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Leg one of the MLS Cup Playoffs’ Conference Championships in MLS Fantasy started out slow, but ended with a bang. The Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting KC showdown was exactly what we thought it would be. Both teams held strong defensively, leading to a nil-nil draw. You were rewarded if you went with defensive selections from either team.
The second match, Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers, was everything we thought it would be as well. RSL were stronger on both sides of the ball, but the Timbers still managed to grab two goals in their away leg. Hopefully you invested in the right attack.
All four teams were represented on this week’s Dream Team. Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake led the way with four selections each.
Conference Championship Statistics
- Top Fantasy Score: 95 points
- Average Fantasy Score: 22 points
Dream Team formation: (5-2-3)
Top Player: Javier Morales – 15 points
Ten defenders tallied six points or more this week and nine of them were from the Eastern Conference.
Four of the top five scorers were involved in the scoreless draw at BBVA Stadium in Houston: Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic and Warren Creavalle.
Chris Schuler finished with nine points despite conceding two goals and someone I'd consider holding onto for the second leg.
Only two midfielders scored more than five points in the first leg matchups and both featured for teams in the Western Conference Championship.
Former teammates Javier Morales and Will Johnson proved to be essential pickups this round, as they were the only two midfielders selected to the Conference Championships leg one Dream Team.
I highly recommend holding onto both for the return leg in Portland.
Not many people felt good enough endorse one of the big name forwards this round and the results supported their assessment.
With Alvaro Saborio sitting out due to a hip flexor injury, RSL's starting duo up top, Robbie Findley and Devon Sandoval, combined for 18 total fantasy points. They both scored a goal against Portland while Findley added an assist as well.
Frederic Piquionne scored a remarkable header in stoppage time against RSL to give Timbers' fans a glimmer of hope heading into the second leg.
All three strikers selected to this week's Dream Team are making their first appearance in 2013.
Jimmy Nielsen – (7 points)
With only four keepers to choose from, this was a boom or bust round. If you had Jimmy Nielsen or Tally Hall things worked out well. But, if you invested in one of the other two, your fantasy team likely suffered.
There are no guarantees in the second-leg matchups, but Nielsen is without a doubt one of the best selections available.
*Dream Team subject to change. All point totals will be finalized Tuesday for the Conference Championships Leg 1 Round.