When the highest round score across the entirety of MLS Fantasy Manager is 78, it's fairly safe to assume most managers were thrown for a loop by the wacky results of Round 31. Heck, the average round score was a paltry 39 - one I cleared easily with a respectable 60 points, just sayin', not-so-humble-brag-that-I'm-sure-won't-come-back-to-bite-me. It's not like I didn't warn you all, though. D.C. United did indeed show up New York City FC with a 2-1 home victory. The New England Revolution are streaking in the wrong direction yet again. The Vancouver Whitecaps... uh... well, two out of three isn't bad. My point is this: chaos theory dictates we should expect the unexpected and, when in doubt, go with the known commodities. (I'm pretty sure that's chaos theory. Or a line from Tiny Toon Adventures. Whatever.) It's still perfectly acceptable to captain Sebastian Giovinco ($13.6m) at all opportunities; heck, doing so got me a nice 16 points this past round, thank you very much. (All this bragging is healthy, right?)
What else did we learn this past round? Oh yes: the Montreal Impact are not an unstoppable juggernaut just because they have Didier Drogba ($10.6m). Drogba only had a half-hour of work against Orlando City SC, subbing in for Dominic Oduro ($6.4m), which was not enough to salvage even a point for the visitors from Quebec. Of course, L'Impact were also without Ignacio Piatti ($10.5m), which tells you how fragile Montreal's depth is. Remove Drogba and Piatti and Montreal have zero game-changing answers. This brings us rather neatly to the Round 32 MEGA-TRANSFER-PALOOZA in which Montreal have a DGW. I know what you're thinking: unlimited transfers! Montreal on a DGW! Throw the armband on Drogba and let the magic happen! Not so fast, cowboy. What did we learn about D.C. United earlier this year when DGWs ravaged any semblance of squad consistency? Banking on the same starting XI on a tired, DGW-heavy team is a recipe for fantasy manager disaster. By all means, put Drogba on your squad; just don't expect him to be the saving grace for your round. Instead, look at the other four teams in the round. Note how two of those teams are the New York Red Bulls and FC Fallas - teams that have DGWs in Round 33. Are you seeing the true strategy now? Take Montreal players, yes, but don't over-commit - you'll be likely transferring them out to get some higher-scoring prospects in the next round anyway, and are you really going to get a better defensive space-filling option that is actually earning first-team minutes than Chicago Fire's Matt Polster ($4.5m)? With great transfer power comes great transfer responsibility - use it wisely.
Round 31 Top Score
I'm going to claim a moral victory here in that I tied Barbara Red of Paisley SC with 60 points in the Eighty Six Forever fantasy league. Sure, she's still acres ahead of her nearest competition but, c'mon, I tied her round score! That's gotta be worth at least a few RituroBucks™, right? No? Fine, then let's just celebrate our round winner, Unattached FC (come on, you Bucks!) who was tied with Dylan Callow of Dailon's Team with 65 but did so without making any transfers:
Good thing auto-substitutions are still a thing. Losing out on a Kevin Ellis ($6.8m) clean sheet because of a suspended Matt Miazga ($6.0m) would've been just awful. Awful, I say! Awful.
Matchups To Watch
3. Colorado Rapids vs. Montreal Impact
See above re: Montreal's state. Factor in the sub-par season the Rapids have logged in 2015 and you'll be forgiven if my excitement for this tilt is somewhat (read: mostly) muted. Were it not for the fact I only have three matchups to choose from this round, this fixture would be the least of my concerns.
2. Vancouver Whitecaps vs. FC Dallas
The team without Fabian Castillo ($11.0m) meet s the team without Kendall Waston ($9.0m). Mayhem ensues.
1. New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact
Ah, here we go. The Jesse Marsch Derby promises to be an epic battle of - pfft, I can't even finish that with a straight face. The
Pink Cows Red Bulls are going to annihilate the Impact. Load up and prepare for NYRB's following DGW.