The Knockout Round of the 2013 MLS Cup playoffs kicks off Wednesday night, and that means time is running out to set your lineup. To that end, I collected predictions from the experts and put together some key stats to go along with this week's fantasy video (above).
At this point in MLS Fantasy, it is imperative that you field your optimal lineup, and with free unlimited transfers at your disposal, there's no one to blame for the mistakes or praise for the glory other than yourself.
After taping the fantasy video for this week's Knockout Round (above), I spoke with Jason Saghini and Andrew Wiebe about both matchups. The consensus was unanimous across the board – we all like the home side to come away with the win.
- Me: Houston win 1-0, Seattle win 2-1
- Jason Saghini: Houston win 1-0, Seattle win 1-0
- Andrew Wiebe: Houston win 1-0, Seattle win 2-1
The main thing to take away from our score lines is not that we're predicting goals, it's that we're predicting shutouts. And for Jason, he's predicting two.
While we all agreed that both Montreal and Colorado have the ability to score, which they've proven to us this season, we don't like their chances this week on the road.
Having watched a lot of tape on Houston as of late, I'm going to focus solely on the Houston vs. Montreal matchup in today's breakdown.
Good vs. Bad
With the recent news that defender Jermaine Taylor has been ruled out for the entire playoffs due to a foot injury, I'm not overly convinced that Houston will be able to hold Montreal off the board for the entire 90 minutes. But regardless of who they have back there, what gives me hope that they can escape with a clean sheet is the fact that Montreal just cannot score as of late. Here's the good and the bad for the Impact...
The Good: 17 players have scored for Montreal in 2013 and their 50 total goals are second-best in the Eastern Conference. Marco Di Vaio led the team with 20 goals, finishing third in this year's Golden Boot race, behind Camilo Sanvezzo (winner) and Mike Magee (runner-up). Felipe is the second-highest scorer on the team, with five.
The Bad: In their last five games, Montreal have been shut out four times. Add in the fact that they've conceded a goal in all five of those matches and a 1-0 loss to Houston seems more and more plausible.
As fantasy players, most of you love stats, so here are some things to take into consideration about the Impact when finalizing your picks.
- 1-4-2 when Marco Di Vaio plays fewer than 80 minutes
- Outscored Houston 7-1 in the regular season
- Shut out Houston twice in 2013. Both games were at Stade Saputo
- 50 goals in 2013: Home - 31, Away -19
- Last Meeting: 1-0 win for Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium
I like the Dynamo in this matchup because of their reputation at home and I respect what they can do when Dominic Kinnear leads them into the postseason.
I'm giving you several reasons to pick up Houston defenders, but are you still not convinced? How about our predictions: Do you agree or disagree? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.