These days, 5-3-2 is usually seen as a sign of respect when facing an opponent far superior in strength (e.g., anyone vs. Barcelona).
But to win in Fantasy Soccer: Manager, perhaps it's best to think that you are playing Messi & Co. each week. The FS:M Dream Team has lined up with five defenders four out of five weeks thus far. Ironically, this formation is producing more points for teams than the 4-3-3 and 3-4-3. I myself have been lined up mostly in a 3-4-3 thinking that midfielders and forwards would get me the most points. Fail.
Player HAWAIIFAN13 proved the benefits of the 5-3-2. In Week 5, he rode the formation to 106 points, the second highest score recorded by a team this year.
So what does this mean for the rest of the 2012? Do the stats suggest taking a completely different approach and start dumping midfielders (and even forwards) for defenders? You be the judge.
Players averaging 5.0 points or more per game (by position)
Defenders – 27
Goalkeepers – 12
Midfielders – 10
Forwards – 8
The numbers above should make your decision a little easier. At this point in the season, there is more security in starting defenders than there is at any other position. Honestly, it’s not even close. Forwards and midfielders can be a huge investment, and so far, most of them aren’t living up to the asking price.
Need help with your squad? Tweet your MLS Fantasy Soccer questions to @Ben_Jata
As mentioned on an ExtraTime Radio mailbag a week back, Egypt could be one of the new hotbeds of MLS talent since the league is in crisis right now.
And it turns out that Erik Solér may have been listening. Reports out of Egypt are saying that the Red Bulls have signed goalkeeper El-Hany Soliman.
Breaking: El-Hany Soliman's brother Amr has confirmed that Hany has signed with the #NYRB on a 3 year-deal. #Egypt #Ittihad #MLS
— Egyptian Footy (@egyFT) April 10, 2012
But, well, not so fast. RBNY beat writer extraordinaire Brian Lewis of the New York Post says let's hold our horses a bit.
I'm told the Red Bulls haven't signed anyone, including Soliman. They're working on a few attacking options before the window closes. #RBNY
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) April 10, 2012
The 27-year-old Soliman has manned the nets 24 times for the Egyptian national team (currently managed by former New York coach Bob Bradley) and has spent his entire eight-year pro career with Union Alexandria. He'd be brought in presumably to wear the No. 1 shirt ahead of Ryan Meara, who's impressed five games into his rookie season.
Il a fallu attendre le cinquième match pour voir Vancouver encaisser ses premiers buts de la saison. San José s’en est chargé en trompant Joe Cannon trois fois en 10 minutes.
La saison dernière, Vancouver avait un côté faible : le droit, d’où il avait encaissé 35% de ses buts. L’arrivée de Lee Young-Pyo remédie au problème, mais la brèche s’est rouverte en Californie, puisque c’est de là que sont venues les trois réalisations locales.
Sur les deux premières, l’arrière gauche de San José, Ramiro Corrales, a un rôle prépondérant : il offre l’égalisation à Chris Wondolwoski sur une lumineuse rentrée de touche avant de centrer au premier poteau où Gordon, d’une tête croisée, donne l’avantage à ses couleurs.
Enfin, Wondolowski a continué d’alimenter son compteur-buts en reprenant d’une belle volée un coup franc, toujours venu de la gauche, tiré par Tressor Moreno. Et dire que le côté gauche n’est pas le plus fort de San José et que Shea Salinas, milieu gauche transféré cet hiver de Vancouver, n’était impliqué dans aucun des buts…
Autre fait notable de cette rencontre : Sébastien Le Toux a ouvert la marque pour Vancouver en marquant le premier but de la saison ayant pour origine une rentrée de touche.
Well, at least it’s something to take back from Mexico. The US U-17s topped El Tri 1-0 in the fifth-place match on Monday at the Mondial Minimes tournament in Montaigu, France.
New York Red Bulls Academy product Wesley Wade scored in the 59th minute for the decider, the forward’s second strike of the tournament for Richie Williams’ side.
The US U-17s finished 1-1-1 in Group B of the prestigious youth tournament, with a dominant 4-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates, a 1-0 loss to Portugal and a 1-1 draw with Japan (a 4-3 penalty-kick victory in the finale saw them advance to Monday’s fifth-place match).
Williams named seven MLS Academy products to the 18-man squad for his first tournament in charge of the team. Wade was one of three RBNY youngsters, and Chivas USA Academy forward Bradford Jamieson also scored a pair of goals in France.
Portugal won the 12-team tournament with a penalty-kick shootout victory over Russia in the final. England placed third while Japan came in fourth.
Looks like the injury bug in Real Salt Lake has — temproarily anyway — tied the hands of US Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos.
Ramos will be without his most experienced player, midfielder Luis Gil, who's been recalled by Jason Kreis in the wake of injuries to Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy.
Good luck to the U20 @ussoccer_ynt out in Portland. Sorry I couldn't make it with you guys #UntilNextTime
— Luis Gil (@luisitogil21) April 9, 2012
Also missing the trip is Birmingham City-based defender Will Packwood. Javan Torre (LA Galaxy Academy) and Matt Wiesenfarth (California Davis) have been added as replacements.
The camp, which runs from April 9-16 in Portland, Ore., will feature an intrasquad scrimmage on April 12 and a friendly against the University of Washington on April 15.
Full roster and details at USsoccer.com.
They came and went within a year, but there's a crop of South American forwards who have found themselves right at home in their continent of origin after a mixed experience during their stints in MLS during the 2011 season.
The likes of Milton Caraglio (New England's first-ever Designated Player), Cristian Nazarit and Diego Chaves may not have set MLS alight during their year-long stay here (less in the case of Caraglio, who arrived in August but was gone by December), but having returned to South America, these young players have found more success.
Two of the players — Caraglio and Chaves — opted to head to Chile instead of their native countries, and have been richly rewarded for doing so. Caraglio tallied for newly promoted Rangers over the weekend to take his total for the season to four and help them continue a run that sees them in playoff contention. Chaves — perhaps the most successful of the group in MLS with six goals in 2011 — has a pair of goals to his name with Palestino over nine matches.
Cristian Nazarit opted to return to his home country, Colombia, after playing just 624 minutes and scoring two goals for Chicago in 2012. Two months into the Colombian season, the 21-year-old — a teammate of former Philadelphia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón — has four goals to his name for Deportivo Cali, including a late winner over the weekend that gave los Verdiblancos a third straight league win.
Chaves' former Chicago teammate, Gastón Puerari, has found less luck back home, however. He has played a handful of minutes for Defensor Sporting and is yet to net a goal in either the domestic league of Copa Libertadores.
So, what is it that has set these players apart in South America? Is MLS now a more difficult league to play in? Is the style of play in South America more conducive to their respective games? Or maybe it just wasn't cost-effective (always a factor in MLS) to keep them? Take your pick.
If you're still surprised that Clint Dempsey is attracting interest from some of England's biggest clubs, you probably aren't paying attention.
With a year left on his contract after the end of this season – a record-breaking campaign for Duece and Americans abroad in general – the suitors are apparently lining up to give the 29-year-old veteran a chance to play in the Champions League should he decide to leave Fulham, the only club he's known outside of Major League Soccer.
After scoring two more goals against Bolton this weekend, a performance that gave Dempsey 21 strikes on the season in all competitions, reports in England are tossing around names such as Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United as potential summer destinations for the American midfielder.
Fulham manager Martin Jol is realistic about the fate of his star, admitting he could be facing life without Dempsey should the right offer come along. That shouldn't come as a shock considering Dempsey is third in the Premier League this season in goals scored in all competitions behind Robin van Persie (37) and Wayne Rooney (31). Even more impressive, Duece is behind only van Persie (44) and Rooney (32) in EPL goals since the start of the 2010-11 season, scoring 27 times for the Lily Whites, mostly from the midfield.
He has a chance to add to that total Monday when Fulham host Chelsea in a West London derby – a fixture that has treated Dempsey well in the past.
WATCH: Chris Coleman on Dempsey's next club
This video about the Toronto FC traveling supporter contingent for the 401 Derby match against Montreal is worth the watch for the one fan who yells: "If you ain't red, you're better off dead!"
He makes one final appearance toward the tail end of this segment. You'll get a second chuckle.
Ce samedi a été haut en couleurs, avec la confirmation de la forme de Kansas City, Salt Lake et San José, la suite du retour en force de New York et la première victoire de Montréal.
Kansas City a remporté sa cinquième victoire consécutive, grâce à la polyvalence de ses joueurs qui ont semé la confusion dans les esprits d’un LA Galaxy incapable d’aligner cinq passes.
Le leader est aussi le dernier club invaincu, suite à la défaite de Vancouver à San José. L’équipe qui n’avait pas encaissé depuis le début de saison s’est effondrée en 10 minutes sous les coups de boutoir du duo Corrales – Wondolowski. Un mauvais samedi pour les clubs du Nord-Ouest : Portland n’est plus souverain à domicile et Seattle n’a plus marqué depuis 243 minutes.
Après sa victoire sans lustre contre Montréal, Salt Lake a battu Colorado avec la manière et se détache en haut de tableau en compagnie de Kansas City et San José. New York, où Thierry Henry multiplie à la fois les buts et les passes décisives et où Kenny Cooper a rapidement pris la place de Luke Rodgers, continue pour sa part sa belle remontée.
En bas de classement, Montréal s’est donné un peu d’air en remportant sa première victoire en MLS, grâce à des reconversions offensives bien menées, face à un Toronto FC toujours calé à 0 point et où Aron Winter a promis du changement.
Dallas - New England
Montréal - Toronto
Columbus - New York
Kansas City - LA Galaxy
San José - Vancouver
DC United - Seattle
Salt Lake - Colorado
Portland - Chivas USA
Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo
Behold: The jerseys for Euro 2012 have been released. And there are many sashes.
The US men's national team made waves before the 2010 World Cup by reintroducing a sash to their jerseys in homage to the 1950 team that famously beat England. And while it's not exactly unique – teams like Trinidad and Tobago and Peru have been rocking the sash for years – it's not exactly standard fare.
So from whence come the sashes? This is undoubtedly jingoistic, biased, and self-aggrandizing, but I tend to think that the US brought the design back into vogue.
Which would also mark the first time that Europeans have ever taken fashion advice from Americans. Give yourselves a pat on the back, readers.
I, for one, feel pretty good about it. I like the sash on the US jerseys. I think they'll look good at Euro 2012. Undoubtedly, you feel differently. And... discuss!