Benny, Benny, Benny. Why do you hate me, Benny Feilhaber ($10.6m)? Your team goes cold at the worst time of the season, you get yourself a yellow card against the Houston Dynamo in a losing cause, suspending yourself for the second match of the DGW against Seattle... and, of course, I have you captained. Sigh. That said, would Feilhaber have played at all considering Peter Vermes sent a Real Salt Lake-sized contingent of reserves to play the Seattle Sounders in preparation for Sporting Kansas City taking on the Philadelphia Union in the U.S. Open Cup final? Debatable. Maybe I should've ignored that tempting DGW captaincy and just left the armband on Sebastian Giovinco ($13.5m). I'll certainly be doing so this week, as Toronto FC get the afore-mentioned Union in a home match post-USOC. Hm, I wonder how that's going to go for the men in red...?
Getting back to the SKC-Sounders match, let's not gloss over the fact the reserve-heavy Sporks earned a road draw against the Sounders. That's not nothing and certainly not a mark in favour of the "Sounders are back" narrative that's been gaining steam recently. Does that mean Seattle are in trouble when the LA Galaxy - the notoriously road-averse LA Galaxy - come to town? Not necessarily. Yes, a trip to Seattle is easier in theory than a trip to, say, Real Salt Lake (such fun) for the frustratingly home-dependent Galaxy. Yes, both Robbie Keane ($12.1m) and Giovani Dos Santos ($10.5m) got a goal and an assist against FC Dallas. The problem is that all of Seattle's new big acquisitions (minus the injured Roman Torres ($8.1m)) are coming together and looking deadly in the process. This isn't just #TeamObaDeuce with a few hangers-on for the ride; now Obafemi Martins ($12.2m) and Clint Dempsey ($12.1m) have legitimate support. That's a problem for other teams - just ask our beloved Vancouver Whitecaps.
(Fun fact - did you know Stefan Frei ($5.9m) and Tyrone Mears ($7.1m) are the highest-scoring Seattle players with 150 and 125 points, respectively?)
EDIT (12:20pm) - Well, this changes things.
Sounders calling practice early. Marshall has been loaded into the ambulance with arms folded across his chest— Matt Pentz (@mattpentz) September 30, 2015
Looking ahead to Round 31, it's surprisingly calm on the fantasy manager waters. No byes, no DGW weirdness (except for USOC, but we don't get fantasy points for that so thbbbt) and the matches look pretty straight forward on paper. ...HA! That's a lie. Good luck picking between the New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew, FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo, the aforementioned Sounders-Galaxy tilt or even Orlando City SC vs. the Montreal Impact. At this time of the year, everything is up in the air and up for grabs, which throws conventional thinking out the window. The only guaranteed thing is that your transfers this round really don't matter a whole heck of a lot since we get UNLIMITED TRANSFERS(ERS ers ers) next round to cover the FIFA break, which we'll all use to stock the larder with cheap-as-nails Montreal players. Want to gamble on D.C. United showing up New York City FC? Have at it. Convinced the 'Caps will deal a potentially fatal blow to the San Jose Earthquakes' post-season hopes? Hello, Cristian Techera ($7.6m).
Amidst all that joyful chaos, the only team that really gives me pause is the New England Revolution. The Revs drew Philly 1-1 this past weekend, mirroring the result Seattle had against SKC. While we can perhaps give Peter Vermes and his reserve depth a bit of credit for that one, I'm at a loss to explain how Philly escaped Foxborough with a point. This may be the beginning of the swan dive for New England, which isn't unexpected. Go look at the MLS Results Map: that's a whooooole lot of similar results clumped together, signifying the streaky nature of Jay Heaps' side. If history has taught us anything, this is the beginning of the streak going in the opposite direction. Time to abandon ship one player at a time; I'll be starting with Charlie Davies ($8.7m) who has paid off sweet bupkis for the last eight rounds. Time to ditch him and grab a more cost-effective forward - oh, hi there, Cyle Larin ($5.9m)...
Round 30 Top Score
Something something Barbara Red of Paisley SC something 145-point lead in the Eighty Six Forever fantasy league something. Yadda yadda clear winner blah blah blah also clear round winner Brian Morell of Powers Rangers yawn 114:
Mutter mutter Didier Drogba ($10.6m) harumph.
Matchups To Watch
3. Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution
The Fire are playing for pride at this point, so it's not like they're going to be racing at 110km/h out of the gate to try and salvage a post-season. However, they do have an amped up Gilberto ($9.1m) and an interim head coach hoping to make the gig permanent. Moreover, if this truly is the beginning of a negative streak for the Revs, this will be the final test. A loss here and the Revs are in all sorts of trouble.
2. Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union
What are the odds Philly puts all their eggs in the USOC basket and leaves nothing left to even offer token opposition against TFC? Pretty darn good, I'd say. More Giovinco points incoming!
1. Orlando City SC vs. Montreal Impact
Putting the buckets of drool being spilled over Drogba vs. Kaka () aside, this should still be an entertaining match. Neither team is super-solid on defense (whither Laurent Ciman ($6.9m) from the spring?) and both teams have at least one deadly scoring option available. Plus, it's the Eastern Conference, so, y'know, weaker opposition and all that. Still, it typically means for fantasy points for us, so, yippee!