MLS is BACK!! Well, sort of. It has a new sponsor of course, COVID-19, and it is taking place in hell (i.e., epicenter of COVID-19). We have lost two teams already, but apparently we are continuing with this show. As a result, that means that Guess the Starting XI is also back. We have a few things to refresh. We only got through two matches in 2020, so I am not going to worry about the scores from those matches (at least not yet). Instead, we are going to treat this tournament as its own contest. Since it might only be three games, we are going to count all matches. For fun, we will have some bonus categories, but they will be tongue-in-cheek, so not worth any points. Let’s remind everyone how scoring is conducted.
How Scoring is Determined
- Predictions will be ‘valid’ if posted HERE half-an-hour prior to the lineup being officially announced, which means 1.5 hours before kickoff.
- You receive 1 point for every player you correctly guess to be in the Starting XI. Receive 1 bonus point for correctly predicting 10 starters. Receive 3 bonus points for correctly predicting 11 starters.
- You get 5 points for correctly guessing Win/Lose/Draw.
- You receive 1 point for correctly guessing each team’s final score. Receive 1 bonus point for correctly guessing both teams final score (for a total of 3).
- That means, if you correctly predict the Starting XI, Final Score, and Winner, you can earn 22 points!
- After each match, I will tally the scores and update the standings, which will be posted with the following match’s prediction article. I will typically post three sets of standings. First, the results from the previous match. Second, the monthly standings. Third, the first/second half standings (with your worst two match predictions removed).
- March Bonus Category: COVID-19
Match Preview (San Jose Earthquakes)
I am not going to go too in-depth here, as Andrew will be covering the Match Preview in a separate post. However, I will give a bit of personal insight. As some of you may know, I am based out of the Bay Area. It has NOT been good here. We are still in lockdown and while some attempts to open things back up have occurred, they have not been the most successful. More importantly, the county in which SJE are located (Santa Clara) has been hard hit and have not opened up facilities for sports teams. As a result, SJE has been unable to practice while here. Having said that, they have been in the bubble for a while now and seem to be fairing alright...at least health wise. SJE play a very up-tempo style that requires strong endurance, which may not be possible at this point in time. It could be a successful start to the tournament for Vancouver, but don’t count SJE out. Making things more difficult is that Vancouver are without a LOT of their scoring firepower. Lucas Cavallini, Fredy Montero, and Tosaint Ricketts are sitting this one out. This means that the primary forward options for Vancouver are Theo Bair and Yordy Reyna. Not the best situation, but it could certainly be worse (slightly). Here is who we do know is in the tournament for Vancouver.
Goalkeepers (3): Maxime Crepeau, Thomas Hasal, Bryan Meredith
Centre Backs (4): Derek Cornelius, Érik Godoy, Jasser Khmiri, Ranko Veselinović
Fullbacks (3): Ali Adnan, Cristián Gutiérrez, Jake Nerwinski
Central Midfielders (8): Michael Baldisimo, Janio Bikel, Simon Colyn, Inbeom Hwang, Patrick Metcalfe, Leonard Owusu, Damiano Pecile, Russell Teibert
Forwards (5): Theo Bair, Cristian Dájome, David Milinković, Ryan Raposo, Yordy Reyna
One final note, our bonus category. How about how many sponsorship dollars MLS receives from televising this match and risking the careers of athletes?