It’s been an exciting season for fantasy soccer. We saw the emergence of Brek Shea as a goal-dangerous midfielder while Dwayne De Rosario reasserted himself as one of the premier attacking threats in the league’s history. Chivas USA’s Nick La Brocca and Portland’s Jack Jewsbury established themselves as the heartbeats of their respective teams, while the LA back line proved themselves to be the league’s stingiest defense.
A talented crop of newcomers (Camilo Sanvezzo, Sebastián Grazzini, Luke Rodgers, Danny Koevermans, Mauro Rosales, etc.) made an impression, while the established stars (Thierry Henry, David Beckham) showed they still have plenty left to offer.
With the week entering its final season, both Portland and D.C. United play twice this week. The CONCACAF Champions League teams (FC Dallas, Toronto, Seattle, LA Galaxy and Colorado) also play midweek matches.
Let’s get to the picks!
Bill Hamid, G, D.C. United: Two home games against Portland and Sporting Kansas City await D.C.’s talented 20-year-old shot-stopper. Hamid will want to improve on his 1.42 goals-against average from 2011, but he did prove himself as a reliable option, starting 26 matches this season. He’ll hope to make it 28 by the end of the week with a reasonable chance for a shutout in either contest.
Ty Harden, D, Toronto FC: It’s not every day a TFC defender makes it into the Forecast, but Harden gets his name called primarily because of the matchup against New England. The Revolution have lost five straight and won’t be sad to see the season end. Harden & Co. will hope to help them go out with a whimper.
Andre Hainault, D, Houston Dynamo: On its face, this may seem like an odd choice with Houston facing the Galaxy. However, the Dynamo have only allowed a single goal in the past three matches and LA may see a dip in motivation – and a boatload of reserves – in what is, for them, a meaningless game. Additionally, Hainault scored his first goal of the season last week in the 2-0 victory over Portland.
Jack Jewsbury, M, Portland Timbers: A playoff spot is still a possibility for the Jewsbury and the Timbers, but they’ll have to earn it. The midfielder (seven goals, eight assists) hasn’t managed many shots in recent matches but remains a threat on set pieces and penalty kicks. With two matches, Jewsbury’s a near-lock to play 180 minutes, increasing his chances of getting on the score sheet.
Dwayne De Rosario, M, D.C. United: DeRo remains the must-start player. Even with D.C. slipping to three consecutive losses, De Rosario has contributed a goal and an assist his past two matches. With the playoffs still a possibility, he might respond again with some more lopsided offensive numbers.
Kenny Cooper, F, Portland Timbers: Cooper has been a bright spot for the Timbers with three goals in his last five matches, though he missed a couple of big, big chances against Houston last weekend. The Timbers will likely need a couple more from the big striker to have a chance of making the playoffs, and he is eager to rebound.
Fredy Montero, F, Seattle Sounders FC: Seattle’s Designated Player rounds out the all-Cascadia attack unit. With either a goal or an assist in his past seven MLS contests, Montero’s been as consistent as he has been prolific (six goals and three assists in that span, and 10 goals in 10 matches across all competitions.)
Troy Perkins, G, Portland Timbers: Perkins faces D.C. United and Real Salt Lake on the road. Even with a playoff berth in the balance, that’s a grueling schedule against two dangerous offenses. The Forecast advises looking elsewhere.
Michael Umaña, D, Chivas USA: Chivas coach Robin Fraser isn’t certain his Costa Rican right back will be available this weekend after an MCL sprain kept him from international duty. At any rate, Chivas USA face a challenging match against Mauro Rosales and the Seattle Sounders.
Joel Lindpere, M, New York Red Bulls: No goals and no assists in the past four make the Estonian midfielder someone to avoid. He’s still an important cog for the Red Bulls, but hasn’t looked goal-dangerous of late. New York close the season at home against Philadelphia with a playoff berth in the offing.
Mustapha Jarju, F, Vancouver Whitecaps: Jarju hasn’t found his feet in Vancouver. With 10 appearances under his belt, the Gambian has yet to record a goal or an assist. Perhaps incoming Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie can get more out of him in 2012, but it’s time to close the book on Jarju’s disappointing season.
Vancouver’s Camilo opened the week nicely with a goal against D.C. United last Wednesday, while teammate Alain Rochat picked up an assist. Marco Pappa and Luke Rodgers didn’t meet expectations, while Shea defied the Forecast with a goal over the weekend for Dallas.
Andrew Winner writes about Fantasy Soccer for MLSsoccer.com.