Fantasy Forecast: Pick carefully on a light week for MLS

Just two league games scheduled in MLS. While the rest of your fantasy league heads to the lake for a little R&R, look to the Western Conference heavyweights to start making up some ground in the final weeks of the regular season.

In particular, the Forecast likes RSL over Philadelphia and LA over Sporting Kansas City.

Let’s get to the picks.

Start 'em

Nick Rimando, G, Real Salt Lake: A 10-man RSL pulled together to record a shutout last week. It was a big confidence-booster, and of the four goalkeepers going this weekend, the RSL backstop looks to be in the best form.

Sean Franklin, D, LA Galaxy: The Galaxy keep rolling along, with four consecutive two-goal victories. Franklin remains a great choice as a marking back who can get forward when his team keeps possession. He can get on the scoresheet – two goals this season – while the Galaxy defense is the league’s second-best. Start Franklin with confidence.

Graham Zusi, M, Sporting Kansas City: With Teal Bunbury and Kei Kamara on international duty, the SKC goal-scoring burden falls to Zusi. He’s shown himself capable of doing damage offensively with five goals and four assists in 18 starts. With Davy Arnaud and Jéferson possibly returning for SKC, they could make things difficult against LA after a poor showing in the teams’ first two meetings.

Landon Donovan, M, LA Galaxy: Donovan will play with the US national team on Friday evening, but should be ready to play a role during Monday’s game at Sporting. Watch his minutes against Costa Rica before making a decision to plug him in Monday.

Kyle Beckerman, M, Real Salt Lake: With Will Johnson (Canada), Álvaro Saborío (Costa Rica), Jean Alexandre (Haiti) and Arturo Alvarez (El Salvador) all on international duty, the other RSL players must to pick up the scoring slack. Beckerman, who will play 90 minutes barring injury, should get some chances to get forward against a Philly midfield lacking confidence.

Veljko Paunović, M, Philadelphia Union: The 34-year-old has been one of Philly’s most dangerous scoring options since joining the team this summer: two goals in his last four games. If the Union are to break their five-match winless streak, they’ll need a little magic from Paunović.

Sit 'em

Matt Besler, D, Sporting Kansas City: Besler faces a tough task against the Galaxy’s attack, especially with SKC’s defensive confidence reeling. Sporting have given up late leads against Seattle and Dallas in recent weeks – and now they face MLS’ top team.

Nat Borchers, D, Real Salt Lake: Borchers picked up a red card for Real Salt Lake early in their match against Chivas USA, ruling him out for this weekend’s tilt.

Teal Bunbury, F, Sporting Kansas City: Like Borchers, Bunbury saw red this past weekend. He’ll have to serve that suspension when he gets back from national team duty, so now would be a good time to drop him if he’s on your roster.

Kei Kamara, F, Sporting Kansas City: As mentioned previously, Kamara will miss this weekend’s match against LA on international duty.

Accountability

Those of you who sat Borchers last week did the right thing – the center back picked up his second red card of the season and must now sit out against RSL. The Forecast’s predictions for Portland and Chivas USA fizzled, with Portland getting rained out of their second match by Hurricane Irene and Chivas USA failing to score against RSL or Portland.

Andrew Winner writes about Fantasy Soccer for MLSsoccer.com.