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Well, that demolition of Toronto FC by the LA Galaxy answered that question, didn't it? The Galaxy have awoken, ladies and gentlemen, and they're running rampant even without Omar Gonzalez ($10.0m), Jaime Penedo ($6.1m) and Gyasi Zardes ($9.8m). It helps that Robbie Keane ($11.4m) is now playing and scoring like the superstar his pricetag purports him to be, but it's also no secret that Bruce Arena is a wizard at finding solid depth players and building them around his
three four superstars; heck, even the loss of Stefan Ishizaki is a non-factor since his replacement will be no less than Steven Gerrard. If the rumours of Giovanni Dos Santos arriving to fill the fourth (or three-and-a-half-th) DP slot are true, LA are instantly favourites to crush the Western Conference - or at least pick up points while other teams in Major League Soccer suffer through key personnel loss during the Gold Cup.
In other back-from-the-dead news, I called the FC Dallas victory over the Revs (yay me!), which means it's time to do some maintenance on the ol' Fabian Castillo ($10.5m) Hype Train before it leaves the station for good. Not only that, the likes of Mauro Diaz ($9.8m) and Victor Ulloa ($6.4m) are worth their weight in gold. Ulloa is especially a must-have bargain of a player. 61 points and starting minutes for a sub-$7.0m player?! Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes, please. Check out the Hoops' schedule, too: away to Orlando City SC, home against D.C. United, home against the Philadelphia Union and away to the Chicago Fire. I would be shocked if Dallas come back with less than nine points in that four-game stretch. Here comes the hype train, choo choo...
The other rising club to watch out for based on their recent performance is the Columbus Crew. Kei Kamara ($9.5m) is on a wicked scoring streak and his 7.0 form isn't unrealistic or unsustainable for a player of his calibre. Tack on his agreeable price point and you have a fantasy player that deserves not just a starting XI spot on your team but the captain's armband. Surrounding Kamara are other excellent pieces like Ethan Finlay ($8.9m) and Tony Tchani ($7.3m), who are still reasonably priced for their output. On the flipside, if you're expecting Federico Higuain ($10.6m) to start earning his worth immediately, you may want to be patient. "El Pipita" is by no means a bad player but his form isn't the best in relation to his price point. You're far better served to get on the Benny Feilhaber ($10.3m) and never get off, since good gravy is this guy playing amazing soccer right now.
Round 18 Top Score
I might be free-falling down the table in the Eighty Six Forever fantasy league thanks to insufficiently above average scores but that's definitely not the case with our top scorers. Barbara Red of Paisley SC continues to widen her lead, with a 93-point haul pushing her sixty points clear of her nearest competitor. There were some scores in the mid- and high-80s but nobody could match or beat Barbara, which gives her the double-whammy of Top Overall Score and Top Round Score. We have a juggernaut on our hands, ladies and gentlemen...
...and once Sebastian Gionvinco ($12.3m) licks his wounds and returns to dominating the Eastern Conference, Paisley SC is only going to get scarier.
Matchups To Watch
3. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Houston Dynamo
It's the Dom Kinnear Derby, or "Domby" as nobody calls it. Houston need to figure out what to do with themselves and fast (*cough* kidnap Cubo *cough*), which will be like blood in the water for the Quakes. Goodness knows they could use somebody to step up and fill in for the absent Chris Wondolowski ($11.3m) - much like New England kick-started Dallas, Houston could end up being the spark San Jose needs.
2. FC Dallas vs. New England Revolution
Don't look now but the Hoops have busted their six-game winless streak with a result over the Houston Dynamo and Fabian Castillo ($10.4m) has scored a goal. Now, can Dallas do it again against the Revs? You have to think of all the opposition to face off against, Houston and New England are pretty good choices to right a sinking ship. The Revs have lost four of five and have one win in their last ten(!). Yikes.
1. Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Sporting Kansas City
First game home after a long road trip? A challenging opponent (a.k.a. someone the 'Caps might actually show up for)? David Ousted ($5.7m) playing like a man possessed? And you're pitting that against Benny (Benny, Benny, can't you see...) Feilhaber & Co.? There will be points. Not shutout points, necessarily, but points. This could be a delicious cap to the fantasy week.