*Reminder #1: The cut off time to make roster changes is 15 minutes prior to the scheduled kick off of the first match of the week. This week, that deadline is 6:45 pm ET on Wednesday, July 11.
*Reminder #2: Chivas USA are the only team with a bye in Fantasy Round 19.
Top Player in Round 18: Alvaro Saborio – 17 points
Key Injuries: OUT – Jan Gunnar Solli (NY), Heath Pearce (NY)
DOUBTFUL – Juan Agudelo (CHV)
Last round, 10 different teams kept a clean sheet, proving that defenders and goalkeepers deserve just as much attention as attackers. This week Vancouver and Toronto are the only two teams with multiple games. You have just one transfer this round so you use it wisely. As always, monitor the injury report and all suspensions. With that said, here are my five picks for this weeks’ games.
Joe Cannon, $5.8m, Vancouver Whitecaps (95 points, second among goalkeepers)
Cannon was on my list of must-adds last round and he’s here again because the same applies this week. He’s logged more clean sheets (eight) than any other goalkeeper this season and is now just a single point behind Andy Gruenebaum for the No. 1 spot among keepers. Vancouver are one of just two teams that will benefit from multiple games this week. The bad thing – both games are on the road. The good thing – both teams they’re facing – Toronto and Chicago – can struggle at times to find the net. If you have anyone on Vancouver, consider giving them the captain’s armband this week. Cannon could be in for his biggest round of the season.
Jack McInerney, $7.4m, Philadelphia Union (32 points, 395 minutes played)
By the looks of it, Philadelphia have finally found a striker to replace the void left by the release of Sébastien Le Toux. Jack Mac has recently become one of the hottest strikers in MLS, along with fellow standout Antoine Hoppenot. It seemed like the trade for Jorge Perlaza could eat in to McInerney’s time on the pitch, but it looks as if his rookie partner is the only one who will share time at forward right now. The Union will play at home this week as McInerney will look to improve on his recent performance – 25 points in his last three games played.
Chris Pontius, $7.4m, D.C. United (69 points, T-ninth among forwards)
The D.C. forward has been red hot as of late, tallying 26 points in his last three outings. If that’s not enough for you, last week, MLSsoccer.com’s Armchair Analyst gave Pontius his very own midseason award: Most Improved Player: Level 3. Pontius is an impact player – the type of guy who can change a game even when he’s not playing particularly well. He didn’t play exceptionally well against the Red Bulls a couple months back, but he took over the game regardless. D.C. United are exciting to watch already, and owning Pontius just gives you an added incentive.
Jordan Harvey, $5.8m, Vancouver Whitecaps (50 points, 8 games started)
A few weeks ago, John Thorrington was listed on the injury report with a quad strain. Since then, Vancouver have shifted things up. Harvey has stepped in, pushing Alain Rochat into Thorrington’s position, and helped the Whitecaps record two straight clean sheets – adding to their league-leading total of nine. He’s also scored six or more points in five of the eight games he’s started. Look for Harvey to get the nod once again Wednesday night, even with Thorrington being upgraded to doubtful. Saturday’s start could depend on how much progress has been made between now and then. If you can’t work the numbers to pick up one of the other guys (e.g. Lee Young-Pyo, Jay DeMerit) – Harvey might just be your best option.
Antoine Hoppenot, $4.4m, Philadelphia Union (15 points, 155 minutes played)
If you can’t afford to splurge on Philadelphia’s starting striker (Jack McInerney – see above) then Hoppenot is someone you should keep in mind. This feisty rookie striker has given opposing defenses more than they can handle as of late. He’s quickly come in and made a name for himself as one of the speediest forwards in the league. Hoppenot hasn’t played more than 31 minutes in a single game this season, but somehow manages to find himself in a one-v-one with opposing goalkeepers on a regular basis. I wonder who’s faster – Hoppenot or Dominic Oduro? Regardless, I think we’re starting to see who the better finisher might be.
Most added transfer this week: Joe Cannon Most dropped transfer this week: Will Bruin