REMINDER: The transfer deadline for the Knockout Round is 10:15pm ET tonight!
You've watched the playoff previews and the Scouting Reports, you've read the latest news and you've seen the experts' predictions. Now, the time has come to make your picks and click "confirm your team."
With the Knockout Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs kicking off Wednesday night (Seattle vs. Colorado; 10:30 pm ET, NBCSN), it's time to finalize your MLS Fantasy lineup.
The image above showcases my starting lineup (including subs) for the Knockout Round of MLS Fantasy. It's clear that I'm putting everything on the line and going all-in on the Houston Dynamo – with a few tweaks of course.
I'll get to the Thierry Henry "caparoo" move in a minute, but let's look at player selection and formation first.
Warren Creavalle is listed as a defender in the game, but he has mainly played in midfield for Houston. That explains his selection in my back three.
I also believe Houston will score. But whether or not Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis or Giles Barnes are involved, that's much more difficult to predict although Barnes has nine goals. For this reason, I'm grabbing all four of them, while leaving off the only attacker prone to missing Big Chances, Will Bruin.
A "Big Chance," for those of you who are not familiar with the term, is an Opta-based definition:
"A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score, usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range."
Will Bruin led all MLS players with 17 Big Chances missed in 2013. The next closest player had just 12.
Maybe you've tried this move in the regular season or maybe you've shied away from it, but with free unlimited transfers available for the Knockout Round, setting up a "caparoo" just got a whole lot easier.
Here's how it works (Note: I'll be using my team (top) as a reference).
Select your vice captain from the first Knockout Round match (Seattle vs. Colorado) and then pick a player who's not involved in the Knockout Round as your captain. I went with Thierry Henry.
Still with me? Ok, good.
After the Seattle vs. Colorado game concludes on Wednesday night, you'll be allowed to make manual subsitutions from your bench ahead of the other Knockout Round match between Houston vs. Montreal on Thursday (8:30 pm ET, NBCSN, TSN/RDS in Canada). If you like how your vice captain (Clint Dempsey) performed, don't change a thing. He'll become your captain when the system realizes that your captain did not feature and Barnes will be automatically subbed in for Henry.
But, if your vice captain failed to produce, you can substitute your captain (e.g. Barnes for Henry in my case) and pick a new captain from any remaining Houston or Montreal players in your lineup before Thursday night's game.
Pretty simple, right?