MLS returns this weekend with 10 matches kicking off the 2018 campaign, and for many Fantasy players, we're nearing the business end of picking our teams. Ahead of the new season we will be previewing games, with an eye at looking at who will be playing for MLS Fantasy players, in hope of aiding their selection for the highly anticipated first Gameweek of the season. This preview focuses on Vancouver Whitecaps's home fixture against Canadian rivals Montreal Impact. United. All aboard.
MLS Fantasy: Gameweek 1
For us in the UK, the first game of the weekend starts at 6pm, with current Supporters' Shield winners and MLS Cup holders Toronto FC going up against Columbus Crew.
Three teams will be missing this weekend, with Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, and New York Red Bulls, omitted from the discussion this week. You can check out the fixture list below.
You can also read all of our MLS Fantasy articles on our specialist page, by clicking here.
Gameweek 1: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Montreal Impact
Former Wolves and Sunderland midfielder, Carl Robinson, found a route into management via MLS, and has been in charge of Canadian side Vancouver Whitecaps since December 2013, entering his 5th season in charge of the club.
Without trying to sound damning about the type of football that Vancouver will play this season, the club are long-ball specialists, expected to score from set-pieces, and will hit teams on the counter attack after absorbing pressure. This exact strategy is utilised by West Brom in the Premier League, and it is the most apt comparison, only Vancouver were successful in MLS last season.
Robinson's side finished 3rd in the Western Conference, and finished just one point off the top of the division, with the team collapsing in the final weeks, and during a play-off conference semi-finals against Seattle Sounders.
In MLS Fantasy the side have an interesting home encounter against a Canadian rival in Montreal Impact, who are managed by former Aston Villa manager, Remi Garde, who is heading into his first season.
Kei Kamara is the target man in the box for Vancouver and could cause Impact's defence a lot of worry on opening day, but that is dependant on if he receives the service from wider areas, and set pieces. Kamara has spent most of his career in MLS as a journeyman, and had a spell playing for Middlesbrough in the 2013/14 season, scoring 4 goals in 25 appearances.
Vancouver also have cheap options in Aaron Maund ($4.5m) in central defence, and Alphonso Davies ($5.5m) on the left wing.
As for Garde, he's going to put a lot of emphasis in youth this season, and will most likely be building a new core this season. Aside from the veteran Piatti, who will be stationed out on the left, the squad is young.
What is worrying among Montreal fans is the shortage of central defending options at the club, which makes this tie potentially interesting for a Kei Kamara to open his account for Vancouver with a bang, and that's why we think Vancouver will likely nick this game in what will be a tight and fiesty affair in Canada.
2017 Results: VAN/MON
April 29th 2017: Montreal Impact 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps
Manager: Carl Robinson
Likely Formation: 4-2-3-1
GK - Stefan Marinovic - $5.5 million
LB - Marcel de Jong - $5.0 million
CB - Aaron Maund - $4.5 million
CB - Kendall Waston - $6.0 million
RB - Jake Nerwinski - $5.0 million
CM/CDM - Efrain Juarez - $7.5 million
CM/CDM - Aly Ghazal - $6.5 million
LM - Alphonso Davies - $5.5 million
RM - Cristian Techera - $8.5 million
CAM - Yordy Reyna - $9.5 million
CF - Kei Kamara - $8.5 million
GK - Spencer Richey - $4.0 million
GK - Brian Rowe - $4.5 million
LB/LW - Brek Shea - $4.5 million (listed as a Defender)
RB - Sean Franklin - $4.5 million
CB - Jose Aja - $5.0 million
CB - Doneil Henry - $4.5 million (injured)
CM - Brett Levis - $4.0 million (listed as a Defender)
Tim Parker’s future is up in the air, and he’s unlikely to feature on Sunday, which leaves Aaron Maund likely to start alongside club captain Kendall Waston.
CDM - Russell Teibert - $6.0 million
CDM - Deybi Flores - $5.0 million
CM - David Norman Jr. - $4.0 million
RM/RW - Bernie Ibini - $7.0 million
RM/RW - Nicolas Mezquida - $6.0 million
CF - Anthony Blondell - $8.0 million
CF - Erik Hurtado - $6.5 million
CF - Myer Bevan - $4.5 million
Manager: Remi Garde
Likely Formation: 4-2-3-1
GK - Evan Bush - $5.0 million
LB - Jukka Raitala - $4.5 million
CB - Victor Cabrera - $5.0 million
CB - Daniel Lovitz - $4.5 million
RB - Michael Petrasso - $4.5 million
CM/CDM - Samuel Piette - $7.5 million
CM/CDM - Saphir Taïder - $8.0 million
RM - Raheem Edwards - $6.0 million
LM - Ignacio Piatti - $10.5 million
CAM - Jeisson Vargas - $8.5 million
CF - Matteo Mancosu - $7.0 million
GK - Jason Beaulieu - $4.5 million
GK - Clement Diop - $4.0 million
RB - Chris Duvall - $5.0 million
CB - Kyle Fisher - $4.5 million
CB - Thomas Meilleur-Giguere - $4.5 million
There is a battle with Petrasso and Duvall for the right back spot, so this is the only area of potential rotation, but pre-season suggests that Petrasso will get the nod against Vancouver.
CDM - Marco Donadel - $6.0 million
CM - Shamit Shome - $4.5 million
CM - Ken Krolicki - $4.5 million
LM - Louis Beland-Goyette - $5.0 million
LM/LW - David Choiniere - $5.0 million
RW/CF - Michael Salazar - $5.5 million
RW/CF - Dominic Oduru - $6.0 million
CF - Anthony Jackson-Hamel - $6.5 million
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.
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