After each round of matches for MLS Fantasy players, we'll be providing our Player of the Week, the player who we think is deserving of top spot, even if they didn't finish on the most points for a week. We'll take a look at the impact the player is having on his team, as well as the MLS Fantasy returns that they are providing. Strap in, it's time to get nostalgic. All aboard.
MLS Fantasy: Gameweek 10
For us in the UK, the first game of the week starts bright and early on Saturday morning, with MLS Cup holders Toronto hosting Philadelphia Union in an Eastern Conference encounter (which is another Friday night MLS fixture). You can check out the fixture list in full below.
You can also read all of our MLS Fantasy articles on our specialist page, by clicking here.
Gameweek 9: Los Angeles FC 1-0 Seattle Sounders
The major talking point from this past weekend of MLS action was the opening of the beautiful Banc of California Stadium, home of LAFC, a 22,000 football venue in the south of Los Angeles.
With so much hype and anticipation leading up to LAFC's 7th match of the season, the first ever at home, the visit of Seattle Sounders threatened to end on a flat tone, with much of the encounter boiled down to a gritty affair, with a valiant Sounders side digging their heels into the freshly laid turf in an attempt to spoil the party.
As the game ticked on, the faint hope of a goal in an edgy affair with very few chances seemed to fade as the floodlights in the newly minted stadium shone brightly into the nights sky.
Then in added time Carlos Vela was brought down 25 yards out from goal, with club captain Laurent Ciman stepping up to salvage the possibility of a drab 0-0 to christen LAFC's new home.
Ciman's powerful drive from the set-piece evaded the wall, as well as the concentration of Stefan Frei, one of the safest pairs of hands in MLS. Bouncing off Frei's hands and squirming into the net, Laurent Ciman lifted the roof off the Banc of California Stadium to give LAFC victory in extra time, with Ciman's lone goal to thank.
Aside from a moment that will never be forgotten by the home fans decked in black and gold, the Seattle Sounders had nullified LA's threat in front of goal, with left-back Nouhou Tolo defying Diego Rossi at every turn in a solid defensive display, and Alphonso Alonso playing rough with Carlos Vela until the Sounders defensive midfielder was replaced later in to the second half.
LAFC's victory was perhaps not pretty, but it lifted Bob Bradley's side to second place in the Western Conference with 15 points on the board, 11 more than Seattle, who remain at the foot of the table in the West.
MLS Fantasy Gameweek 9 - Player of the Week: Laurent Ciman (LAFC)
As the curtain was quickly drawing on MLS Fantasy's 9th round of fixtures we were left with a big, big question as to who would step up and become our Player of the Week. Miguel Almiron stood tall as the front-runner to become the first player this season to grace our praises twice, but then with virtually the last kick of the game between LAFC and Seattle Sounders, we thought twice about the importance and impact that Laurent Ciman had this past week for Fantasy players.
The central defender, who was deployed on the left of a 3-man defence against Seattle Sounders, is currently owned by 10.45% of Fantasy players and was the top-scoring Defender for Gameweek 9, managing 14 points in total.
Laurent Ciman's Gameweek 9 Points:
90 mins played: 2 points
1 Goal: 6 points
Clean sheet: 5 points
9 recoveries: 1 point
Whilst Almiron flexed his muscle as the clear and obvious captaincy contender, and handsomely rewarded his 35.56% of owners with 15 points of his own, Ciman proved to be a massive difference maker in defence during a week of infrequent and unpredictable defensive returns.
The Belgian defender's 14 points against Seattle is the most he has managed in a single game this season, and it is the 4th time from 7 appearances in which Ciman has registered double-digit returns. Ciman produced 11 points on opening day against Seattle Sounders in another 1-0 win, and also managed 10 points against Vancouver Whitecaps (GW7), and a further 10 against Montreal Impact (GW8), before taking to the turf at home for the first time this season.
Ciman's flexing his Fantasy muscle right now with 56 points, which is the same number managed by Houston's electric winger, Alberth Elis, and more than lethal attacking assets Bradley Wright-Phillips (55), and Josef Martinez (54).
Only Sporting KC's Graham Zusi has more points as a defender (70), and with Zusi at home to Colorado Rapids, and Ciman's LAFC side hosting FC Dallas, it looks like this might be a pairing that will dominate MLS Fantasy lineups in the weeks to come.
The 2018 MLS Fantasy Season
MLS has returned, 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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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.
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