One of my favourite things to do is cover “Selection Headaches” from readers. This is a good way of discussing the different teams we might pick in different situations. 

There really is no “best team” for just one week. We can only really make the best decisions we can make in the position we are in! And we all have different card selections, different budgets and different levels of ambition.

I wouldn’t tear up a perfectly good team just to make it look a bit more like my ideal team from the weekend preview for example. 

Here I’ll discuss a couple of dilemmas sent to me by email and via the Sorare Discord where you can often find me hanging out in the #usmls chat at the moment. 

Rich Man's Problems

Lots of great players gives you a lot of choices.

It also gives you reasons to second guess yourself and drive yourself ever so slightly mad!

Nice headache to have, though.

This chap I met in the Discord wants to make top 65 in the Champions America Div 4 this weekend. And he has this to pick from:

GK – Willis or Crepeau

Defender: Camacho, Chanot, Mavinga, Bye

Midfielders: Lodeiro, Pozuelo, Fontana, Gregus, Osorio, Leal, Maxi Moralez

Forwards: Ruidiaz, Bou

We can start easy. I’d be going Willis over Crepeau every time here. Nashville did ship 2 to Cinny but that feels unfortunate, they didn’t give too many chances away. In fact they were amongst the meanest teams in the opening weekend when it came to giving opponents shots on goal. 

To be fair Vancouver did well to limit Portland’s chances too last weekend. But they play Toronto who are heavy favourites. Those odds might get upset because of Toronto’s big injury list possibly including star man Pozuelo. 

But overall Willis feels like the safer call here.

In defence, there is a strong case for playing Chanot from NYFC who have possibly the best fixture of the round versus Cinny. 

He’s a very reliable pick and his sheer number of interceptions, recoveries and general bloody mindedness keeps his scores in the 50-70 range. This is something quite unique to the Sorare system and something to bear in mind.

I do like defenders who can score and assist though for those big peak scores. And we have Brandon Bye who could be a breakout player who can defy his lowly scoring history. And I know this chap picked him up based on my preview yesterday, no pressure hey? He also has a great fixture with New England.

This is a toss up, and I’d be happy with either. I’ll come down on Chanot because he’s very reliable. That’s why he’s about 6x the price of Bye, but you have him already so make use of him!

Midfield has a literal embarrassment of options.

Your two big hitters Lodeiro and Pozuelo would be easy picks if they didn’t both have injury question marks. I’d even play Lodeiro versus LAFC who are tough but can also ship goals. If there was late news which said Pozuelo was starting I would definitely play him. But if unsure, no need to take the risk because we have so many good options.

Osorio may also be injured and whilst he is a good budget player he won’t peak often enough for my taste anyway, not for a big budget team like this.

There are so many good options here and this guy has really good player selection. 

It seems wrong to own Moralez and then not play him in what is, on paper, the kindest fixture you’ll ever see. In he goes. We have to have a little faith that last week’s unexpected defeat to D.C was a blip. But this wasn’t exactly poor from NYFC so much as D.C did a good job of neutralising them. And I am not sure Cinny will. Or can. I’d give him the armband, too.

I’d also go for Leal as he was so good last weekend, has lovely numbers anyway as per my pre-season preview, and Nashville have a decent fixture.

Gregus would also be a solid inclusion, but perhaps not as likely to get huge scores as Moralez or Leal. And Fontana is a wildcard who could really explode or flop. He did great in pre-season, but was anonymous in the opening game. I’d leave him on the bench for now but if he does well you may find he gets a price rise anyway.

And then Forward brings another headache. Ruidiaz or Bou.

Normally, this would be Ruidiaz without needing to think too hard. But he does have a rough fixture, even though LAFC are vulnerable.

Bou is not a heavyweight like Ruidiaz. But he does have, on paper, a very favourable match up against D.C. D.C did upset those low expectations last week and if New England can’t overcome their stifling long ball tactics they could suffer the same fate as NYFC. Betting and algorithm say a New England rout though.

Another genuine 50/50 toss up. I can see why this is giving him a headache. I would be happy to play either.

When our heads can’t separate them I think it’s time to trust our gut. Mine says Ruidiaz

GK: Willis

DEF: Chanot

MID: Moralez(C), Leal

FWD: Ruidiaz

Bad Week Blues

Fantasy is a rough game where you can make the best possible decisions and still get an abysmal score. Especially in a 5-a-side format where just one player means so much.

Over 10-20 game weeks you’ll start to see the better managers distinguish themselves for sure. But in a single game week, there is a huge slice of luck involved. It’s a bit like poker – anyone can win a single hand through pure luck but get someone to play 1,000+ hands and then you’ll see how good they are.

But when things don’t go well for us in our first game week of the season we often want to take action and do something. But sometimes doing nothing can be the best thing.

This one came via email from one of my long time readers who moved to Sorare a couple of months ago and he had a really frustrating weekend in MLS gameweek 1. He had lots of possible changes in mind to stop this rot! 

But do we need to make massive changes, or can we just stay patient? He has:

GK: Melia (and backup Pulskamp)

Def: Zimmerman and Adnan

Mid: Gil, Gregus, Lewis Morgan

Fwd: Pulido and Nani

In goal, it’s a good job he has the backup because Melia is out. I like this strategy of doubling up on the keepers if the back up keeper can be had cheaply – but you have to do it whilst the starting keeper is healthy! 

Pulskamp is fine to play, the opponent Orlando are a decent side but failed to score in the opener. And we can’t just go chopping and changing keepers every week they are too expensive.

Zimmerman in defence is reliable and Adnan is out. So choice made. Zimmerman I think is a bit expensive for what he is, you often have to pay that premium for players who show up well on historic average charts. So longer term, I’d probably cash him and get something else using the rest to reinvest elsewhere. But for this weekend he has a nice fixture so I’d play him.

In midfield Gil is an easy call and I’d captain him too, he is class as discussed in my last article, and he has a good fixture (at least on paper!).

Next up would be Pulido who was a source of frustration last week because he did not start. Yet, longer term, this should be a temporary thing. He is down to start on line up predictors like Rotowire, and this makes sense because Pulido is expected to be a star player for them. 

He’s a good player and Kansas are favourites, even though Orlando looked solid last week. Looking beyond this game week too, Kansas have some nice fixtures in the next 5-6 so I wouldn’t ditch Pulido just because of one frustrating game last week.

I’ll rule out Lewis Morgan for now. I liked him in my pre-season preview and he definitely has promise. But his opening game was dire and that might be Miami’s fault in general rather than his. They were too happy to give up the ball for my taste. Something to keep an eye on. One game doesn’t damn a player but if this is a pattern it won’t be a nice one for his owners.

I like Nani as a value forward but given we are using the opposing goalkeeper Pulskamp I would not play him here. To win a card right now we basically need to play a perfect game so having Nani score will be bittersweet. We’ll get the goal but also lose our clean sheet and that is probably not good enough in this hyper-competitive game right now.

And that leaves Gregus who I included in my own budget team in the previous article. Very solid, very reliable. And Minnesota have a favourable fixture. But, he is probably the weak link in the line up for a team of this quality on a higher budget. 

So whilst I would be happy to play him, if there was a chance for some pre-deadline wheeling and dealing I might try to bring in someone like Leal, Maxi Moralez, or Buksa. Or even Lod from Minnesota actually as I would call 3 out of the next 4 fixtures favourable. And whilst he isn’t a huge upgrade on team mate Gregus the additional 10-20 points he can get with a goal/assist can be the difference between winning a card or not.

GK: Pulskamp

DEF: Zimmerman

MID: Gil(C), Gregus (or upgrade)

FWD: Pulido

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