ($5.1m). While not yet listed on the injury report he is out for approximately two weeks with an abductor strain. As always, keep an eye on the latest injury report updates HERE and don't forget to watch this week's edition of MLSsoccer.com's fantasy show: Starting Lineup (below). Good luck in Round 4.
For more information on prizing and how to sign up for the Official Whitecaps Fantasy League click: HERE