The FIFA World Cup is set to kick off in Germany in just more than three weeks. The MLS season is inching closer to its midpoint. It is safe to say that we are now in the midst of one of the most exciting times in soccer in this country.
With U.S. head honcho Bruce Arena already preparing the Red, White and Blue in North Carolina and MLS bosses like Mo Johnston (Red Bulls), John Ellinger (RSL) and Bob Bradley (Chivas USA) feeling the pressure to perform, players around our fine league are on the move.
Some are off for a dream experience with The Bruce (Ben Olsen, Jimmy Conrad, etc.), while others are being shopped around in hopes of picking up their respective paces (John Wolyniec, Joseph Ngwenya, etc.). Others, still, now have a chance to step into the lineup while the big boys are in Germany. With the real managers making many moves, it's time for you, the MLS Fantasy Challenge manager, to do the same.
Here's my take on which players on the move are hot and which ones are, well, not.
On the upswing:
Kyle Martino, Los Angeles Galaxy - It feels a little strange to type Los Angeles Galaxy after Kyle Martino, but this move should be a good one for the former Rookie of the Year. This Fantasy Challenge expert, who moonlights as a plain old MLS expert in his time off, has been saying for two years that The Bearded One needs a move. His fresh start should light a fire under him, and with Landon out of his way for the foreseeable future, Martino will relish the opportunity to be the playmaker.
Ned Grabavoy, Columbus Crew - Yep, these guys switched teams, and each should see benefits. As another Fantasy expert said to me, Grabavoy is a better player than Steve Sampson ever gave him credit for. The Little One's game-winner for Sigi is probably just a preview of things to come.
Taylor Twellman, New England Revolution - In true Twellman fashion, this striker has taken his shots and bounced back with vigor. One could have expected the St. Louis native to sulk through the summer, but his effort to find the net last weekend shows that he's still worth holding on to.
RSL players - That's right, they won a game. Granted, the Galaxy put forth one of the worst displays of soccer seen since "Ladybugs" came out, but still, it's got to be a boost for Real's confidence. At least they don't have the distinction of being the only winless team in the league.
Troy Perkins, D.C. United - If not for a silly challenge by Freddy Adu and a nice dive by Ryan Pore, Perkins would have had his third shutout in seven games Saturday. While Revs 'keeper Matt Reis has a better goals against average (under a goal a game), Perkins is still a better value. There have been some cries in D.C. for Perkins to remain the starter even after Nick Rimando regains full fitness. He might just do that.
Heading the wrong direction:
Amado Guevara, Red Bulls - D.C.'s Christian Gomez sitting in the stands at Giants Stadium (while suspended due to caution accumulation) and banging a drum with United fans and cheering on his team: a good thing. Amado Guevara sitting in the stands with his wife and signing autographs for fans (after being subbed out of the game, albeit in a questionable coaching decision): not a good thing. Mo and Amado mix like oil and water; something's gotta give.
Clarence Goodson, FC Dallas - The biggest coaching gaff of the season might go to Hoops boss Colin Clarke. With his nose for the goal, Clarence Goodson obviously should be moved to striker. Think of it as a reverse Chris Albright.
Dwayne De Rosario, Houston Dynamo (maybe) - If his injury is serious, which we should all discover soon, it's time for you to make a change. Dynamo (and Toronto FC) fans, hold your breath. The situation is similar for L.A.'s Herculez Gomez and Colorado's Joe Cannon.
Galaxy defenders - What do Tyrone Marshall, Ugo Ihemelu, Kyle Veris and Todd Dunivant have in common? They all got smoked by RSL. While you can't just look at one result to form a solid opinion, the Galaxy's recent performances don't offer a lot of promise for the L.A. back line (or Steve Sampson, for that matter).
Bayern Munich - They knew it was going to happen eventually. Midfield maestro (and U.S. killer) Michael Ballack has got the Blues. His move to Chelsea leaves a huge gap in the German side's midfield. It does, however, make this summer's Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game just a tad bit more exciting.
MLS Fantasy Challenge Expert is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.