March 2, the opening day of the 2013 MLS season, is just around the corner. Which, of course, means it's time to start talking fantasy.
MLS Fantasy Soccer: Manager launched on Thursday, and there are some cool new features and an incredible new design. Plus, the winner will win a trip to the 2014 MLS All-Star Game.
So how are you going to win? Well, to start, you're going to need a few of the top players. Here's a quick look at the best players worth owning at each position in 2013. The more you can get, the better off you’ll be come March 2. And beyond.
Jimmy Nielsen – The “White Puma” and Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year in 2013 has his entire defense back, two of whom made the MLS Best XI – Matt Besler and Aurélien Collin … need we say more? (2012 – 77 saves, 15 clean sheets)
Andy Gruenebaum (right) – Went from starting two games in 2011 to starting 33 in 2012. Hopefully by adding Brazilian center back Gláuber to the mix, it will shore up some of the questionable defending the Crew displayed last season. (2012 – 124 saves, 8 clean sheets)
Tally Hall – The Dynamo lost Geoff Cameron and Andre Hainault, but youngster Kofi Sarkodie and the acquisition of Eric Brunner from Portland should help Hall reach new heights this season. (2012 – 88 saves, 12 clean sheets)
Sean Johnson – USMNT prospect, but he’s not the finished product just yet. If he can continue to make brilliant saves and eliminate the unforced errors, this could be a breakout year for him. (2012 – 108 saves, 5 clean sheets)
Ryan Meara – If he gets the call to start the season, he should be in for a good one. With an improved defensive corps in front of him, Meara – who suffered a long-term injury midway through 2012 – a lot of shutouts could be in the offing. (2012 – 59 saves, 3 clean sheets)
Omar Gonzalez – The USMNT defender and former MLS Defender of the Year is back, and he’s stronger than ever. How many set-piece goals do you see in his future for 2013? (2012 – 254 CBIs)
Austin Berry – The 2012 Rookie of the Year amassed in 2012 a ton of CBIs (Clearances, Blocks, Interceptions). He'll be that much more confident this year, and he has a decent supporting cast, too. (2012 – 378 CBIs)
Aurélien Collin (right) – Tall, ferocious and plays with some of the best in the league. He’s a bit of a wild man, but as long as he can stay out of trouble, his CBIs should be among the leaders once again. And he can get on the scoresheet, too, now and then. (2012 – 366 CBIs)
Jeff Parke – Had a good showing last season and will replace the void left by the loaning of Carlos Valdés. He had a great season last year and he gathers a lot of points on CBIs. (2012 – 371 CBIs)
Jámison Olave – If he can stay healthy, the sky is the limit, and with the Red Bulls' overall playmaking abilities, he could get on the scoresheet more on set pieces. (2012 – 207 CBIs)
Brad Davis – He has consistently put up huge numbers – 52 assists in the last four seasons – and with even more attacking options in the Dynamo fold this year (Omar Cummings), he should be able to put up even bigger ones. (2012 – 8 goals, 12 assists)
Landon Donovan – Do you really expect him to pass up a chance at a three-peat? I don’t either. Enough said. But I wouldn't put him on my team to start the season. (2012 – 9 goals, 14 assists)
Graham Zusi (right) – Made a big name for himself last year, leading the league in assists. Sporting KC's pressure-filled attack and his strong supporting cast, too. (2012 – 5 goals, 15 assists)
Javier Morales – If he can get back to his 2010 form (7 goals, 9 assists), RSL won’t have to worry much about the departures of Espindola, Olave and Johnson. (2012 – 3 goals, 9 assists)
Dwayne De Rosario – Played recently for Canada in a friendly against the US and looked good. He’s 34 years old, but should still be a key contributor to D.C. United’s success again in 2013. (2012 – 7 goals, 12 assists)
Robbie Keane – Beckham who? With Donovan expected to return at some point and another big-name star prossibly joining the club in the near future, Keane should be in for another monster year. (2012 – 16 goals, 9 assists)
Chris Wondolowski (right) – Only an injury will prevent the 2012 Golden Boot winner from showing up this season. For the league's best poacher, a goal is a goal. If he gets off to a fast start, who knows how many he can put away in 2013? (2012 – 27 goals, 7 assists)
Álvaro Saborío – The departure of forwards Fabián Espíndola, Paulo Jr. and Justin Braun should mean even more opportunities for Sabo, and the addition of forward Robbie Findley will open up more space for the Costa Rican to operate in. (2012 – 17 goals, 3 assists)
Thierry Henry – The Red Bulls jettisoned a lot in the off-season, but Henry's still the offensive mainstay. The arrival of Juninho and the healthiness of Lloyd Sam will make the RBNY offense even more potent, giving Henry more chances for goals and assists. (2012 – 15 goals, 12 assists)
Eddie Johnson – Fredy Montero is gone, so the Sounders will rely heavily on EJ. His scoring touch in 2012 was Midas-like, and with a 2014 World Cup spot in the cards, he'll be motivated to keep pouring them in this year. (2012 – 14 goals, 3 assists)