Fantasy Forecast: Who to start and sit in Week 31

The move to BC Place may do wonders for the Whitecaps. Fresh off a 3-0 defeat of Real Salt Lake, the Forecast believes there’s more thunder to be heard from up north with Vancouver one of four teams to play twice this week. The Whitecaps open at home against D.C. United before travelling to FC Dallas.

Chicago, Dallas, and D.C. also have two-match weeks.

Let’s get to the picks!

Start ‘em

Sean Johnson, GK, Chicago Fire: A bright spot in Chicago’s future, Johnson’s maturation process continues. He’s looked strong as the long season wears on and has two tries to post a bagel this week. FC Dallas and D.C. United aren’t the softest of opposition, but Johnson’s been playing well of late with 19 saves in his past five MLS contests. 

Alain Rochat, D, Vancouver Whitecaps: The Forecast feels good about recommending a Whitecaps defender for the first time. Vancouver’s fully-healthy back line is starting to jell with Rochat and DeMerit leading the charges. The two-match week could see the Whitecaps record at least one shutout while most don’t need to be reminded of Rochat’s offensive prowess after his June 18 strike.

Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, D, Seattle Sounders FC: With teammate Jeff Parke picking up a concussion last week against Philadelphia, the Sounders will rely on the Colombian stopper. After a letdown against the Union, Seattle get a full week of practice to prepare for the San Jose Earthquakes. The Forecast expects Hurtado and the Sounders to bounce back as they begin to build toward the playoffs.

Marco Pappa, MF, Chicago Fire: While he ultimately ended up on the losing side, Pappa was a terror in the first half of the US Open Cup (five shots). If Sebastián Grazzini and Pavel Pardo can do their part to keep defenses from focusing in on Pappa, he could be primed for big fantasy points in a two-match week.

Michael Farfan, MF, Philadelphia Union: The active midfielder has become a big part of the youth movement in Philadelphia. Fresh off a goal against Seattle, Farfan is a sleeper’s pick to continue scoring this weekend against Toronto.

Luke Rodgers, F, New York Red Bulls:  It’s pretty apparent that Rodgers is the straw that stirs the drink in New York, as they say. His presence completely changes the Red Bulls attack. With nine goals in 18 starts and three goals in five since his comeback, his strike rate stands as one of the best in the league and is a solid start in a league full of good attackers, as is teammate Thierry Henry.

Camilo Sanvezzo, F, Vancouver Whitecaps: With the 3-0 shellacking of Real Salt Lake still reverberating around the league, Camilo and the Whitecaps have sent notice to the rest of the league. After the sacking of Teitur Thordarson and the less-than-stellar reign of interim coach Tom Soehn, the Whitecaps are once again proving that the talent far outweighs the result. In the short term, look for more attacking soccer from Vancouver and their offensive spearhead, Camilo.

Sit ‘em

Bill Hamid, GK, D.C. United: United travels cross country to play Vancouver in midweek before turning around to play the Fire at home. The travel could take its toll on D.C.’s back line, which has been known to concede a few goals anyway.

Omar Gonzalez, D, LA Galaxy: With the Supporters Shield already in hand, Bruce Arena may see fit to rest a few of the usual starters this week. With an important Champions League match to come Tuesday (the Galaxy are tied for second place with Morelia in Group B with one match remaining), Gonzalez and a few of the other back-liners may get a day off.

Brek Shea, MF, FC Dallas: Remember this guy? FC Dallas have been reeling with four consecutive shutout losses and have fallen out of the top three of the West (although, it could be argued that moving to the East for the playoffs could be an advantage.) In addition, Shea’s with the national team and may miss FCD's Wednesday match.

Freddy Adu, MF, Philadelphia Union: A goal and an assist in his past two MLS games, but there are worrying statistics hidden beneath. He only started one of those matches, and has only managed two shots, and one shot on goal. Stay away from Adu until he shows he can be a more reliable scorer, which may happen in 2012.

Accountability:

The past week, Fantasy got off to a smashing start, with Forecast picks Luke Rodgers and Thierry Henry scoring the first two goals of Tuesday night’s LA-NY clash. Success was somewhat mixed after that. Forecast picks Nat Borchers and Kasey Keller each found himself on the wrong end of a shutout. Ryan Cochrane, who the Forecast advised to sit, was culpable on Chris Wondolowski’s goal that started with a clearance from San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham.

Andrew Winner writes about Fantasy Soccer for MLSsoccer.com