International week has now come and gone, and hopefully as fantasy managers we're all more experienced because of it. More importantly though is whether or not all your players who were called-up have come back healthy and motivated for Round 5. For certain the US internationals like Matt Besler ($6.0m), Omar Gonzalez ($6.1m), Graham Zusi ($9.8m), Brad Davis ($8.9m) and Eddie Johnson ($9.9m) will be riding high after surviving the Azteca in Mexico and defeating Costa Rica at what looked like the North Pole.
Whether you capitalized or didn’t fare so well last round I still have some good news for you. The powers that be at the MLS Fantasy Manager head office have made a few alterations to transfers in the next two rounds. With CONCACAF scheduling implications they have given us an extra transfer in Round 6. Also if you don't make use of your two transfers in Round 5, one of them will roll over giving Round 6 a potential four free transfers! Plan accordingly.
Graham Zusi ($9.8m), Sporting Kansas City – How to make this as blunt as possible... if this guy isn't in your lineup then you have a problem. A quick glance at the schedule for Sporting Kansas show Round 8 and Round 11 are double game weeks. Zusi is now owned by a whopping 35.7% of the league and will only become more expensive as we get closer to the double headers. Now is the time to bite the bullet and finally find the salary cap to buy him. We like his home match versus Montreal as a nice welcome back from his national team duties.
Clint Irwin ($4.1m), Colorado Rapids – This is a pure value play. With the news of Colorado's starting goalkeeper Matt Pickens ($4.9m) out 3-4 months with a broken arm, it appears it's Clint Irwin's job to lose. We don't believe in having 2 starting goalies in any fantasy formation but considering the cheapest keepers come in at about $3.9m, it's a smart play to have Irwin on your bench. If you have a free transfer handy this addition could net you some good salary growth several weeks down the road.
Team of the week (Round 5), FC Dallas – Fresh off their win last week against a roster depleted Real Salt Lake, Dallas find themselves on top of the Western Conference facing a home contest against New England Revolution. With the Revolution only tallying one goal so far this season, it’s a great match to load up on Dallas defenders.
Matt Hedges ($5.0m) surprise, surprise...Mr. Hedges is on our blog again for a 2nd week in a row. Previously we mentioned the defender's amazing ability to rack up bonus points without a clean sheet, well last week he rewarded us with both and we expect him to do it again. Michel Garbini Pereira ($5.0m) looks like he's taken the role of last years Zach Lloyd ($5.0m). While both are starters for Dallas, Pereira has been getting a fair amount of key passes and crosses into the box for the team, a playing style which many are waiting for Lloyd to recapture.
George John ($5.6m) is the most expensive defender on the roster but we recommend steering clear of him. The cheaper alternatives listed above are much better fantasy savvy plays.
For more advice from the pros check out the latest episode of MLSsoccer.com's Starting Lineup below:
As always, keep an eye on the latest injury report updates HERE. Good luck in Round 5.
For more information on prizing and how to sign up for the Official Whitecaps Fantasy League click: HERE