MLS Cup 2013

Which players can you trust to deliver in the biggest game of the year? | Fantasy Chatter

There isn't clear-cut favorite to win Saturday's MLS Cup final (4 pm ET on ESPN, UniMas, TSN2/RDS in Canada), although some will try to make the case for one team or the other.

Real Salt Lake and Sporting KC have each proven that they can accomplish great things as a whole, which is why they're the last two standing. But how do the top players stack up when you compare them to each other individually?

Several people are predicting a low-scoring affair, which makes every bonus point you earn that much more important. With limited selections available, whom you choose to start -- or sit -- could ultimately make or break your season.

Picking a starting XI for the final game of the year might be easy to some, but in order to maximize your total score your selections are going to have to be spot on. With that said the notes and tables below should help make your decisions slightly less difficult.

Here's how the top players (from each team) stack up to one another in every major category. Let's start the comparisons!

Total Score

Probably the most important gauge of them all. These two players should be on your team no questions asked.

Team Player Position Selected Price Last Round Total Score
Sporting Kansas City Aurélien Collin DEF 39.6% $6.8 8 210
Real Salt Lake Javier Morales MID 20.4% $9.1 6 202

NOTE: Graham Zusi was second on the list for SKC with 193 points and Nick Rimando was second on the list for RSL with 169 points.

Goals

Important stat to note, but possibly irrelevant if both players below fail to make it onto the pitch.

First person who predicts the right goalscorer(s) in this one gets a pat on the back.

Team Player Position Selected Price Last Round Goals Scored
Real Salt Lake Alvaro Saborio FWD 4.7% $9.6 N/A 12
Sporting Kansas City Claudio Bieler FWD 11.5% $8.0 0 11

NOTE: Morales is second on the list for RSL with nine goals and Kei Kamara (who now plies his trade for Middlesbrough in the English Championship -- don't pick him) is second on the list for SKC with seven goals. Zusi is third for SKC with six goals.

Assists

It's all about putting your team in a position to win and these three have proved it on multiple occasions in 2013. Joao Plata might not see any playing time, but if he does ... watch out! The other two are no-brainers.

Team Player Position Selected Price Last Round Assists
Real Salt Lake Javier Morales MID 20.4% $9.1 0 9
Real Salt Lake Joao Plata FWD 7.4% $6.2 N/A 9
Sporting Kansas City Graham Zusi MID 41.7% $9.5 0 7

NOTE: Ned Grabavoy was third on the list for RSL with five assists and Benny Feilhaber was second on the list for SKC with five assists.

Clean Sheets

This is, without a doubt, one of the most influential stats this round. There are three possible scenarios here: one team gets it, neither team gets it or both teams get it.

Are you going all-in on one particular team or are you going to mix and match? Choose wisely.

Team Player Position Selected Price Last Round Clean Sheets
Sporting Kansas City Jimmy Nielsen GKP 18.4% $5.7 NO 14
Sporting Kansas City Seth Sinovic DEF 10.8% $5.8 NO 14
Sporting Kansas City Oriol Rosell MID 8.7% $6.2 NO 14
Real Salt Lake Javier Morales MID 20.4% $9.1 YES 11
Real Salt Lake Nat Borchers DEF 12.5% $5.0 YES 11
Real Salt Lake Nick Rimando GKP 17.9% $6.2 YES 11

NOTE: Collin has the second-most clean sheets on SKC with 12. Three RSL players have 10: Tony Beltran, Luis Gil and Kyle Beckerman.

Key Passes

Despite their ownership numbers being so far apart, Morales is the fourth most-owned player in MLS Fantasy. He's definitely got the advantage in this department -- but not by much.

Team Player Position Selected Price Last Round Key Passes
Real Salt Lake Javier Morales MID 20.4% $9.1 4 117
Sporting Kansas City Graham Zusi MID 41.7% $9.5 0 94

NOTE: Grabavoy was next on the list for RSL with 51 and Feilhaber has the second-most key passes on SKC with 45.

Crosses

At this point you pretty much know who leads these two teams in crosses, but check out the note below to see where their teammates rank.

Team Player Position Selected Price Last Round Successful Crosses
Sporting Kansas City Graham Zusi MID 41.7% $9.5 2 90
Real Salt Lake Javier Morales MID 20.4% $9.1 2 70

NOTE: SKC have five players in double digits. Chance Myers has the second-most successful crosses with 25. Only three players other than Morales have more than eight successful crosses. Beltran finished second on the team with just 21.

CBIs

These two guys would head the ball all game if they could. Wonder who would hit more home runs for my kickball team.

Team Player Position Selected Price Last Round CBIs
Sporting Kansas City Aurélien Collin DEF 39.6% $6.8 24 450
Real Salt Lake Nat Borchers DEF 12.5% $5.0 20 320

NOTE: Matt Besler is second on the team with 315. Chris Schuler is next on the list behind Borchers with 256 total CBIs.

Recoveries

It takes six of these to earn a point but every point is crucial. Nielsen only had three last round while Rimando had 12. That's two extra bonus points for the RSL netminder. If this trend continues, Nielsen is going to need the clean sheet. For Rimando, earning a clean sheet would be more like icing on the cake.

Have a look at the top two field players listed below.

Team Player Position Selected Price Last Round Recoveries
Real Salt Lake Nick Rimando GKP 17.9% $6.2 12 335
Sporting Kansas City Jimmy Nielsen GKP 18.4% $5.7 3 314

NOTE: Rosell has the most of any field player on SKC with 264 while Beckerman has the most of any field player on RSL with 246.

Big Chances Created

At this point I shouldn't even have to comment.

Team Player Position Selected Price Last Round Big Chances Created
Sporting Kansas City Graham Zusi MID 41.7% $9.5 0 12
Real Salt Lake Javier Morales MID 20.4% $9.1 0 12

NOTE: The two top players are tied in this category, but I have to give edge to RSL because three other players have five or more: Beckerman (6), Grabavoy (5) and Plata (5). Myers (5) is the only other player on SKC with more than three.

Big Chances Fluffed

If they're missing big chances they're getting good looks. These three players combined for 69 appearances in 2013 (including playoffs) and 4,715 minutes played (1,571 average). The fact that they lead these categories is shocking, but not shocking at the same time.

It's quite possible at least one of them gets a good look at goal on Saturday.

Team Player Position Selected Price Last Round Big Chances Fluffed
Real Salt Lake Alvaro Saborio FWD 4.7% $9.6 N./A 6
Real Salt Lake Robbie Findley FWD 9.5% $7.1 0 6
Sporting Kansas City Claudio Bieler FWD 11.5% $8.0 0 5

NOTE: Devon Sandoval is third on RSL with four Big Chances Fluffed and Jacob Peterson currently sits in second on SKC with four.


Was picking a starting XI easy for you? How many RSL players are you starting? How many SKC players are you starting? Tell us in the comments.