Welcome to the first MLS match report of the season! I’ll cover the action specifically from a Sorare perspective. Because as we’ll see, what comes out of traditional match reports and SO5 scores can be wildly different to what matters in the Sorare game itself.
Players can score big in S05 but actually be very fortunate. Players can blank and appear to do poorly but actually show promising signs. And there can be a gulf between how a mainstream analyst might view the match and what really matters to us for tournament purposes.
In these gaps, there is a huge advantage and money to be made in terms of knowing which players look good but are overperforming and might be sold for a profit. And which players are cheap because they appear to be doing badly but are actually great value and on the verge of bigger scores.
Quick Note on this Site and the Content Schedule
For those who do not know me, for the past 3+ years my full time job has been analysing Fantasy games (chiefly the Football Index) to give hundreds of my subscribers a big advantage. And recently I’ve started bringing that to Sorare.
I’m going to be doing this differently though as this is a different product. So I’m told by my readers, someone has already tried to copy my style and old formula here. But copycats can often copy the wrong thing because since they are copying they don’t think about why things are done. I think Sorare needs something a bit different to what I used to do.
I’m going to be more free form on Sorare, covering whatever I think matters the most each week rather than getting too bogged down in a routine. Last week, and maybe for the weeks to come, it’s been about the MLS.
In 2-3 weeks, we might want to draw on my years of analysing the European Leagues big and small to think a bit more about next season in Europe.
(Assuming the big clubs do not burn European football to the ground! My instinct is this is all one big bluff to get more favourable terms in the existing Champions League!).
I am not, by the way, too keen on rushing to buy European yet as it is a long, long way until those seasons begin and so much will change. Sometimes in trying too hard to get ahead you can go too early and be left stagnating. Timing is crucial on these strategic choices. And people are generally not very patient especially when something new and shiny turns up to chase.
With smart picks it’s very possible to put together competitive sides for reasonable sums that are more relevant now. And with new rewards coming next month, there is a good case for trying to win them.
With my own team, I occupied the top 10/20 in Champion America D4 this weekend for a long time, slipping just out of the card places by an agonising few points in the very last MLS game. Heavy favourites New York City throwing to DC cost me!
But that’s Fantasy and it can all turn on one missed chance especially in a 5 a side format.
The important thing is that we are getting ourselves in contention consistently and if so the luck element will even out and we will be rewarded in the end. Plus, my team was assembled for a relatively modest 1.4 ETH and was stomping teams that were far more expensive.
Money does matter but we can close that gap and then some with skill and hard work. Speaking of which…
Let’s get to the games!
Seattle Sounders vs Minnesota United
Seattle Sounders got things going in style with a crushing 4-0 victory over Minnesota.
However this is a much more even game than that score line suggests. It’s a strong signal for the Sounders though they do have a rough fixture next.
No surprise that Ruidiaz was the star. But Bruin and Montero played their parts well. Bruin had limited threat but his assist potential was excellent, his feed for Ruidiaz was no accident. As I said in the preview he looks a great budget pick that may be about to get a bit less budget.
And crowd favourite Montero brought the house down with a lovely finish late on. He was a pick from my mid-price line up on Friday and he did not disappoint.
Even per-minute, Ruidiaz is clearly the pick of this bunch. With his 7 shots his threat was monstrous.
And his starting spot when fit is unquestionable. So he is probably still good value at around .700 for a premium side and justifies the additional expense.
The difficulty with Bruin/Montero is that it is a guessing game as to who starts. However, both should appear at least from the bench and I think both look value.
Montero in particular at .350 actually because even with just 20 minutes to Bruin’s 70 he saw just as much of the ball. If Montero becomes the starter he could actually match or even better Ruidiaz. If I had to guess Montero might get the nod because he’s just so good and so popular and he gets the crowd buzzing. But think of this as a striking unit of 3 and expect rotation.
I am less keen on Joao Paulo for the money. He scored a wondergoal but the problem with wondergoals is they are spectacular because they are unlikely to go in. These efforts are not happening week in week out. Not that he isn’t good, he is, and even without a goal he should be a reliable 50-60 points. But that kind of output and better can be had for far less than .600+ in midfield.
Cristian Roldan excellent. As a defender I would be all over this but he is midfield and a bit like Joao Paulo – you can get better for less than .600 in this competitive category.
Encouraging too from the defence although they actually gave up a lot of chances and are likely fortunate not to concede here. But then Minnesota are no mugs.
Nouhou Tolo impressed – just racking up points as a hard working busy body but he’s quite expensive. I prefer Arreaga for value who did very well and and even had a good chance to score. He was a late sub into my budget team from Friday.
Despite the scoreline possession was even and there were some encouraging performances from Minnesota. They are a good side who have 2 favourable fixtures to come so I wouldn’t give up on them at all – this scoreline makes it look worse than it was.
Reynoso, not yet available, confirmed what I said in my MLS preview series – he is seriously one to watch. Ran the show and was a major threat himself with 5 efforts, also teeing up 3 key passes that went unfinished.
Just one game but it was a tough game which suggests he could do even better versus weaker opponents. And this tallies with his performance from late last season. Very encouraging. I want him now.
Lod, also from the preview, was a real danger and unlucky not to score hitting the post. Confirms my view of him as a solid value pick. And an upgrade on Finlay who was my ultra value choice in my budget side from Friday who is not brilliant but potentially capable of better. Finlay did not offer much here though and if you can afford the extra .200 Lod is a clear upgrade.
Gregus from the preview was impressive, solid all round game and even had shots. Should be a reliable 50-60 points with a nice spike to 70-80+ every 5-6 games perhaps. Good for the money.
Metanire at full back I picked for my mid-priced line up on Friday. He got dunked on let’s be honest conceding 4. But actually, those Friday teams were teams for the season start, rather than just one game week. And there is encouragement in the data.
Metanire saw more of the ball than any player on the park from both sides and was bombing well forward. This is why I picked him and with two good fixtures to come, I might feel better about this choice than I do after game week 1. There are better picks and in the mid-price team I probably should have upgraded as I had spare cash but Metanire was at too tempting a price.
LAFC v Austin
Heartbreak for Diego Rossi owners who is a fantastic luxury player I captained in my premium picks on Friday. He withdrew late with injury (unknown return) and incredibly Vela was subbed off early by accident. So it goes to show that the whales can buy the luxury players but they at the mercy of Lady Luck just like the rest of us.
If I had him though I’d have been captaining Rossi all day and would have been in that DNP boat too, he’s class.
LAFC were heavy favourites and they won comfortably but Austin may not be the whipping boys many thought and put up a fight.
For LAFC, Sisniega holders might relax a bit as his good performance in goal provides no reason to drop him.
Atuesta did his thing and made a decent average at 60 points. Did have some long range cracks but these are low percentage efforts unlikely to go in. Did come close to an assist though. I’m unconvinced – he may even continue to breach 70+ but I think he’s a bit of a lazy choice where you are paying too much for reliability.
You can get better for this +.650 sort of money in midfield so the only reason I’d go for this is if I wasn’t caring too much about value.
I think I overlooked Baird in my preview due to his failure to find the net for a long time. That ended this weekend and to be fair through his dry spell last season he had regular chances. I don’t expect him to be amongst the best but as a value way to fill that often expensive Forward slot he could be decent for under .300.
At Austin, Alex Ring a new signing from NYFC was immense. Just did everything and racked up points and this could be a consistent thing. I left him out of my preview because he was moving to what on paper could be a very weak side and I thought he may struggle to get his old possession levels. Not on this evidence.
At .450 or so he could be a more sensible alternative to something like Atuesta above as a reliable week in week out source of points. If you are willing to bet on Austin performing well above expectations of course. And on paper their fixtures are rats. But that didn’t stop him here.
Solid debut from Pochettino, a player I’ve been tracking in the preview. Historically he has a great fit for the scoring system and even in a tough game like this he did well. Had a really good effort well saved and showed he can make a good contribution. Again you are still betting on a new team with awful fixtures but if he somehow sneaks under the radar when added and can be had for .250 or under he’d look really good as a potential breakout player.
DC United vs New York City
My own team was sitting in the top 10-15 in the Champions America table at this point needing NY to perform – specifically Tinnerholm and Moralez and it started so well with a Tinnerholm assist.
That’s why he is there as per the preview and my Friday squads builds. Just as well he hit that decisive score though as he wasn’t great otherwise losing lots of duels. This is possibly a result of D.C’s tactics where they just hoofed it forward constantly creating a lot of 50/50’s.
Overall Tinnerholm showed why he is quality and if NY had won as they were supposed to do according to algorithms and the betting he would have scored much higher.
But early season can be an unpredictable time and where would be the fun in football if it always went to script?
Ultimately D.C packed the box and just limited NYFC to ranged chances despite all their possesion. Moralez never had a sniff and so my charge into the top 10 was ended. This is Fantasy.
However NYFC are a good side and have good fixtures, Cincinnati up next might play a bit more nicely given they shipped so many chances this weekend. So I wouldn’t lose faith with these guys on just one game versus a stubborn opponent.
Castellanos did score and as per the preview I think he’s going to prove a reliable option particular for these nice fixtures to come. .600 or so is fairly pricey but not unreasonable. For that though I’d probably upgrade to a Ruidiaz or similar if at all possible it would be worth it most likely. .500 though would be a good deal.
Parks was solid, a budget Atuesta type who can deliver a solid average as per the preview. 61 here without a goal and he had a good late chance to equalise too.
Good value since he is also under 23 either for a lower budget side or as a very reliable back up in a premium outfit. .200 not unreasonable but .175 might be fairer given midfield has a lot of competing options.
And Sands might play out pretty similar to Parks and is a good youngster. Just a bit cheaper but then he hasn’t proven he has Parks’ occasional threat/assist potential yet. Might be a good youth investment option whilst delivering reliable 50-60’s in the mean time.
I don’t mind picks like Parks/Sands because if they improve they can rise in price as they are young and if you are stuck for a player one week due to injury etc pulling a reliable 50-60 points off your bench is no nightmare.
It’s hard to pick out much from DC due to their low possession/long ball tactics which tend not to come out well in these scoring systems. Or maybe I am just upset with them for ruining my fun. But I’ll keep an eye out and if they keep defying expectations they might be worth revisiting.
Chicago vs New England
Chicago started well defying expectations to take a 2-0 lead. But then they haven’t had the best defence and that showed, letting New England draw level.
For Chicago, Beric came out really well who was a mid-price option in my preview. He ain’t mid-price anymore. I called him a solid choice at .500 but people are trying to peddle him for .750+ now after a good start with a goal and assist.
His recent numbers this season and last plus pre-season are really good. Strong threat. That assist was no fluke either he made an astonishing 4 key passes. But is he deserving of being priced amongst the most expensive forwards with Chicago having a rough fixture schedule up next? I’m less convinced, I liked him as a mid-price at .500 but at this point I’d personally be trading him in if anyone really is buying for .700+.
Luka Stonajnovic would be of interest if added to Sorare as a reliable source of points even when blanking. But also for a deep-ish midfielder his threat is solid, and he scored here. He’s relatively new to Chicago but in his opening few games he’s had regular chances. And he was a regular scorer in the Serbian League historically. A good potential budget pick if he can be picked up cheaply on a sneaky auction bid.
At New England – Gil I am in love with as per my preview and he was included in my Premium squad on Friday too. He did not disappoint managing 82 with an assist. And he had 3 shots himself, quality chances. A textbook player for this system and if you picked him up at time of the preview he was .700 but creeping to .800 now.
His risk is in staying fit but if he does I’ve little doubt he will be amongst the top players in this League. Wouldn’t want to go too much higher than .800 though even on a premium budget.
Bou was ok and could have added an assist to his goal. But he scored off just the one chance, he wasn’t a major threat all game. Decent but I do feel that at .500 or so he’s just a bit too pricey for what he is.
Team mate Buksa for example was much more dangerous. He scored one like Bou but he had 5 shots in total and could have had a brace. He was .300 in the preview and I thought that good value. Seems to be creeping up now and I wouldn’t want to pay more than .450.
Interestingly Brandon Bye put in a shift at right back and had 2 efforts, one a good chance. I liked him in the preview for a very budget friendly .0045 in a solid defence with a bit of threat and assist potential. He’s still pretty cheap but a little over that now.
The threat to him was from highly rated youngster Tajon Buchanan who was rumoured to be doing a Alphonso Davies style right back conversion. But no, he was started as a winger and both of them played. So my preview suggestion of doubling up on them for trading purposes might pay off. Especially because Buchanan assisted and looked good in himself.
Both still at value at .050 and 0.250 but may not be for long if this formation persists and both keep starting.
Nashville vs Cincinnati
Nashville unexpectedly failed to beat Cinny who showed some evidence they may improve (and the only way is up for them!).
Keeper Willis shipped two goals and given he had the most clean sheets in the MLS last season he was in hot demand recently, trading for .800+. Today, after losing one clean sheet? .0650 and I suspect maybe less on a bid.
As I said in the preview this is pretty poor trading. Historic performance is no guarantee of future success. And whilst Willis is probably going to be amongst the best MLS keepers – others of similar level were cheaper like Frei.
I don’t like these lazy “I’ll just buy the win by getting the guy with the most clean sheets last year” selections. At all.
Because if they underperform you have overpaid. And if they perform as expected, you still overpaid and could probably have got the same output for less. A lose lose scenario with little upside other than possibly saving time and effort.
Ironically, if he can be picked up for .600 or so now he’d be well within value range so at this point that becomes a sensible pick.
The good news at Nashville though is Randall Leal, who produced a perfect 100 score and for .175 in the preview I called him a steal and gave him 4/5 stars. Another solid display here consistent with his recent performances which is why I picked him out. He won’t score 100 every week but he could be popping up with 70’s often.
You won’t be picking him up for .175 anymore and it shows how lucrative it can be to spot good players that week or few days earlier before it appears on the scoreboard. But you might get him for .225 and I still think that is good value.
Mukhtar was encouraging also, really heavy threat with 6 efforts and some good chances amongst those. Since he did not convert and only ended up with 37 his good display is much less obvious than Leal’s.
But if not holding already that is a blessing – he’s under .200 still and looks solid for that – not elite but in terms of bang for the buck for a budget side it’s good.
Lovitz was impressive at left back. I overlooked him in season preview for reasons I can’t quite recall, perhaps because of the higher price tag. .275 is expensive for a defender but not outrageous compared to other positions. With kind fixtures ahead, Lovitz offers a decent baseline average as a busy player plus strong goal/assist potential in the same league as Tinnerholm. A good option for the defender slot if you aren’t too cash concious.
At Cincinatti Acosta holders can be happy as he starts with a goal. Solid overall contribution too. If criticising he only had the one chance and we ideally want to see more threat, but then Nashville are a good defensive side.
Historically in Mexico Liga MX he has shown reasonable underlying stats although didn’t really get the goals or assists to match them. In theory he could be a good Sorare player but Cinny and he will have to improve. Unconvinced – in midfield we can buy much more reliable options at stronger sides for .300. New player hype playing out here?
Brenner, also on debut, scored from his single chance just like Acosta. Cinny really didn’t get many chances so either these two are super clinical or the team were a bit lucky to score two. Brenner did very little outside the goal – he could be good his scoring history in Brazil is superb. But he will have to live up to big hype at a ropey team so it’s tough. I’d only punt on him if cheap, not if he gets a wonderkid premium price tag.
And rounding out the narrative that Cinny might have lucked out here with this result is Tyton’s mighty 71 without clean sheet, not easy for keepers. 11 saves! Heroic. He was my keeper pick for the budget side on Friday. Clean sheet prospects look poor but if he can do even half to a third of this most games he might look value anyway given the scarcity of keepers.
Inter Miami vs LA Galaxy
An entertaining game but I was surprised to see Miami give up possession at home against a middling side. Does not bode well for baselines if this is how it’s going to be.
They were dangerous though. Higuain with 6 efforts though he needed a penalty to get on the score sheet. Added an assist too and that was no accident. He could be a consistent source of both.
Interesting price point at .600 or just over because he could well justify that but then if I am paying near premium, I might just stretch that little bit more to buy myself a player at a more reliable team than a maverick Miami outfit that could go either way. Very encouraging start though – if he had not performed here you’d have to be calling .600 very over priced and that has been avoided for holders.
Pizarro is very interesting. Will certainly be a key player and he looks a good source of goals and assists and potentially has a big all round game too. Managed 65 due to winning the penalty.
But a player like this needs possession to feed off and Inter Miami’s willingness to give that up concerns me. Still, Pizarro is very kindly priced at under .250. He has a high scoring ceiling so if I was on a tight-ish budget and wanted to take a calculated risk on someone who could potentially punch well above his weight? This would be the sort of thing I’d go for.
Lewis Morgan I had hopes for but this is disappointing. Mainly I think due to Miami’s limited share of the ball. Could be very good but I’d be wary at .300 if Miami don’t start playing more positively.
Good day out though for youngster Robinson who scored but also had other chances. Saw a lot of the ball in the penalty area with 7 touches, and that’s a stat I like. Tough one because a week ago you can have him for under .100 and you’d say yeah that’s a potential value youngster.
But after the breakout goal? Closer to .300 and I will generally not touch that on general principle. With this sort of thing, I tend to either see it coming early and have the courage to go for it if there is value there. And if I don’t, just put it down rather than chase it after the big performance.
For the Galaxy the big story was the redemption of Chicarito. He had an awful campaign last time but he is a quality player and he showed it here with two goals.
He’ll need those because he did very little other than score. So 60-70 is the realistic expectation, rather than 80+ unless he has a brace or more which shouldn’t come along too often.
Given he can be had for .350 which is cheap for the Forward slot, he’s strengthened his case here as a good value pick. That limited overall ability that limits his peak scores might stop me from going for him in a mid range and above side. But if going for “competitive on a tight budget” he’s a strong option. And we generally like players who can defy low expectations as they can rise in price too.
Really quite limited elsewhere as Miami actually restricted Galaxy to few chances despite managing 3 goals.
I will highlight Villafana at left back from the preview. Despite no threat or chances created here, he saw a lot of the ball, more than any other player on the park in fact. And historically he has been a very creative outlet. For around .150 I think he’s a good competitive option.
He’s a little shakier than a Tinnerholm or Lovitz above because the defence isn’t brilliant here plus he tends to lose possession which can be expensive and result in very poor scores in the 25 and under range. But he’s also very capable of big spikey scores which is quite appealling in this price range.
Whilst a player that might score 25 or 75 sounds scary – on a budget sometimes we need to gamble like that because a reliable 50 just isn’t going to get us high enough for cards.
Best of the Rest
Zelaryan at Columbus Crew was impressive, close to both goals and assists despite the 0-0. Teammate Zardes also went very close and holders shouldn’t be troubled too much by his blank.
For Philadelphia Jamiro Monteiro looked very good for the scoring system and would be of interest if added to the platform. Team mate Fontana who I included in my budget squad last Friday as a potential breakout player did not breakout and was largely anonymous! It isn’t game over this was a tough fixture but he needs to be bringing his good pre-season form into the next few games or doubt will set in.
My other choice of breakout youngster used in my mid-price team Barco did a bit better. As below this was a really tight game but at least Barco put in a shift and showed a good baseline resulting in a score of 51. If he can add his usual threat/assist potential to this I’d call it encouraging.
I made a bad pun out of Kinda at Kansas in the preview but he did prove to be better than kinda good. A solid 60 with a goal and he has more threat and assist potential than people give him credit for at around .100. Value.
José Rodriguez at Houston impressed – another to watch if added to the platform. Decent contribution and an astonishing 7 shots from central midfield, scoring 1.
Orlando and Atlanta was a tight game, both keepers Gallese and Guzan rarely looked in danger of conceding. Both sides have good pre-season clean sheet records too and might be shaping up well defensively.
Misery for holders of Clark the Portland Timbers keeper who was off injured, unclear how serious that is. Attinella deputised. The Timbers looked solid and gave away very few chances despite the defeat.
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