What’s this? We have an interloper in the Golden Boot race!
Vancouver Designated Player Eric Hassli sits one behind Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry with 10 goals. The big Frenchman usually squeezes off four to five shots per match and has amassed his 10 goals in only 16 games. When it’s working, Hassli and the Whitecaps offense can be a sight to behold.
With the big midweek US-Mexico friendly, most MLS teams get only the one game this week. LA and Sporting Kansas City have the week off.
Let’s get to the picks.
Tally Hall, GK, Houston Dynamo: Portland’s offense has been resurgent of late, with four goals scored in the past two matches. However, a strength-sapping road game in the heat of Robertson Stadium awaits, making Hall a good bet for a shutout.
Nat Borchers, D, Real Salt Lake: Borchers is finally getting the respect he deserves. He was masterful in RSL’s shutout win against the New York Red Bulls, getting forward to notch a goal in the 3-0 win. Even away vs. Toronto, Borchers remains a solid bet for a shutout or the odd goal.
Julius James, D, Columbus: James has played every second for a Crew team that’s earned two shutouts in its past three games. Playing at home against New England, the big Trinidadian can match up physically with the Revs primary goal-scoring threat, Shalrie Joseph. A shutout is very possible.
Marvin Chávez, MF/F, FC Dallas: It’s finally starting to happen for Chávez. After moving up top from his more comfortable midfield position earlier in the season, the Honduran has scored FCD’s last four goals. Brek Shea still makes a good choice, but Chávez’s hot streak makes him hard to ignore, especially against a Philadelphia team that’s given up its share of multi-goal games.
Dwayne De Rosario, MF, D.C. United: The well-traveled one has claimed the past two MLS Player of the Week honors. This week’s fixture at home against Vancouver could be the most high-scoring of the weekend, making DeRo a must-have.
Mauro Rosales, MF, Seattle Sounders FC: This guy doesn’t seem to get tired. After 120 minutes in the midweek match, Sigi Schmid said Rosales didn’t play his best game of the season against Sporting KC, but he was there when it counted — triggering two goals in the very late going. Against a better matchup at home versus Chivas USA, look for Rosales to hang out on the right side swinging in tempting crosses.
Eric Hassli, F, Vancouver Whitecaps: The ‘Caps announced the signing of a successful coach from a lower division (Martin Rennie), with the hopes that he’ll do better than the previous successful lower division coach (Teitur Thordarson). Maybe the announcement will bring stability in the near term, with a favorable matchup on the horizon against defensively-challenged D.C. United.
Álvaro Saborío, F, Real Salt Lake: Sabo makes his second consecutive appearance in the Forecast, primarily because his team gets Toronto FC. Like Vancouver-DC, this game could see four to five combined goals. Would you bet against Saborío bagging one of them?
Dan Kennedy, GK, Chivas USA: Kennedy has been great, recording 67 saves with a GAA of 1.05 through 21 games. That said, he faces a tough task against Seattle, so I’d look elsewhere.
Yamith Cuesta, D, Chicago Fire: Cuesta had a forgettable game last week against the Whitecaps. A tough match against the Red Bulls awaits — give him some more time to regain his confidence.
Tim Ream, D, New York Red Bulls: The defensive side of the ball hasn’t been convincing of late for the struggling Red Bulls, who are in real danger of slipping out of playoff contention.
Andrés Mendoza, F, Columbus Crew: The DP has certainly cooled off, hasn’t he? After a mini hot streak, the forward has gone five games without a goal or an assist. Give him some time to get his mojo back.
A little bit of a mixed bag last week. Nick Rimando got a shutout in one of his two matches, while teammate Saborío scored against a Red Bulls defense that’s been looking very pedestrian lately. Landon Donovan and Sean Franklin were on the unexpected side of a midweek blowout with Portland, while teammate Omar Gonzalez got the prized goal from a defender. Even Juninho, a player the Forecast was bearish about, got in on the action.
Andrew Winner writes about Fantasy Soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS