MLS Fantasy: How to plan for international absences and critical bye weeks ahead

Fantasy: Ben Olsen

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USA TODAY Sports

In the coming weeks, you'll likely be losing several key players due to International friendlies and CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers. As if that weren't enough to deal with, there's also a huge stretch of bye weeks that will dictate who you should and shouldn't transfer in. This will last all the way up until Round 23, in which case bye weeks will only affect one team a week until Round 34.

And just when you thought it couldn't get any harder, there's also the third-round matchups for the 2013 US Open Cup to consider. Nine of the 16 MLS teams playing in this competition will be traveling to face their opponents. Games will take place on May 28 and 29. The Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps will not be affected by this (though Montreal and Vancouver have their second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship finals on May 29).

Before we get to the table below, here are some key points to keep in mind when preparing your team over the next several weeks;

  • Portland Timbers – Three byes in the next seven rounds
  • New York Red Bulls – Three byes in the next eight rounds
  • Houston Dynamo – Three byes in the next ten rounds

Teams with two byes in the next 11 rounds:

  • Sporting KC – Two byes in the next four rounds
  • Vancouver Whitecaps – Two byes in the next five rounds
  • Montreal Impact – Two byes in the next five rounds
  • Seattle Sounders – Two byes in the next six rounds
  • New England Revolution – Two byes in the next seven rounds
  • Real Salt Lake – Two byes in the next eight rounds
  • Toronto FC – Two byes in the next eight rounds
  • Colorado Rapids – Two byes in the next nine rounds
  • San Jose Earthquakes – Two byes in the next ten rounds
  • FC Dallas – Two byes in the next 11 rounds

Teams with one bye in the next 11 rounds:

  • Chivas USA - (Round 15)
  • Philadelphia Union - (Round 16)
  • Chicago Fire - (Round 18)
  • D.C. United - (Round 21)
  • Columbus Crew - (Round 21)

Teams without a bye in the next 11 rounds:

  • LA Galaxy

I've gone through every week up until Round 34 and prepared a table for you to refer to when making transfers over the next few weeks. Rounds 15, 16 and 17 will put you through the ultimate test of being a manager. MLS coaches have to know their schedule weeks in advance so that they can rest who they need to rest. Over the next several weeks, you'll be faced with a similar dilemma. You already know which teams will be affected due to bye weeks over the next 11 rounds. The rest is a walk in the park, right?

The table below will act as a guide to help you select players from teams with the most favorable schedules. There's a lot going on in the table, so let me break it down for you:

  • Round 15 - Nine teams on a bye, zero teams play multiple games
  • Round 16 - Five teams on a bye, four teams play multiple games
  • Round 17 - Three teams on a bye, zero teams play multiple games

Through this stretch of games (Round 15-17) there are five teams that will play without a taking a week off: Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, LA Galaxy and the Portland Timbers

Here's what happens in the rounds that follow (not shown);

  • Round 18 - Three teams have a bye (Chicago Fire, Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders)
  • Round 19 - Three teams have a bye (Houston Dynamo, New England Revolution, Portland Timbers)
  • Round 20 - Three teams have a bye (New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake, Toronto FC)
  • Round 21 - Three teams have a bye (Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, D.C. United)
  • Round 22 - Two teams have a bye (Houston Dynamo, San Jose Earthquakes)
  • Round (23 - 34) Only one team has a bye each round during this stretch

 

ROUND 15 (June 5-8) ROUND 16 (June 15-19) ROUND 17 (June 22-23)
Portland Timbers (Home) Colorado Rapids (Home) Columbus Crew (Away)
BYE Vancouver Whitecapes (Away) LA Galaxy (Home)
BYE San Jose Earthquakes (Home)
Chicago Fire (Away)
Portland Timbers (Away)
Philadelphia Union (Away) Montreal Impact (Home) Chicago Fire (Home)
New England Revolution (Away) Toronto FC (Home) San Jose Earthquakes (Home)
BYE Portland Timbers (Away) Sporting KC (Home)
BYE Montreal Impact (Away) Toronto FC (Home)
Real Salt Lake (Away) Portland Timbers (Home) Chivas USA (Away)
BYE Columbus Crew (Away)
Houston Dynamo (Home)
BYE
D.C. United (Home) Vancouver Whitecaps (Away) BYE
BYE BYE Philadelphia Union (Away)
Columbus Crew (Home) BYE New York Red Bulls (Home)
Chicago Fire (Away) FC Dallas (Home)
LA Galaxy (Away)
Colorado Rapids (Home)
LA Galaxy (Home) BYE Seattle Sounders (Home)
BYE Colorado Rapids (Away) D.C. United (Away)
Vancouver Whitecaps (Home) BYE Real Salt Lake (Away)
BYE BYE FC Dallas (Away)
BYE D.C. United (Away) Houston Dynamo (Away)
Seattle Sounders (Away) New England Revolution (Home)
Chivas USA (Home)
BYE

The next two months will really test your skills. Are you the best Manager in FS:M? Prove it.