Fantasy: Coping with the call-ups
as long as they're not playing Columbus, that is. The Fire's Jim Curtin, the Rapids' Mike Petke and the Fire's Samuel Caballero are also viable options.
Amado Guevara, who is probably the best attacking midfielder in the league, will not be called away from the MetroStars, as his Honduras side didn't make it to the final round of Cup qualifying. Many of the other stars in the middle will be racking up the frequent-flier miles, including New England's Clint Dempsey, MetroStar Eddie Gaven (the Guevara of the U.S. U-20s), Kansas City's Kerry Zavagnin, New England's Steve Ralston and the Galaxy's Guillermo "Pando" Ramirez.
But though some of the most recognizable names will be missing, there is still an abundance of quality available to pick up the slack. Dema Kovalenko is healthy and working his way back into the D.C. United starting 11. His teammate Ben Olsen is on the fringes with the national team but a standout in the league. Thiago makes things happen for Chicago and Mario 'El Loco' Rodriguez has been tearing up the sidelines for the Crew, though his services are worthless without a strong scoring threat.
FC Dallas' Carlos Ruiz is the focal point of the Guatemalan offense and Los Angeles' Landon Donovan is a key ingredient for the U.S., as is FC Dallas' Eddie Johnson. All are sure to miss significant time through the summer. Kansas City's Josh Wolff and San Jose's Brian Ching, assuming he is healthy, will probably also miss some MLS action and D.C.'s Freddy Adu is with Gaven and Ward in Holland.
Once again, though, there is still plenty to choose from to help you pick up points. Chicago's Chris Rolfe is a bargain. He buzzed around against the MetroStars on Tuesday and created a goal by earning a penalty kick. He was unlucky not to score one himself. The MetroStars' Mike Magee also had a good game and is due a few goals and assists. A little more on the expensive side are the likes of San Jose's Ronald Cerritos, MetroStar John Wolyniec and United's Jaime Moreno. All are proven goal scorers in MLS and are more than capable of keeping you in the hunt while their mates are off looking to fulfill their World Cup dreams.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. He will cover the fantasy leagues, along with Jason Halpin, every other week throughout the season. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.