Here are a few tips to help you select your squad for Round 30 of Fantasy Soccer: Manager before Friday night’s action begins. For the first time in a while, no team plays twice. So, you’ll have to do some strategic research and decision making on this one. The Montreal Impact are the only team that has a bye.
Field Player to Buy
WATCH: Wondo nets #23
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes, $11.7 million) – Just when people were starting to doubt “Wondo” would break Roy Lassiter’s single-season record of 27 goals, what does he do? He scores three goals in Round 29, including two goals coming off the bench. Now the big question remains: Can Wondolowski break the record? I say yes, and what a great way to start this pursuit with a home game against FC Dallas in Round 30. The Hoops have allowed 24 goals in 14 away matches (1.71 GAA) this season and the Earthquakes have scored the most home goals in the league (38 goals, 2.53 GF). In addition, with the atmosphere Earthquake fans and supporter groups such as 1906 Ultras and The Casbah create, I think Wondo will at least score No. 23 Saturday.
Field Player to Sell
Lee Young-Pyo (Vancouver Whitecaps, $7.0 million) – Lee and the Whitecaps started the season with four consecutive clean sheets, including six in their first eight games, and averaged seven fantasy points per game. However, in Vancouver's past 12 games, they haven’t recorded a shutout and Young-Pyo has only averaged 2.75 fantasy points per game. This round, they’ll take on the Seattle Sounders, who’ve scored 24 away goals (1.6 GF), good for second-best in MLS, this season. Don’t expect to earn any shutout points with Lee or any other Vancouver defender this week.
Goalkeeper to Buy
Andy Gruenebaum (Columbus Crew, $6.0 million) – Gruenebaum is currently first among goalkeepers in FS:M in total points (156), saves (111), recoveries (354) and number of times on the dream team (4). Additionally, he is second in points per game (5.4) and fourth in clean sheets (8). In Round 30, the Crew host a Philadelphia Union team that has scored an MLS-worst eight away goals (0.62 GF) and won’t have star midfielder Freddy Adu. Before Adu’s standout game last round, the Union were having trouble finding the back of the net, scoring just four goals in the previous eight games (0.50 GF). Put your money on Gruenebaum this round to get his ninth clean sheet of the season.
Goalkeeper to Sell
Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas, $6.1 million) – Probably the most accomplished goalkeeper in MLS history, Hartman will be defending the posts in Round 30 against the one and only San Jose Earthquakes. The Quakes have scored a league-best total of 62 goals (2.07 GF) and have Wondolowski chasing the single-season goal record. Not only does San Jose have Wondo, but they have three other players who’ve scored eight or more goals this season (Gordon, Lenhart, Dawkins) which is unheard of. Expect San Jose to come at Hartman with everything they’ve got. Need any more reasons not to go with Hartman this round? I didn’t think so.
Surprise Player This Round
WATCH: Lindpere pounces after Cahill header
Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls, $8.5 million) – Since joining the Red Bulls back in July, Cahill hasn’t been producing points like most people thought he would for fantasy teams. In eight games, he’s produced two or fewer fantasy points five times. Cahill has only scored once and tallied two assists, including one this past weekend against the New England Revolution. This round, he’ll face Toronto FC for the first time – a team that has allowed the most goals in the league (55, 1.83 GAA) and is tied for allowing the second-most away goals (31, 2.07 GAA). In addition, TFC have allowed six goals in their last two away matches (3.0 GAA) and nine goals in their last four games in league play (2.25 GAA). Out of the games remaining on New York’s regular season schedule, I believe this is the game Cahill shows off his star power.
Surprise Player Last Round
Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City, $7.1 million) – In Round 29, Besler and Sporting Kansas City faced a tough challenge, playing two away games, but walked away with four crucial points to help boost their first place lead in the Eastern Conference. Besler registered two clean sheets, an assist, six defending bonuses and played all 180 minutes for Sporting for a grand total of 21 points.
Jimmy Bowers is a former MLS Fantasy champion.