Your questions answered: USMNTers availability, betting against Federico Higuain | MLS Fantasy Advice
Thursdays are all about the fans on Starting Lineup. So why not join the fun? Here's my take on some of the questions we received this week...
1. (@ClassicKennedy): Is this the week to get on the Marco Di Vaio train? Home game against a struggling #RBNY defense.
After losing the first three games to start the season, Di Vaio brought a glimmer of hope to Impact fans with his late equalizer against the Philadelphia Union. If this is a sign of things to come then the former Serie A striker is definitely worth a look this weekend.
His opponent on Saturday -- the New York Red Bulls -- are facing some problems of their own, both offensively and defensively. They've scored one goal in each of their first four games, but they've also conceded at least one goal in each of those games. And this week they're going to be without some major assets.
Thierry Henry and Jámison Olave are not expected to play due to "turfphobia" while both Tim Cahill and Richard Eckersley will be sidelined due to injuries. In all honesty, this might be the best time to invest in Montreal players on both sides of the ball.
Despite their own struggles to start the 2014 season, Montreal fans should feel really good about their matchup this weekend. I do.
This might not be as open and shut as most people think. I'm predicting Higuain to be the most-captained player this week, but if you go against this and he goes off, which is what most people are expecting him to do, you will probably be kicking yourself for the next seven days.
If you pick him and he doesn't go off, those who went against the norm could pass you in the rankings. RSL are in really good form, but Sporting KC are always in the mix for a shutout when playing in front of The Cauldron. SKC are conceding a league-low 8.8 shots per game (6.0 at home) and Collin is always a threat to score a goal via set piece. But I'm not so sure it's worth the risk.
3.): Would love to hear some advice about how much USMNT guys might play this weekend.
Sixteen MLS players were involved in Wednesday night's international friendly between USA and Mexico to at least some degree. Five of them went the full 90 minutes: Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Omar Gonzalez, Michael Parkhurst and Nick Rimando.
None of the players who were subbed on in the second half or who didn't feature at all are at risk of missing any time this weekend with their club team. Wondolowski and Goodson are both on a bye this week so they shouldn't be in your lineup to begin with.
Donovan and Gonzalez play on Sunday, so with an extra day of rest than the others, it's highly unlikely either won't be ready to go (at home) against Chivas USA.
Bradley, Dempsey, Parkhurst and Rimando are the only players I'd be mildly concerned with. Dempsey hasn't played in two weeks due to his suspension so he should be a lock to play barring injury. Head coach Sigi Schmid confirmed that he would play a role in Saturday's match against Portland, but did not speculate as to what that role would be.
My sources in Columbus say head coach Gregg Berhalter expects Parkhurst to be ready as well. That leaves Bradley and Rimando.
The Real Salt Lake netminder should be fine. He didn't have to travel far, and with the team facing a highly anticipated rematch against Sporting KC this weekend, they will need him to be his usual self in goal.
Bradley has been a workhorse and he would definitely benefit from rest, but Toronto needs him. If Ryan Nelsen doesn't play him against Columbus it'll be as if he's throwing in the towel. With Jermain Defoe and Jonathan Osorio both out due to lower body injuries, and captain Steven Caldwell out due to suspension, being without Bradley this weekend would be a massive loss.