TRANSFER DEADLINE: Friday, 11 pm ET
Vicente Sanchez and Joao Plata started off hot, but injuries cooled them down. Fabian Espindola has been consistent all along, but recent injuries and suspensions have seen his stock dip. Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry have been a bit quiet for the most part, while the 2012 Golden Boot winner, Chris Wondolowski, has been almost nonexistent as international duty limited his MLS duty.
So, with MLS Fantasy as our guide, which forwards truly deserve the chance to take on Bayern Munich in Portland next month at the AT&T MLS All-Star game? How about Bradley Wright-Phillips, Dom Dwyer and Erick 'Cubo' Torres?
MLS Fantasy is a game based on numbers, and on that basis alone there are a few players who are at least a step or two above the rest. Here's how the top strikers in Major League Soccer compare to one another with regards to goals, total fantasy points, points per game and form (points per game over the last 30 days).
Based on goals alone, it's clear BWP (29 years old), Dwyer (23) and Torres (21) are the most deserving candidates to battle Bayern on August 6. But when you consider goals per minute played, which is obviously significant, the situation is a bit less conclusive.
Had it not been for a couple hamstring tweaks here and there, Jermain Defoe could very well be a front-runner for the Golden Boot. He hasn't played nearly as many minutes as the other four players, and on top of that he's only appeared in 11 games, whereas BWP, Torres and Dwyer have all seen time in at least 16 games this season (Martins, meanwhile, is just behind with 15).
|Player||Selected||Price||Total Points||MP||Goals | Goals per 90|
|Bradley Wright-Phillips||21.7%||$8.3||101||1,244||14 | 1.01|
|Erick Torres||17.8%||$8.8||99||1,456||12 | 0.74|
|Dom Dwyer||12.8%||$8.3||89||1,309||12 | 0.83|
|Obafemi Martins||12.9%||$9.5||96||1,287||8 | 0.56|
|Jermain Defoe||20.0%||$11.3||72||961||8 | 0.75|
*MP = Minutes Played
Despite Espindola's recent injury/suspension, he has been the most consistent striker in MLS throughout the first half of the season, averaging 6.7 points per game to rank first among all forwards.
Espindola (and Martins) are among the top contenders because they've combined scoring with playmaking. BWP, Torres and Dwyer are pure goalscorers, but Espindola and Martins have taken their game to another level by contributing to their team's success in multiple ways.
|Player||Selected||Price||Points per Game||Total Points|
*Harrison Shipp (No. 5, 91 points) removed, not listed as a forward in AT&T All-Star voting.
Forwards – PPG Top 10 (not listed above)
- 2.) Sanchez: 6.6
- 3.) Defoe: 6.5
- 6.) Shipp: 6.1
- 7.) Keane: 6.0
- 8.) Plata: 5.9
- 10.) Higuain: 5.7
- Dwyer ranks 14th
Because of his ability to both score and pick out the final pass for a teammate, Espindola (7 goals, 8 assists) shares the top spot with BWP (14 goals, 0 assists) despite finding the net half as many times.
The others are not far behind, but Torres and Dwyer will need to keep scoring in order to remain on pace, while Martins basically just needs to keep himself healthy enough to stay on the field.
Being an 'in-form' striker provides, at times, more rewards than being a superstar. Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane and other notable Designated Player's may fill the seats, but the most-talked about players in MLS right now are the ones listed in the table below.
Form is a great way of tracking what a player's done lately – more specifically, the last 30 days. For instance, Torres has scored a goal in each of his last four games dating back to June 8. Translation: Cubo is on fire. BWP is right there with him, finding the back of the net three times in his last three appearances.
Mike Magee hasn't had as many games as Torres and BWP over the past month, but he's producing. Jack McInerney has three goals in his last four games.
Defoe has a goal and an assist in his last three games. However, if you go back two months (7 games), Defoe has 49 total points – an average of 7.0 points/game. Not too shabby!
In a Nutshell
Choosing the AT&T MLS All-Star team based solely on these charts, BWP and Cubo Torres would be locks, having appeared in all three tables. Defoe, Dwyer and Martins each appeared in two.
Who do you think are the most-deserving strikers to play at Providence Park vs Bayern Munich on August 6? Pick your top three in the poll above and voice your opinion in the comments below.