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MLS Fantasy 2018: Gameweek 1 Preview - Philadelphia vs. New England

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 Philadelphia Union's home fixture against New England Revolution. 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: Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution

There's always that one team that you wait for, and you wait for, all transfer window long to make a signing. You sit up all night scratching your head at the transfer activity, or lack of, at a given club.

In MLS, Philadelphia proved to be that exact squad this winter off-season. Their only major arrival until they signed a Number 10 in Borek Dockal, was David Accam, who will attempt to add goals into a goal-shy Philadelphia team. Philly will look to hit on the break this season, and absrob a lot of pressure, before unleashing a quick attack of Picault and Accam behind CJ Sapong in the lone forward position.

Philadelphia scored 50 goals in the regular season during 2017, only Orlando (39) and D.C. United (31) scored less. Goals will be of a concern, but Accam's arrival should help pave the way to improve on an 8th place finish in the Eastern Conference.

Philly also tend to be better at home, than they are away, only losing 4 matches from a possible 17.

Meanwhile, visitors New England are managed by former Spurs shot-stopper Brad Friedel, who is entering first season at the Revolution. Friedel's side haven't reached the play-offs in two years and that will be the aim heading into the new season.

Friedel was appointing on November 9th 2017, and is attempting to rebuild a squad for a pressing game. Based on pre-season and screening extensive preview articles, Friedel has depth in midfield and attack, and will utilise more of his squad than many other Head Coaches.

Everyone is in the unknown right now, and we've gone into the details of trying to pin New England's team for the trip to Philadelphia, but one thing is clear: Friedel has to stop a leaky defence, with The Revs conceding 61 goals last season, which is the worst record in the Eastern Conference and 3rd worst in the league behind Minnesota (70) and LA Galaxy (67). With any luck for Friedl, new signing Wilfried Zahibo will protect New England's defence in the early weeks of the season.

With Philadelphia at home, we're expecting a home victory, so it might be time to utilise some budget options from the squad (Fontana, Rosenberry), if you're looking to capitalise in other areas of your MLS Fantasy team.

2017 Results: PHI/NER

July 2nd 2017: Philadelphia Union 3-0 New England Revolution

July 29th 2017: New England Revolution 3-0 Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

Manager: Jim Curtin

Likely Formation: 4-2-3-1

Starting 11


GK - Andre Blake - $6.0 million


LB - Fabinho - $5.0 million

CB - Jack Elliot - $5.5 million

CB - Auston Trusty - $4.5 million

RB - Keegan Rosenberry - $4.5 million


CM/CDM - Alejandro Bedoya - $8.0 million

CM/CDM - Haris Medunjanin - $9.0 million

LW - David Accam - $10.0 million

RW - Fafa Picault - $7.0 million

CAM - Anthony Fontana - $4.5 million


CF - CJ Sapong - $9.5 million

Remaining Squad


GK - John McCarthy - $4.5 million

GK - Jake McGuire - $4.0 million


RB - Raymon Gaddis - $5.0 million

LB - Matt Real - $4.0 million

CB - Josh Yaro - $4.5 million

CB - Richie Marquez - $4.5 million

CB - Mark McKenzie - $4.0 million

It looks like Philly will be given a start to the young Auston Trusty to start the season, but if they go back on their plans, it will be Richie Marquez that comes in for Trusty.


CDM - Warren Creavalle - $5.5 million

CM - Derrick Jones - $6.0 million

RM - Eric Ayuk - $5.0 million

RW - Fabian Herbers - $6.5 million

RW - Marcus Epps - $5.5 million

CAM - Borek Dockal - $8.5 million (not likely to feature this week)

CAM - Ilsinho - $7.5 million (currently injured and won't play)

CAM - Adam Najem - $5.5 million

With two attacking midfielder's not playing, the incredibly cheap Anthony Fontana will likely get a start against New England.


CF - Jay Simpson - $7.0 million

CF - Cory Burke - $5.5 million

New England Revolution

Manager: Brad Friedel

Likely Formation: 4-5-1 or a high-pressing 4-3-3

Starting 11


GK - Cody Cropper - $5.0 million


LB - Gabriel Somi - $5.0 million

CB - Antonio Delamea - $5.5 million

CB - Claude Dielna - $5.0 million

RB - Andrew Farrell - $5.0 million


CDM - Wilfried Zahibo - $7.0 million

CM - Kelyn Rowe - $8.0 million

CM/CAM - Diego Fagundez - $8.5 million


LW - Krisztian Nemeth - $8.5 million (listed as a midfielder)

CF - Juan Agudelo - $8.0 million

RW - Cristian Penilla - $8.0 million

There a few different variations of formation that New England could play this season. A 4-4-2 or a 4-5-1 looks likely. Friedel's side have a wealth of options to choose from, so there's a high probability that we're missing the mark on the lineup for the opening day, but this is good as it gives potentially interested Fantasy players an air of caution.

The central midfield spots seem the most at risk, though Diego Fagundez has been touted by Friedel to play in Lee Nguyen's attacking midfield position. Scott Caldwell will challenge Zahibo for minutes, and Rowe's a versatile player who can play across the park (a James Milner type).

Caldwell may well come in for Nemeth, with the Revolution playing a defensive 4-5-1, with Fagundez and loan signing Penilla on the wings, with Rowe, Zahibo, and Caldwell in midfield. Teal Bunbury could also take one of the spots on the wing.

It's all up in the air at the moment, even in goal, so the only options who will likely play for sure are the defenders, Fagundez, Rowe, and Agudelo.

Remaining Squad


GK - Brad Knighton - $4.5 million

GK - Matt Turner - $4.0 million


LB - Chris Tierney - $4.5 million

RB - Nicolás Samayoa - $4.0 million

CB - Jalil Anibaba - $4.5 million


CDM - Scott Caldwell - $6.0 million

CM - Zachary Herivaux - $5.0 million

CM - Isaac Angking - $4.0 million

RW - Teal Bunbury - $6.5 million

CAM - Lee Nguyen - $10.5 million (lacking match fitness, also wanted to leave)


CF - Femi Hollinger-Janzen - $5.0 million

CF - Brian Wright - $5.0 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.

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.

For more MLS, follow @RealHypeTrain and @HypeTrainMLS on Twitter for the latest social media insight from The Hype Train.

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.

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All aboard.


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