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 Orlando City's home fixture against D.C. 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: Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles FC
In the last of our Gameweek 1 match previews, all of which you can view on our MLS Fantasy page, we review Seattle Sounders's home match against Los Angeles FC, who will be competing in their first competitive match in history.
LAFC, coached by Bob Bradley, have a small squad right now, but have some excellent attacking talent in Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi. Vela is playing in the CAM role behind Uruguay international, Marco Urena, who himself has impressed in pre-season. For a matter of fact, LAFC have gone unbeaten in their friendlies, so there is a competitive edge to the side, but they'll have to be at their best in order to overcome a dominant Sounders side who have reached consecutive MLS Cup finals.
The obvious critique is to bank on a home win, and that is the way we are leaning, with Seattle a proven staple of MLS. Boasting Carlos Vela though, a proven top-class attacking player, a seed of doubt has been cast over picking up some of the extremely affordable Seattle Sounders defenders heading into the season. Roman Torres and Kelvin Leerdam have had a non-existent off-season, so budget options are coming into play.
Waylon Francis, Tony Alfaro, and Jordan McCrary are all priced at $4.5m and this represents great value given that most Defender's we've come across in our previews eclipse the $5.0m after just a few appearances.
For LAFC, the first pick in the MLS SuperDraft, left-back Joao Moutinho, who is priced at $4.5 million, is also set to get a start, and $4.5m Goalkeeper, Tyler Miller, looks set to be LA's number one shot-stopper this season.
The must-have option this week across the board is Nicolas Lodeiro, Seattle's Fantasy talisman. The $11.0 million price-tag should not put you off.
This match is another tough one to call, and perhaps it is better to deal with the devil you know, especially at home, than gamble with the devil you've never met.
Manager: Brian Schmetzer
Likely Formation: 4-2-3-1
GK - Stefan Frei - $6.0 million
LB - Waylon Francis - $4.5 million
CB - Chad Marshall - $5.5 million
CB - Tony Alfaro - $4.5 million
RB - Jordan McCrary - $4.5 million
CM/CDM - Gustav Svensson - $7.0 million
CM/CDM - Cristian Roldán - $9.0 million
LM/LW - Harry Shipp - $6.0 million
RM - Nicolás Lodeiro - $11.0 million
CAM - Clint Dempsey - $9.5 million
CF - Will Bruin - $7.0 million
GK - Bryan Meredith - $4.5 million
GK - Calle Brown - $4.0 million
LB - Nouhou Tolo - $5.0 million
RB - Kelvin Leerdam - $6.0 million
CB - Roman Torres - $5.5 million
CB - Kim Kee-hee - $5.0 million
In the case of Leerdam and Torres, we didn't want to seem naive and unaware of the capabilities of both as they are starters for the Sounders, but they've barely featured in pre-season and it looks like McCrary and Alfaro, both budget options who have been entrusted throughout pre-season, might get the nod against LAFC. Even Seattle's Champions League campaign suggests a few changes at the backline for Gameweek 1.
CM/CDM - Osvaldo Alonso - $8.5 million (injured)
LM - Victor Rodriguez - $8.5 million (potentially injured, right quad strain)
CM - Magnus Wolff Eikrem - $8.0 million
CM - Alex Roldan - $4.5 million
CM - Henry Wingo - $4.5 million
LM/LW - Harry Shipp - $6.0 million
LM/LW - Lamar Neagle - $5.5 million
CAM - Zack Mathers - $4.5 million
CAM/CF - Handwalla Bwana - $4.0 million
Along with defensive rotation, Sounders look like they might gearing up for a 4-3-3 against LAFC, which means Magnus Wolff Eikrem will take Victor Rodriguez's place in the squad to create a tight diamond in midfield, with Lodeiro beind Dempsey and Bruin.
In their Champions League encounter at home to Santa Tecla, Schmid opted for Harry Shipp on the left of Midfield and a 4-4-2 formation, with left-back Francis on the bench. There was no Torres and Leerdam, which means we think they'll be locks for the LAFC game.
CF - Jordan Morris - $8.0 million (injured for the entire season)
CF - Seyi Adekoya - $4.5 million
Los Angeles FC
Manager: Bob Bradley
Likely Formation: 4-3-3
GK - Tyler Miller - $4.5 million
LB - Joao Moutinho - 4.5 million
CB - Walker Zimmerman - $5.5 million
CB - Laurent Ciman - $5.5 million
RB - Steven Beitashour - $5.0 million
CM - Benny Feilhaber - $9.0 million
CM - Mark-Anthony Kaye - $5.5 million
LW - Latif Blessing - $6.5 million (listed as a Forward)
RW - Diego Rossi - $9.0 million (listed as a Forward)
CAM - Carlos Vela - $10.0 million
CF - Marco Urnea - $7.5 million
GK - Luis Lopez - $5.0 million
LB - Jordan Harvey - $4.5 million
RB/CDM - Omar Gaber - $5.0 million
CB - Dejan Jakovic - $4.5 million
CB - Tristan Blackmon - $4.0 million
CM - Eduard Atuesta - $7.0 million
CM/CDM - Callum Malace - $5.5 million
LM - Aaron Kovar - $5.5 million
Eduard Atuesta was signed on Tuesday, so it might be a little too soon to be thrown into the main eleven. If Atuesta does manage to get international clearance, Mark-Anthony Kaye's position will be there for the taking.
CF - Rodrigo Pacheco - $4.0 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.
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