Forget March Madness--for the last few weeks we've been suffering from MLS Fantasy Madness! While office pools were scrambling this week to fill out brackets for the Big Dance, we were scratching our heads over which teams have bye weeks, who's being called up to National Teams for International Matches, and what the latest injury reports are so we can field a full squad for this weekend's slate of MLS matches.
So we went into the lab with our lineup from Week Two and examined the particulates left after a very reactive weekend in league play. The good news is that all our Orlando City players scored at least one extra point for us for helping to keep a clean sheet. And because of his position as a defender, it actually meant Brek Shea scored us four additional points for his efforts. Aside from the lads in purple, a few other players on the squad came up with great matches, as both Chris Seitz of FC Dallas in goal and Javier Morales of Real Salt Lake wound up on MLS fantasy's weekly "Dream Team." All in all, we crystallized 52 points out of the weekend, up a bit from our first week's performance and significantly above the league average of 43 points on the round. We're now sitting on 102 points for the season and we are ranked in the top 9,000 out of 26,000+ total fantasy players.
But just when we thought we were lining up a great squad, a quick consultation of the periodic scheduling table showed us that Real Salt Lake has a bye week this week. We also had another player, Michael Fucito from the San Jose Earthquakes, showed up on the league's injury report.
From last week's experiments in transfer thermodynamics, we learned that you can only swap two players per week without being docked any championship points, and since we're currently mired in mid-pack mediocrity, we opted to transfer Morales and Fucito off the squad to see what we could acquire in their stead. From the transfer wires we picked up Jose Villareal of the LA Galaxy and Fernando Aristaguieta of the Philadelphia Union. Villareal made the "Dream Team" from last weekend's matches as well, so hopefully he'll repeat his good showing for us.
After finishing the transfers, we took the mixture to the sorting centrifuge over in the fantasy lab and decided the final lineup that will separate out for us to take the pitch for the weekend's matches. And here's how the lineup looks:
Goalkeeper: Chris Seitz (FC Dallas)
Defenders: Brek Shea (Orlando City SC), Jeff Larentowics (Chicago Fire), Axel Sjoberg (Colorado Rapids)
Midfielders: Jose Villareal (LA Galaxy), Kaka (Orlando City SC), Kevin Molino (Orlando City SC), Memo Rodriguez (Houston Dynamo), and Mix Diskerud (NYCFC)
Forwards: Fernando Aristaguieta (Philadelphia Union) and Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
I think we have distilled the best lineup yet for the young season, but I'm afraid our joy may be short lived. With the upcoming FIFA window for International Matches set to open next week, we know we will be without Kevin Molino in the lineup for our match on 3/28, and it's very likely Brek Shea and Mix Diskerud may be transfused into the US Men's National Team for a couple of friendlies in Europe as well. And beyond them, who knows who else may be called up to the national team once Jurgen Klinsmann makes his decision on the lineup for the games in Denmark and Switzerland at the end of the month. In any case, it's sure to be a mad scramble in the lab next week to help us decide who's on the pitch, who's on the bench, and who gets transferred back to the particulate residue through the transfer process.