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The second leg of the Conference Championships was a big reality check for several MLS Fantasy owners. The scorelines in MLS have proven to be very unpredictable at times, and this past weekend was no different.
Most were betting on a shutout for Sporting KC, but those who started Jimmy Nielsen & Co. didn't exactly get what they expected. Meanwhile, for those who opted for Nick Rimando and the Real Salt Lake defenders at the back, what a pleasant surprise when they checked their team after the smoke cleared.
On the other hand, Portland Timbers players disappointed all around with high scorers topping out at just four total points. Only three of the four teams were represented on this week’s Dream Team, and Real Salt Lake led the way with five selections.
Conference Championship Statistics
- Top Fantasy Score: 75 points
- Most-Captained player: Graham Zusi
Dream Team formation: (4-3-3)
Top Players: Benny Feilhaber and Nat Borchers – 9 points
Only 10 players tallied six or more points in Round 41, and four were defenders. Nat Borchers was the co-leader in points with nine and the best among a threesome of RSL players at the back that includes Chris Schuler and Tony Beltran.
Sporting KC’s Aurelien Collin had a bonanza full of bonus points in the team’s 2-1 win over Houston on Saturday night. His 24 CBIs and 12 recoveries earned him six additional points and the final spot on this week’s Dream Team.
The next-closest defender finished with four points.
If you were shocked to see RSL defenders lead the list of top scorers, you might’ve been even more surprised to see some of top performing midfielders this round.
Benny Feilhaber played a huge part in SKC’s win over Houston, earning three points for his game-winning assist (watch it again), four more on bonuses and nine points overall in 84 minutes of action. Roughly three percent of fantasy owners had the US national teamer in their squad. Did you?
Boniek Garcia, who’s also owned by just three percent of fantasy players, finished with the second-most points among midfielders this week. The Honduran national winger was a bright spot for the Dynamo this year, ending the season with 144 total points and a fantasy price tag of $8.2m.
Javier Morales didn’t earn a spot in the DT with his six-point performance against Portland, but Brad Davis did. Both players had identical scores; however it was Davis who got the nod this time. He finishes 2013 owned by more than 18 percent of fantasy managers.
Most people considered this one of the most difficult weeks to choose a starting forward, and in the end it turned out to be true. Well, somewhat.
Robbie Findley – the most added forward going into the round – delivered again! His goal in the first half gave the visiting team a good shot at advancing in the playoffs, while at the same time allowing fantasy owners to breathe a sigh of relief for putting him in their starting XI. He’ll be an interesting option for the MLS Cup final if Alvaro Saborio has regained his health and fitness by then.
Rounding out the forward crop were C.J. Sapong and Dom Dwyer, who got on the end of goals in SKC’s monumental win over Houston. We thought there was a chance for it to be one or the other, but we definitely didn’t expect it to be both. If you had either of these players in your starting XI, job well done!
Nick Rimando – (8 points)
The first playoff meeting between RSL and Portland ended 4-2 in favor of RSL. But the last regular season meeting between the two in Portland on Oct. 19 finished in a nil-nil draw. So why were people expecting an abundance of goals this time?
Regardless, Rimando & Co. proved that they can win anywhere, and that playing on your home field isn't as much of an advantage as some may think.
*Dream Team subject to change. All point totals will be finalized Tuesday for Conference Finals second-leg matches.