*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 8:15 pm ET on Wednesday, Oct. 3.
*Reminder #2: Chivas USA, Chicago and Philadelphia all play multiple games this round.
Top Players in Round 30: Thierry Henry – 21 points
Key Injuries: OUT – Brad Davis, A.J. DeLaGarza, Nelson Rivas, Stephen McCarthy, Ryan Smith, Chris Tierney, Medhi Ballouchy
As we get down to the last few weeks of the regular season, each point up for grabs becomes ever so important. Will Sporting KC catch San Jose for the No. 1 overall seed? Will anyone rest their starters? Can Columbus win and jump ahead of Houston? Can Montreal shock everyone and sneak their way in? All the matchups and all the action is available on MLS Live. Follow along on your phone, tablet, desktop, laptop or TV because this round, you don’t want to miss a beat.
Pay close attention to this week’s injury report. You’ll have to finalize your roster based solely on Tuesday’s report so take it for what it’s worth when looking at players with games later in the week. Review the current list of suspensions and monitor the list of yellow -ard accumulations as well. Those scheduled to play multiple games may not be worth the risk, so choose wisely.
Chris Rolfe, $7.0m, Chicago Fire (93 points, T-14th among forwards)
Rolfe was held to just two points last round, but don’t let that deter you from picking him up. Chicago played against the best defense, statistically speaking, against Sporting KC, but their matchups are much more favorable this week. Plus, in the two previous rounds before the SKC shutout he had three goals, one assist and 29 total points. The Red Bulls have given up the third-most goals in the Eastern Conference and the sixth-most in MLS. I expect Rolfe to benefit from Chicago’s matchups and secure a spot on the dream team when the round culminates. The Fire will need someone to lead them down the stretch, and it’s hard not seeing Rolfe assume that role.
Corey Ashe, $5.8m, Houston Dynamo (111 points, T-19th among defenders)
Ashe has logged a clean sheet in each of his past three games, averaging 7.0 points per game in that same stretch. His 11 total clean sheets tie him with Chance Myers and Tony Beltran for fourth best among all defenders. This week, the Dynamo will face a well-rested and potent attacking team in the Montreal Impact, but they do have one major advantage: They’re playing at home. Seven of Ashe’s 11 clean sheets have come at home this season and one of them was a 3-0 romp over Montreal back on July 21. With two of their next three games coming at home, the Dynamo should be in line for at least one more shutout. At $5.8m, Ashe is a bargain compared to the rest of Houston’s back line.
Lawrence Olum, $4.8m, Sporting KC (51, points 803 minutes played)
Seth Sinovic and Jimmy Nielsen lead all players with 14 clean sheets this season, and the rest of the Sporting KC backline are not too far behind. A lot of people were surprised with the recent benching of Aurélien Colin, but according to manager Peter Vermes, Olum has earned his spot in the lineup. At $4.8m, you will not find another bargain anything like this one. Every other starting defender on Sporting KC is priced higher than $7.0m, so this week consider securing Olum before his price gets any higher. Their Sunday matchup against the Columbus Crew will not be a cake walk, but Sporting have secured back-to-back clean sheets with Olum in the lineup, and they’ve been one – if not the – strongest defensive unit all season.
Sean Johnson, $5.9m, Chicago Fire, (119 points, 12th among goalkeepers)
Johnson has been praised for making several key saves this season and it seems like every single week he’s up for Save of the Week. Now, the Fire are not known as a team that can easily record a clean sheet. In fact, Johnson has logged just four clean sheets total in 27 matches thus far, with the last one coming all the way back on July 14 when they shut out Vancouver 1-0 at home. Chicago gave up multiple goals in eight of those 27 matches. In Round 31, they’ll start off at home against a Philadelphia Union team that’s scored just 31 goals all season – the fewest in the Eastern Conference. Expect Frank Klopas to remind his players on the importance of team defense.
Jay DeMerit, $6.6m, Vancouver Whitecaps (133 points, seventh among defenders)
Chivas USA got manhandled by RSL and now they have to travel up the coast to play a strong Vancouver team on very little rest. The Whitecaps are coming off good showing against a playoff-clinching team in the Seattle Sounders, a game that many think should’ve ended in a victory for the home side. DeMerit is currently No. 1 in CBIs among all players and tied for fifth in clean sheets (among defenders) with 10. If Vancouver want to stay on pace to claim that fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, they’ll need to do their best to limit the Goats’ opportunities. DeMerit is the Vancouver defender you want to own this week.
Most added transfer this week: Chris Rolfe
Most dropped transfer this week: Federico Higuaín