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Here is my one attempt at a silver lining for Canada's exit from yet another goalless Gold Cup: at least Cyle Larin ($6.0m) will be heading back to Orlando City SC to give our fantasy benches a crucial shot of depth. That's it. That's all I've got. Let's move on.
So, that Sebastian Giovinco ($12.5m) guy. He's kinda good, right? I told you he'd bounce back - 20(!) points in the ding-dong battle that was Toronto FC at New York City FC is a gold mine for those of you that kept the faith in Formica Atomica. While that kind of mammoth haul isn't going to be the norm, I wouldn't expect his sizzling 8.0 form to be unsustainable. While the bigger signings for TFC from a USMNT perspective have been Michael Bradley ($10.4m) and Jozy Altidore ($10.0m), there's a significant body of evidence to suggest the real killer pieces on this squad are Giovinco, Damien Perquis ($7.6m) and Benoit Cheyrou ($8.3m). While that's great for finally turning the fortunes of sad-sack TFC around, it strangely hasn't turned into fantasy points. Cheyrou and Perquis are level on 61pts, less than half of Gionvinco ginormous haul of 131. Even the next closest TFC player to Giovinco, Bradley, only has 70pts. It's not that much of a stretch, then, to say the only person on TFC worth investing in - if you can afford him - is Giovinco. As the season winds down and TFC's home field advantage becomes bigger and bigger, Giovinco's only going to get hotter and hotter. Start bankrolling now.
A brief aside - did you know former Chicago Fire striker and noted "Quincy Time" aficionado Quincy Amarikwa ($6.8m) is now with the San Jose Earthquakes? Somehow, I gapped on that little piece of information, which is a shame - Amarikwa went 83 minutes in last week's 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo and I would expect him to continue to pick up minutes while Chris Wondolowski ($11.3m) is on Gold Cup duty. In keeping with our "save fantasy dollars for Giovinco" moral from earlier, Amarikwa could be a great way to dump an under-performing striker and use the savings to grab Giovinco. Just make sure you leave a little room to get somebody else once Wondo returns and Amarikwa's minutes vanish.
Finally, what a season it's been for the New England Revolution - a season of horrors and disappointments, specifically. The former MLS Cup finalists have done exactly two things of note: go on an undefeated streak (5W-0L-4D) early and nosedive recently (1W-7L-2D). Because it's the Eastern Conference, that's still enough for them to cling to 6th place, though the Montreal Impact have games in hand and a better points-per-game average (1.31 vs. 1.14). If the Revs keep posting results like last week's 4-1 shellacking at the hands of the New York Red Bulls, that 6th place spot will be gone in a blink. It's a shame, too; Scott Caldwell ($7.5m) - not to be confused with the recently-retired Steven Caldwell - has been a great return for a relatively cheap midfield investment. His 2.6 form doesn't lie, though, and it's time to abandon ship if you're still on it. The same goes for Charlie Davies ($8.9m), though Teal Bunbury ($7.7m) is cheap enough to keep around as a mid-range option if you're rich enough to afford him. Then again, we are trying to dump money for Giovinco... goodbye Bunbury, hello Larin!
Round 19 Top Score
So, how are things at ye olde Eighty Six Forever fantasy league? Oh, Barbara Red of Paisley SC is still atop the rankings after posting a solid 96pts? Seems about normal. What else can we find... what's this, 90+ scores on all pages of the leaderboard? Well now! That's promising to see - we may have some new challengers in the making for next year's league. As for the here and now, there can only be one top score per round and it was this round's only 100-point scorer: Marc Geschwind of (sigh) Kaka's takin a deuce. Here's what 100 points looks like:
It turns out Cristian Maidana ($9.2m) is at the heart of the Philadelphia Union's sudden about-turn. It would not be unwise to keep an eye on both him and C.J. Sapong ($7.2m).
Matchups To Watch
3. Columbus Crew SC vs. Chicago Fire (both)
Columbus and Chicago are your DGW teams for this week and, wouldn't you know it, they play each other both times. Chicago are coming off a morale-boosting win over the toothless Seattle Sounders while Columbus got their lunch handed to them by the Montreal Impact. Columbus certainly have more punch than Seattle these days; I'd wager in at least one of these games, it'll result in cracking open the Fire for a few goals and fantasy points.
2. FC Dallas vs. D.C. United
Here's the thing about D.C. - they find ways to win. Remember how the 'Caps were all "smash and grab" to start the season? Yeah, D.C. started that way and never stopped. Now they're atop the Supporters' Shield race with a three-point lead on the Vancouver Whitecaps, Seattle and - oh! Look at that - FC Dallas, who have a marginally better points-per-game and have awoken from the earlier slumber. This oughta be good. Fabian Castillo ($10.6m) fans, you may commence your girlish screams of joy.
1. Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union
Choo choo! Giovinco hype train vs. Philadelphia hype train! Two trains enter - one or both leave a mangled wreck. It's fun for the whole family, assuming your family plays MLS Fantasy Manager! (If your family doesn't play, convince them it's tax-deductible. That usually does the trick, and by "that" I mean "outrageously lying".)