MLS Fantasy season is upon us, and with the game's official release The Hype Train will be taking a look at some standout performers from last season in each of the four positions, from Goalkeeper to Forward. In our fourth article of the series we take a look at the top points-scoring Forward from the 2017 season who will be playing in the MLS this season, which takes us to Eastern Conference side, New York City FC. All aboard.
2017's best MLS Fantasy Goalkeeper, Midfielder, & Defender?
If you haven't had a chance to read our first article, we provide analysis over Columbus Crew's number one, Zack Steffen of the Columbus Crew, and we also talk a little about some of the troubles that The Crew are going through as we approach the 2018 MLS season.
In our second article we look at central defender Leandro González Pírez of Atlanta United, who is one of many young Argentine players making their mark in MLS under the guidance of former Barcelona and Argentina Manager, Gerardo Martino.
In our third article we profile Western Conference side, Seattle Sounders, and glance at attacking midfielder, Nicolas Lodeiro, who is the top active MLS Fantasy player heading into the 2018 season.
You can read all three articles by going to our MLS page by clicking here.
New York City FC: An Introduction
If you're a fan of the English game, you'll recognise the colours that New York City FC boast. A light blue, eerily similar to that of Premier League, Manchester City, the team that are coasting their way to the 2017/18 league colours, and it is no coincidence that there is a connection between the teams.
Man City and New York both fall under the City Football Group, which is an umbrella of the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG), an extremely wealthy investment group that is aiming to create a dominant football empire across each continent.
Which teams operate under the City Football Group?
1 - Manchester City (England, Premier League)
2 - New York City FC (USA, Major League Soccer)
3 - Melbourne City FC (Australia, A-League)
4 - Yokohama F. Marinos (Japan, J1 League)
5 - Club Atlético Torque (Uruguay, Uruguayan Primera División)
6 - Girona (Spain, La Liga)
NYCFC entered the MLS in the 2015 season, meaning that the 2018 season is their 4th season in Major League Soccer. MLS Commisioner Don Garber was desperate for an expansion team in New York to compete with New York Red Bulls, and thought that stability and competitive edge of the City Group was the right way to go.
Every bit the sister club of Man City, New York play in light blue, and at the iconic Baseball venue, Yankee Stadium, and are headed by Premier League legend and French World Cup winner, Patrick Vieira.
Under Patrick Vieira's leadership as Head Coach the club has finished 2nd place in the Eastern Conference during both of his season's in charge (2016 and 2017), and have made the Conference Semi-finals on both occasions. Vieira will once again lead New York into the new season, and the man who has set high standards in MLS thinks his team has the capability to go all the way this season, that is despite selling Jack Harrison to parent-club Man City, who was then loaned to Championship side Middlesbrough until the end of the season).
New York is a cosmopolitan city, and that tone has reached the football club, with a diverse group of nationalities making up the squad, including David Villa, who we will delve into below.
2017's Best MLS Fantasy Forward: David Villa (New York City FC)
If you follow football across the world, there's a very big chance that it you saw the cover photo of this article, you knew that the subject of our discussion was David Villa, a Spanish World Cup winner in 2010, who is currently the King of MLS.
The 36 year-old Forward, who is priced at $11.0 million in MLS Fantasy this season, has been the tip of the spear when propelling NYCFC to consecutive 2nd place finishes in the Eastern Conference, with an overall finish of 2nd place in the 2017 season.
Top 5 MLS Fantasy Forward's (Who will be playing in 2018)
1) David Villa (New York City FC): 256 points from 31 appearances
2) Nemanja Nikolić (Chicago Fire): 240 points from 35 appearances
3) Héctor Villalba (Atlanta United): 218 points from 35 appearances
4) Ola Kamara (Columbus Crew, now at LA Galaxy): 205 points from 35 appearances
5) Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC): 200 points from 25 appearances
David Villa scored 18 goals in the 2015 season, 23 goals in the 2016 season, and managed 22 goals in the 2017 season, with his 22 goals last season only two behind GOlden Boot winner, Nemanja Nikolić.
Known as El Capitan at the club, Villa also scored NYCFC's first every MLS Cup playoff goal when he scored in the 4-1 defeat to Columbus Crew in the first-leg of the Conference Semi-finals in the East (New York would win the second-leg 2-0 but lose 4-3 on aggregate), with both New York teams eliminated at this stage).
Last season, Patrick Vieira opted for a 4-3-3 formation, with David Villa as the central Forward, with Jack Harrison (now at Man City), and Costa Rica international Rodney Wallace (still at the club) on the flanks. Italian great, Andrea Pirlo, also featured 15 times in midfield last season for New York.
The case for David Villa is pretty obvious heading into the 2018 season. He is New York's captain, penalty taker, and go-to man in a motivated team that is likely going to finish near the top of MLS's standings come the end of the year. In terms of a comparison, he is every bit the Sergio Aguero type that FPL players have come to love over the years - an exciting and lethal Forward who brings a certain exotic charm that can deliver massive Fantasy returns at a whim on a regular basis, and one who dominates in relation to the accumulation of bonus points.
New York start their season at Sporting Kansas City, the side with the best defensive record from 2017, so it will be interesting to see if David Villa is preferred by many MLS Fantasy players.
How does a Forward accumulate Bonus Points in MLS Fantasy?
The official MLS Fantasy game does bonus points differently. Instead of in the Fantasy Premier League, which sees players rewarded based of BPS (Bonus Points System), players in MLS don't miss out on bonus and are awarded on the following criteria:
4 clearances = 1 bonus
2 blocks = 1 bonus
4 interceptions = 1 bonus
4 tackles = 1 bonus
6 recovered balls = 1 bonus
Error leading to a goal = -1 bonus
3 crosses = 1 point
3 key passes = 1 point
Every big chance created = 1 point
The 2018 MLS Fantasy Season
MLS returns on Saturday March 3rd 2018, and you can join our very own MLS Fantasy League by clicking here, or alternatively by using the league code RDPUAHR2 whilst on the MLS Fantasy site, or checking out our pinned tweet on our @HypeTrainMLS Twitter account. We'd love to have you aboard for the ride.
You can read more of our latest news from in the FPL, Premier League, and around the footballing world on our Football page by clicking here, or by clicking the image below.
Want to know more about The Hype Train?
The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in the Fantasy Premier League (#FPL), providing beautiful graphics and weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb ranking tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review movies, live sport, and professional wrestling.
As well as providing FPL articles on our website, we are a founding Contributor to the new Fantasy Football Hub, where you can find more unique articles, including weekly Power Rankings, from The Hype Team. You can support us and read exclusive members only content for just £2 per-month by clicking here.
The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog 2016' by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), with the final presentation held at Old Trafford in Manchester.