MLS Pre-Season Preview
Welcome to my Sorare MLS Pre-Season Preview! I am focusing on the Midfielders today with each position covered through the week. You can see the analysis of the Forwards here.
Be sure to click on each player name for my written analysis. And for those new to my ratings see bottom of page for detailed explanations.
Star Ratings Key:
If Gil stays fit he should be one of the best players in this League both in reality and for Sorare purposes.
He should be a reliable source of goals and assists and on the days he doesn’t get those he’ll rack up decent points for doing well.. everything.
A textbook fit for scoring systems like this. And, given he was injured last season for long periods this is probably not as obvious to many as it otherwise would be.
Not cheap at 0.700 to 0.800.
But for a player that can go toe to toe with the top premium MLS players who sit at much higher prices this is good value for those with higher budgets.
Loderio is the man and the only problem is everyone knows it which means value is going to be difficult to come by.
Really is a textbook fit for the scoring system and he will almost certainly be reliable unless something goes wildly wrong for the Sounders.
He’s not one of the players whose big scoring history is a fluke.
Is he expensive at 0.900? Yes. Is that poor value if someone is assembling a team on a larger budget and wants a reliable captain option? No.
The goal and assist potential is mediocre at best but where Atuesta excels is his extremely consistent contribution to the game.
He’s a points magnet, pretty much come rain or shine. With a goal or assist adding some icing to the cake every 3-4 games or so, most likely.
I normally like more goal involvement to get really explosive scores but Atuesta should be a reliable 60 points at least most weeks and that’s a real asset to a team.
He’s a little bit obvious though as a search for big average scores will turn him up easily. So he is premium for midfield around .650 to .700 and we can probably get better for less.
But if working on a higher budget this is a really strong player and LAFC have very kind opening fixtures too where a player like this can dominate.
About as close as you can get to buying SO5 points.
Even when out of form like towards the end of last season he brings decent scores because he pulls all the strings.
And in form he can deliver goals and assists pretty much every game.
But as the league MVP you are not exactly signing an unknown here and that is why you pay the big bucks.
0.900 is not totally outrageous for those assembling a premium team but he is a bit of a luxury player.
I covered 21 year old Barco just over two weeks ago in one of my opening articles and I note he now likely has a much bigger price tag, out of the bargin .200 range and into the mid-price .400 most likely.
A bright young thing that underperformed last season, he still had plenty of chances to score that he did not finish and created plenty too.
If he improves that aspect he could be excellent, with an all round game to give decent baseline scores as well as assist/goal potential.
He’s certainly started well scoring in in pre-season and also providing a goal and assist in this weeks CONCACAF Champions League.
Needs monitoring as he could be inconsistent but he has the potential to be a breakout star that shines on Sorare.
New to the League and not on Sorare yet. But a very exciting prospect who could be a textbook fit for the scoring system.
Goals. Assists. Big baseline involvement. He could be the real deal. Or, like many new players to leagues he could flop.
I’ll be very interested if we see him added though, ideally at around .300 or under would seem good value assuming his early season numbers look good.
Just 19 and in 2020 he had something of a breakout season, providing 5 goals and 5 assists in 14 games.
And that is no accident, the match data supports that level of output. He has strong overall involvement so even when he blanks he should still bring in a respectable points haul.
I guess the issue is his star turn last season makes all that a bit too obvious as he is talked about now as a hot young player. That puts him up to .550 which is quite expensive for what he is.
In terms of ability better can be had for cheaper. But if you also like the trend fit and see him becoming a star this is probably still just within value range.
Tricky one at this price point.
He finished strongly last season significantly over performing his average. So there is a reasonable chance of him backsliding to the norm.
In midfield I’d also be looking for a bigger overall contribution.
That said, the late season form was undeniable and if he continues that way he could be a rich source of goals and assists.
I note he assisted in the CONCACAF Champions League last Friday which is a sign he may pick up where he left off.
Tough early fixtures. (Check out my fixture ticker here and make sure you select “MLS” under Leagues).
At .300 to .400 I’d be enthusastic but at .500 or above I think better can be had for less.
Old but gold. 34 soon and he had an injury hit season last time out. But he is healthy again and in form he can go toe to toe with the best players the MLS has to offer.
And currently available for just 0.300 or maybe even a bit less.
Older players are risky but when assembling a competitive team on a budget sometimes some risks have to be taken. And early season is the best time to do that with veterans.
NYFC have kind opening fixtures, the best in the MLS according to my ticker, and they are a strong team.
Moralez is their main man and is capable of very big scores if he stays fit. A good captain option for those on a budget.
Quite similar to Moralez just above in that he is older at 34 yet he pulls all the strings for this team and could be a great captain choice for tight budgets.
His goal and assist potential is strong and even when he doesn’t score he makes a solid contribution, so he should continue to rack up decent base scores.
Can go toe to toe with the best in the League when in form and can be had for just over .300.
Opening fixtures are not bad, either.
Solid player but his impressive SO5 scoring history is probably something of an over performance.
Particularly towards the end of last season his threat and assist potential was limited.
But, he does bring a strong all round game that can deliver a reliable 50 – 70 points.
That’s great – but that level of ability can be had for far less than current listings of .800-900. Putting him in the premium bracket is too far. Are these sellers high?
.300 would be good value.
Finished last season strongly, with 3 goals and 4 assists in the last 10 games. Could have been more, based on the chances he had and created for others.
Add that to a solid overall contribution to the game and you have a recipe for a very good player for the Sorare system.
So far so good. The problems?
Inter Miami are a wildcard new look side who could do very well or very badly. Opening fixtures are mixed, though the first game versus Galaxy might be a decent opportunity.
The total lack of any preseason due to COVID puts me off Inter Miami a bit.
But at minimum Morgan is worth keeping an eye on.
At .450 or so it’s reasonable value too.
He started life slowly at Minnesota but then exploded late last season with an incredible haul of 2 goals and 8 assists in 6 games.
This explosive performance probably gives him a higher starting price when he does join the platform.
But I am expecting him to be a powerhouse for Sorare scoring and .500 would be cheap on current evidence.
One to look out for as he could be amongst the leagues best players.
If he can be had for .300 or under (there is one available there at time of writing) this is good value for a strong player.
Goals and assists should be frequent and with solid involvement he should bring a reasonable score even when he blanks.
Solid and little to complain about except age – and I tend to embrace veterans in early season when they have a long campaign ahead.
If he creeps up to .400 or .500 I might think better can be had elsewhere, though.
(Note this was moved from Forwards yesterday – he is listed as both Forward and Mid on Sorare which is confusing but the card says Mid. I am slightly less favourable to him as a Mid so he has lost half a star).
Really solid numbers from Quioto last term with 8 goals and 5 assists, and the data says this is no accident. He should be consistent, and he has scored in pre-season.
Just 29, and available for just under ~.300 most likely. This is a good budget choice.
I suspect he is so cheap because Montreal are a poor outfit. This is true but Montreal still score plenty and there are no points for winning the match in this game.
Opening fixtures are fairly tough but as I say above, that hasn’t stopped Quioto from scoring in the past. Looks a very smart budget pick.
Big things have been expected of 21 year old Fontana and this season is his big shot to make the CAM role his.
He managed 6 goals last time out whilst being heavily rotated, which is pretty good. He scored a brace in pre-season. But then was pretty ineffective in the last friendly this week, so mixed report card.
Philly have soft fixtures in the opening 5-6 games though (apart from the very first game, anyway).
He’s a candidate for a good young breakout player at a decent side which gives him significant upside as players who get attention generally become easier to sell.
This sort of potential breakout player can go either way but for .0315 or so it looks a good bet.
Should continue as the Quakes top creative outlet this season.
Managed 7 assists in 21 games last term, plus 2 goals. And that’s a fair reflection of his level and he should be consistent.
0.500 or so is the current price of cards but more recently he is selling for .300.
At the upper end I think that is too much and those sellers are being greedy. .300 would be value, though and maybe .350 is fair to buyer and seller.
Should be a very consistent choice – his SO5 scoring history is a fair reflection.
He’s a reliable 50-60 points per game with an assist thrown in perhaps every 3-4th match.
For .450 or so that is pretty good value.
I would say that personally, I would try to get a player who can do better than 60 more regularly for this money. And there is a lot of choice in the midfield category.
But nonetheless, this is a solid pick.
New to Colorado but an MLS veteran, he bagged 6 in his last 4 games of the 2020 season. And has been a reliable scorer/assister throughout his long MLS career.
A particular strength is his big all round contribution so if those goals/assists do not come he will not be a deadweight.
Players at new clubs are always a bit of a risk but on a budget we have to take some risks if we want competitive teams.
Molino could be a really strong addition for just under .250 and he seems very available so a cheaper bid may get accepted.
Royer should start for the Red Bulls.
Whilst his form was poor towards the end of last season, he also had purple patches of goals and assists last campaign too.
And in 2019 he was really consistent in his threat and chance creation.
If he can recapture that form, Royer could be a real bargain hunters dream as he has been selling for .0060 and even less recently.
Mr Consistency. A budget alternative to the premium Atuesta above, Gregus makes up for average but reasonable goal and assist potential with hard work.
A reliable 50-65 points a week with a goal or assist every 4-5 games or so to pump that up.
For 0.175 what is not to like?
A good all rounder.
Just 23 and should continue as a starter for New York. His 3 goals and 0 assists in 21 games last term is unspectacular but this is likely an underperformance.
It’s particularly surprising that the chances he was making were not converted even once.
And when he isn’t involved in goals his overall contribution is such that he can provide a solid contribution either way.
At under .200 he’s a good budget choice or a good backup to cover rotation or injuries.
Back for his second spell in the MLS, he was a solid source of goals and assists for DC United in 2018 and 2019.
Cinny will need to improve a lot but they have invested heavily so it is possible.
But at around .250 to .275 Acosta could turn out to be a solid budget team option or a cheap reserve for a more premium squad.
Seems very undervalued, probably due to a disappointing end to last season where goals and assists dried up.
Overall though his goals and assists record is strong and Minnesota are a top MLS side who have favourable early season fixtures (apart from the first game vs Seattle).
Could be available for aorund .275 and he looks a very solid pick for people looking to punch above the weight of their budgets.
Finlay seriously underperformed last season, getting regular chances but just seemed unable to find the net.
He has a history of goal scoring and usually in my long experience when a player gets this close to the goal this often it is a matter of time before their fortunes turn.
Intriguingly because of this underperformance he might be had for a rock bottom 0.060 which is so cheap for a decent potential player. Either for a real budget side or as a useful backup player.
We are after all talking about a likely starting winger for one of the top MLS teams. And all he has to do is improve his finishing.
I highlighted Chara a few weeks back as a solid budget player. He actually went on to score a hatrick last night in the CONCACAF Champions League!
I would say this is an over performance though and not to expect that every week!
But he is solid and gets regular chances. His 4 goals and 4 assists in 19 last time is about fair and his overall contribution is decent too.
For .200 or under it’s a solid budget choice or back up pick, even if there are better ones on the board at time of writing.
Abysmal 2020 campaign no doubt. Which is probably why he is available for a rock bottom .100 or less.
But his stats from the season before make for much better reading, offering goals, assists plus overall involvement for those decent base scores.
Even last season when he struggled he was getting and creating chances.
Reasonable to expect him to improve and for the money a decent budget choice.
Blanco is down in the bargain bucket at under .300. He’s also probably one of the best players in the League. Why?
He’s recovering from a torn ACL but is back in training and should return soon, even if he is introduced slowly at the season start.
He’s of interest because of the price and because when fit he belong with the MLS elite like Vela etc.
33 year olds with ACL injuries carry obvious risk. But when fit he is an undoubted scoring powerhouse.
Statistically speaking I pretty much have the same chance of scoring or assisting for Toronto as Bradley does. And I do not live on the same continent.
However there are few players in the League who see as much of the ball as him and he can very reliably drip 50-65 points onto our totals most weeks.
Given you can get that for around .100 this is superb value.
We’d need to bank on an improvement here but Flores should slot into the CAM role now where he could do just that.
In the Mexican Leauge in 2019 he showed some strong goal/assist numbers.
And he has decent all round involvement so he could deliver reasonable scores even if is goal/assist output doesn’t get much better.
Opening fixtures are rough but then in if we want players who could be competitive for this kind of .150 and under price tag we’ll have to take a leap or two.
Just 22 and getting his first US international caps.
He managed 2 goals and 6 assists in 18 games last term. Decent, but he is probably fortunate to get that many assists he was not incredibly consistent there.
But he is in the right sort of positions to get and create chances. We need a bit of belief that he can improve but he is well regarded and it is possible.
For the .275 mark this could be a good shout and certainly worth monitoring. Tough fixtures are a bit off putting although the first match versus Toronto is quite favourable.
Solid pick. 24 is a good age where we know plenty about them but they also have years to run.
Was actually poor towards the end of last season in terms of output and perhaps that is why he is cheap. But he was getting some decent chances and creating too, they just weren’t going in.
He has also shown periods of strong form and with Nashville in the top 5 of my fixture ticker for the first 6 games there is no reason he can’t rekindle that.
.175 looks something of a steal for a solid budget pick.
Slightly more expensive than team mate Leal just above, probably on account of having shown his ability more recently. Mukhtar can probably be had for .200 to .250 bid depending.
In reality, there is not a great deal between them and both are good options if you can’t get one or the other.
Nashville have kind fixtures to start and Mukhtar should be getting and creating chances most games.
Solid budget choice.
Solid player and better than most people seem to think given the price.
He had a dry spell at the end of 2020 but in general, he has very solid goal threat for a central midfielder and he has strong assist potential.
And if that doesn’t work out, he is a busy player who should pick up points regardless.
At 0.150 to .200 he is a very solid addition for a budget side or a good reserve player to have in our back pocket.
High risk, high reward. He’s just 18 with a very impressive resumé from his academy and Mexico U17 days. But that is yet to translate to the MLS.
He should get starts this term and he has a lot of improving to do to better his 1 goal and 2 assists from 14 games last time out.
It’s a gamble but his previous history at lower levels says he has plenty of goals and assists in the locker if he can improve. And young players can and do.
For .250 or so this might turn out to be a good punt. Or at least worth a spot on our watch lists to see if he is looking good in early games.
If Inter Miami improve this term, I’d fully expect Pizarro to defy the low expecations of his .200 price tag.
He wasn’t brilliant last season managing 4 goals and 4 assists in 18 games but that’s not too bad and he has the capacity to produce more if the new look Miami improve.
Coach Phil Neville is expecting Pizarro to be a key player.
High potential, here. And for not much money. I’d call this a good bet given the big upside and relatively small downside for the price.
But Inter Miami are a wildcard that could go either way.
A really solid player who has no business being at under 0.100 really.
He’s a deep player but gets forward plenty, scoring 6 goals in 17 games and that was no accident.
When he isn’t scoring, he puts up solid numbers for some respectable 40-50 totals.
Not spectacular but for the money he’s a great ultra budget pick or a good reserve for a squad. Kinda great.
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Star Ratings Key:
The strength of the player in the Sorare scoring system. This is based primarily on Adam’s detailed assessment of their real match data not SO5 scoring history which can be misleading.
Recent match data is weighted more heavily. And the fixture schedule for the next 6 games is taken into account.
A 3 star player is above average, and likely to be capable of contributing to a team trying to place high enough to win cards.
4 Stars is very strong and players are not given this rating lightly. 5 is exceptional, reserved only for the real elites.
2 Stars or less means they are weak but may still be viable for a less ambitious team trying to meet the Eth win threshold or similar.
An assessment of value based on the Ability of the player and market prices available at time of review as well as recent sell prices.
3 stars here would generally be an acceptable price to pay, with 4 or 5 stars good value or excellent value.
2 or less would generally indicate poor value.
My overall assessment based on ability and value plus all other soft factors like general desirability and trend fit beyond just raw tournament performance.
Please note that whilst the star ratings are provided for at a glance convenience I always recommend reading the text as well which provides valuable context!
And, as always, my guides are meant to narrow down targets for readers to look at rather than make their decisions for them!