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 LA Galaxy's home fixture against Portland Timbers. 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: LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers
On paper this match is between two of the Western Conference's powerhouses, and yes we're going to compare them by their history and play style as two Premier League clubs.
LA Galaxy are the most famed club in MLS, but have gone off the boil for the past three years, even finishing dead last in the overall MLS standings with just 32 points, which is less than a point per game. They are of course the Manchester United of the league, with large financial resources, with a large backing internationally.
The Timbers, however, have a very attack, but there are question marks over their defence, and ultimately their MLS Cup credentials this season. The way they are described by journalists about the attack, and throwing caution to the wind, is very Liverpool in nature.
On paper, these two big names in MLS should be competing for honours on a regular basis, and this should be a Goliath match, but in truth we're talking about two teams in transition.
Portland have a new Manager, and LA Galaxy have tinkered with their team during the off-season, and will be aiming to greatly improve on their performance, especially since Los Angeles FC have joined MLS this season to provide a city rival for The Galaxy.
New Portland Timbers Head Coach, Giovanni Savarese, will manage his first MLS game against LA Galaxy and coached NASL side New York Cosmos for four years, and has managed Spanish World Cup winner Raul. He's an icon in North American football and this is his first season at Portland, and it looks like he'll have a hard job keeping Portland in the top spot in the Western Conference this season, with many potentially resurgent teams in the West vying for playoff places.
Sigi Schmid is an MLS veteran, and spent most of his time at Seattle Sounders, and now is tasked with getting the best out of new signing Ola Kamara, who has proved that he was a regular goal-scorer with Columbus Crew.
From a Fantasy point of view, this match pits the top points scorer, Romain Alessandrini, against the highly-rated Diego Valeri, who had an amazing 2017.
Our advice would be to not consider defensive assets for this game, as both teams are set up to score. LA host a few cheap options in defence to potentially line the bench, but in reality this match will have goals in it. Portland have gotten the better of LA twice last season, so our emphasis is on an away win to begin the season.
2017 Results: LGA/POR
March 12th 2017: LA Galaxy 0-1 Portland Timbers
August 6th 2017: Portland Timbers 3-1 LA Galaxy
Manager: Sigi Schmid
Likely Formation: 4-2-3-1
GK - David Bingham - $5.0 million
LB - Ashley Cole - $4.5 million
CB - Jorgen Skjelvik - $5.5 million
CB - Michael Ciani - $5.5 million
RB - Rolf Feltscher - $5.0 million
CM/CDM - Perry Kitchen - $7.0 million
CM/CDM - Joao Pedro - $7.0 million
LM - Emmanuel Boateng - $6.0 million
RM - Romain Alessandrini - $11.0 million
CAM - Giovani dos Santos - $9.0 million (listed as a Forward)
CF - Ola Kamara - $9.5 million
GK - Brian Sylvestre - $4.5 million
CB - Tomas Hilliard-Arce - $4.5 million
CB - Dave Romney - $4.5 million
CB - Daniel Steres - $4.5 million
CB - Emrah Klimenta - $4.5 million
There's a debate as to who will partner Skjelvik at CB this season, with many outlets such as goal believing that Daniel Steres will get the nod ahead of Ciani for the opening game against Portland, which would be a positive for Fantasy owners if this were the case.
LM - Chris Pontius - $7.0 million
CM - Sebastian Lletget - $8.0 million (currently injured)
CM - Servando Carrasco - $5.5 million
CM - Baggio Husidic - $6.0 million
LW - Ariel Lassiter - $5.0 million
CF - Bradford Jamieson IV - $5.5 million
Manager: Giovanni Savarese
Likely Formation: 4-2-3-1
GK - Jake Gleeson - $5.0 million
LB - Marco Farfan - $4.5 million
CB - Liam Ridgewell - $5.5 million
CB - Larrys Mabiala - $6.0 million
RB - Alvas Powell - $5.0 million
CM/CDM - Diego Chara - $7.5 million
CM/CDM - David Guzman - $8.0 million
LM - Sebastian Blanco - $8.5 million
RM - Andy Polo - $8.0 million
CAM - Diego Valeri - $11.0 million
CF - Fanendo Adi - $9.5 million
GK - Jeff Attinella - $5.0 million
GK - Kendall McIntosh - $4.0 million
LB - Vytas Andriuskevicius - $5.0 million
RB - Zarek Valentin - $5.0 million
CB - Julio Cascante - $5.5 million
CB - Roy Miller - $5.0 million
CB - Modou Jadama - $4.5 million
If there is an injury to Ridgewell or Mabiala, which has been talked about a lot, new signing Cascante should get the chance to step up into the team.
CB/CDM - Lawrence Olum - $5.5 million
CDM - Victor Arboleda - $5.0 million
CM - Cristhian Paredes- $5.5 million
LM - Jack Barmby - $5.5 million
RM/RW - Dairon Asprilla - $6.5 million
RM/RW - Victor Arboleda - $5.0 million
CAM - Andres Flores - $5.5 million
CAM - Eryk Williamson - $4.5 million
CF - Samuel Armenteros - $8.0 million
CF - Jeremy Ebobisse - $5.5 million
CF - Foster Langsdorf - $4.5 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.
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.
You can follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook, or visit our website here at www.thehypetrain.co.uk