Welcome to the Sorare focused MLS highlights from game week #162. 

A day later than usual as I took a (rare) mini-holiday over the bank holiday weekend!

We’re on week 3 now in the MLS and by now we are starting to get a decent amount of new season data to help us. And we’re already seeing many of the quality players I identified in the pre-season preview coming through strongly. 

Whilst in Fantasy anything can happen in one game, over a spell of 3-6 games the quality players will prove it most of the time. And for those who haven’t – we need to know whether there is a reason for that or whether they have just been unfortunate. 

CF Montreal vs Columbus

Montreal battered a jaded looking Columbus who underperformed expectations – possibly tired from their midweek CONCACAF CL game. Yet the Columbus defence somehow held on.

Perhaps we should watch out for these midweek fixtures and make them a bigger factor when picking our teams. This is a theme of the weekend – Philadelphia suffered a similar hangover in losing to NYFC, Portland were poor and Atlanta lost too – nothing good happened for any teams who played midweek. 

All these teams play again midweek in the second leg. 

At Columbus Crew I had backed Zelarayan for my Friday team build after an outstanding midweek performance, but like the rest of Columbus Crew he offered absolutely nothing. And Zardes and Valenzuela were rested, so we have to remember that Rotowire for all their excellent efforts are not mindreaders and keep checking team news up to the deadline. Even then, things change, but we should be especially wary of rotation when teams play midweek.

Room did put up a creditable score but he is so fortunate to come out of this with a clean sheet. 

Overall though all of these Columbus players have quality and I’d consider this a blip rather than a crisis.

Montreal are looking better than expected, particularly in attack. I highlighted this last week too. 

Quioto who I liked in the pre-season preview is looking strong, and he is unlucky not to get something of this game as he has in both of the previous two. 

This could be good news for youngster Mason Toye as well, missing here with what appears to be a minor injury. He looked dangerous in both openers though. Value for $492 for a 22 year old in an improving team, particularly if people are selling low because he missed a game. 

Mihailovic is decent although last week I said he was too expensive, possibly because of his youth/hype factor. He is dropping a bit after blanking here but it was a decent overall performance. Still a touch too high but if he dropped a bit more to $800 or so it could be interesting for a premium/collector level manager.

Last week I said Braut-Guillard‘s opening two games were probably an over performance. He blanked here and I think I am right on that one. But now the heat is off, especially if he goes another game without return, he looks quite threatening and is displaying good numbers. I’m coming around to him for $340 or so, ideally a bit less.

Montreal may be shaky at the back but CB Camacho is a busy guy and racks up baseline points. A decent alternative to someone a bit too obvious like Zimmerman for a much kinder price. His impressive SO5 history consistently in the 50-75 range is no accident. Respectable goal threat for a CB too for occasional spikes. Value for $230 and he has started all 3 games this season.


Real Salt Lake vs Sporting KC

RSL are looking better than expected, dominating the ball here vs Sporting KC who are looking increasingly shaky at the back.

I mentioned Rubio Rubin (a.k.a Mendez) last week as a quality player and he is at it again, a brace this time. Not on the platform yet which is frustrating – we could have identified him as a strong potential player based on good historic numbers and gone for him earlier. Now that he has started the season so well, it might be difficult to get him for value.

An alternative who is on the platform is Kreilach who scored and assisted here for a big 92. That’s probably an over performance and a goal every 3rd or 4th game and an assist every 10 might be more reasonable. But without a goal 40-50 isn’t unreasonable so for $240 it isn’t bad for a budget pick, and there are so many on the market that can probably be bidded down.

The good news for Kansas is a start for Pulido after early season fitness issues and he got on the scoresheet, deservedly so, he was the big threat. It can be frustrating when good players don’t perform but last week I highlighted how picking up players like this can be a great idea. People are so, so short term minded and get frustrated easily. Yet in just 2-3 games as he built up fitness from the bench he has not become a bad player. 

So we can exploit this, and also bear in mind that we shouldn’t be that guy who gets frustrated because we didn’t win last week and sells good players too cheaply. If however the underlying numbers suggest our good player has really gone bad, we might want to sell. But there was never any real reason to worry about Pulido. 

Shelton may offer a budget option at under $400 which is one way of filling that often expensive Forward slot. 2 assists in 3 now which is probably over performing but not ridiculously so, he has consistently created chances. Absolutely no goal threat, which is odd for a striker and should improve based on his history. Far from my first pick but for the money it’s pretty good for a budget side or as a cheap back up player.

New York RB vs Chicago

Good win for RBNY who provide a potential breakout star in 17 year old Caden Clark. Not yet on the platform, but he’s been excellent this season netting twice, which is a fair result given his good threat. One to look out for at auction.

Casseras (Jr) was impressive too, scoring for the second game in a row and it is no accident. He is consistently getting good chances in the right areas. Could also provide assists and make a decent overall contribution. Value at $365 or so.

Fabio provided 2 assists and could have scored himself. Much better than his previous efforts this season – if he is added to the platform and continues to settle into the team (it’s his first season here) he could look good. 

Substitute Royer could make a great value or reserve option. He had great chances here and should have scored, and his numbers last season were solid. May start some games and for his $93 it’s pretty good.

For Chicago the usually strong attack was perhaps surprisingly blunted and limited to very few chances, just 0.5 xG. 

Beric who I picked for my Friday premium team suffered for that. He still had two reasonable chances. There is a value opportunity here because Beric is really solid and went into the season with a premium price. Yet after performing in the opener he has had two disappointing games, he was particularly unlucky last week to hit the post twice. 

There is every reason to believe he will return to scoring ways so if anyone is frustrated and happy to part with him cheaply I’d say that favours the buyer not the seller. At least until the new rewards system is introduced, this sort of trading is likely the best way of making a profit on this platform. 

New England vs Atlanta United

I’ve been a fan of New England, particularly Gil and Brandon Bye, both of whom delivered here. 

Gil I backed in my season start team build and overall he has not disappointed. He did have a blip the week before last in one of my Friday team builds. But it really does show that quality will shine through eventually. In one gameweek things can seem a lottery but give it 3-6 games and overall the quality will rise to the top and the lucky over-performers will start to sink. 

As per my pre-season preview I think Gil is one of the stand out MLS options for a premium squad and early season has only strengthened that view. Class. And for $1,650 I’d still be happy pay that if assembling a higher budget team. 

Far fewer will have known about Brandon Bye who was an ultra budget choice that I’ve been highlighting. He scored here, and is deeply unfortunate to also concede a penalty which takes him back to square one. 

But he isn’t a bad lad and doesn’t give away a lot of fouls – this is just one of those things you can’t really control. The headline is that his decent threat and assist potential is coming through. And for an ultra budget choice at under $100 it’s solid, possibly that penalty giveaway wrecking his score has kept him below the radar even longer.

And there is a value forward alert in Adam Buksa – a second consecutive blank but he is hugely unfortunate not to be on the scoresheet here. 

He was really dangerous so a bit like Beric, if people are frustrated and it looks like they are with so many on the market now at $680 or so, I’d be happy to take him off someone’s hands for a mid-budget team. Particularly if they’ll accept a lower bid and impatient people often do.

Bou missing through minor injury – again, if people will take a cheap bid because of that, $600 or under he’d look a solid addition to a mid-price side. 

For Atlanta Damian Moreno would be of strong interest if he was on Sorare. He got the goal here from the spot but he’s looked a danger in all recent games, without scoring. So he may be had cheaply and looks like he could be a consistent source of goals and occasional assists too. 

Barco looked good in his time but has hobbled off with what appears to be a minor injury. 

Atlanta need some better finishing and their main man Josef Martinez was absent from the starting line up again – showing how hard it is to predict the line ups of those involved in the CONCACAF midweek.

Orlando vs Cincinnati

As expected Orlando dominated hapless Cincinnati. When it comes to stacking teams for the weekend “pick whoever is against Cinny” looks the obvious call and for good reason – they look extremely leaky and it is not misfortune.

Nani captain of my mid-price Friday team came through well with a goal and 78 overall score. In that preview I also said I wanted to back Mueller who has looked good and he assisted Nani here. In last week’s match report I said: 

“Orlando face hapless Cincinatti next weekend. Chris Mueller and Nani look most capable of doing some damage.” 

Indeed they did. However I chickened out of putting Mueller in my team build on Friday and put in Lod instead because Rotowire didn’t have him down to start and I couldn’t find any good alternative sources saying any different. It’s so hard to take risks in this game due to the lack of substitutes. (In the end, Lod pulled out with injury, what’s a man to do!?)

Going forward though both Nani and Mueller look strong options and Nani in particular is noteworthy as like I said in the early season preview – people can be put off by age in these games but that fear quickly melts away when the big scores roll in. I am not afraid to back a veteran in early season with a long campaign ahead.

Urso could be a decent budget alternative to Mueller in midfield, he’s been getting regular threat. Pato was out injured but he looked good vs Atlanta and with the chances this team are creating it’s hard to see him not doing well with his quality. Look out for him at auction. 

Gallese was my mid-price keeper from Friday team builds and he got the expected clean sheet. Orlando looking very solid defensively in general. 

CB Antonio Carlos could be a good route into that Orlando defence – he’s a budget Zimmerman type who should generally have a high baseline for consistent 55-75 scores. $500 for that would be decent value.

The less said about Cinny the better. Tyton did not make up for the thrashing with saves this time, and he can’t do that every week. 

The only good thing you might say is that with people now avoiding Cinny like the plague, a bid of $750 or so for Tyton is a value way to fill that awkward keeper slot. And whilst you may be sacrificing 20-40 points most weeks, that money might well be better used elsewhere in a budget side. In terms of a points per $ approach this would check out. 

Best of the Rest

NYFC dominated Philadelphia perhaps unexpectedly. Philly another side who looked tired after midweek exploits which is a theme of the week. I’ve been bullish on NYFC assets and Tinnerholm delivered another assist and looks due a goal too with the chances he is getting in the last two matches. 

Also at NYFC Castellanos added another goal and could have had a brace or even a hatrick with an incredible 9 efforts. Maxi Moralez comes out well yet again, managing 63 on baseline and he is unfortunate to not score or assist here. There is a reason I backed him strongly in the pre-season preview and my season start line ups. And Medina’s 3rd goal in 2 games is starting to look more like quality than good fortune. The only problem has been that you do pay for it and that hasn’t changed. 

Austin are in line for the “better than expected” award. As a new team they weren’t expected to dominate games like they have been, even against tough sides away like Minnesota. This is doing great things for Alex Ring who looks a very consistent source of points. I was worried a move to a smaller team might kill him off, not so. Fegundez scored again, and if he can become a guaranteed starter he is looking very appealing. And if youngster Jared Stroud is added he’s looked very good, adding an assist here but unlucky not to score.

Portland looked really poor – another side with a midweek CONCACAF fixture who underperformed. Yet Valeri is quality and did well anyway, getting the assist, he’s value. Mora blanked but scored midweek and overall looks great. Chara the budget option if you fear Valeri’s age though he was poor in this game. Could be a good time to pounce on some Portland players who should be better than this – though maybe wait until the next game vs the Sounders is out of the way – if Cinny are a team to target the Sounders look a team to avoid. 

Another assist for Hollingshead at Dallas – a premium defender from my pre-season preview. That’s no accident. Solid pick and there are some good value cards on sale right now, $300 or so is great. CB team mate Bressan was perhaps fortunate to have a goal fall to him but overall he’s a solid performer for a reliable 50-75. Pretty good for $460 although that is dear and maybe this is a bit too obvious because of the high average scores and somewhat fortunate recent spikes.

D.C United finally got a battering, something I’m not unhappy about as their previously stubborn defence has caused upsets! However the Quakes were lucky to come out of this with 4 goals, they didn’t have that many good chances. D.C can still block good teams from scoring, but they look weak in attack. I’d be happy to put defenders in against them. 

SJ Earthquakes standout performer is youngster Cade Cowell. 5 attacking returns in 2 games and it is not undeserved. Could be one of the real deal youngsters who actually come good, though you do pay for it. And especially after a performance like this people will be gouging – really poor trading to go chasing this now in my view. This is when you’d be selling if you can get a high price.

Better defensively from Nashville who got their first clean sheet – deservedly. As I said they have been unlucky to concede so many, and this is why I put Willis in my budget side last week. People were down on him and frustrated – but needlessly so. This opened up value. They still look one of the best defences in the league. 

Nashville were limited in attack by Miami who are suprisingly defensive and play on the counter which is bad for the baselines of their players. I say surprisingly only really because with the way Beckham talks I thought he wanted more glamour in their style. But maybe results are being prioritised for now. Miami’s McCarthy might be better than people initially thought as a budget (relatively) keeper. He looks a better option than Tyton for sure assuming he can fight off any competition – and clean sheets don’t hurt.

Ruidiaz from the Sounders captained my premium side from Friday and didn’t let me down with a brace. Pure class. Speaking of which we also saw Lodeiro come on who looks dangerous already. Don’t be surprised if he shows why he is one of the MLS’s top players soon. Bruin from my budget team was good to watch but has what I call “Modric syndrome” – he’s assisting the assister which helps the team but not us. He is lacking goal threat but assists are fairly likely. We should see Montero soon but Bruin is contributing to the team and it would surprise me if he was dropped. 

The Sounders are looking strong defensively as well as in attack. Left back Brad Smith looks incredible this season but he is not on the platform yet. 

Worrying for
Vancouver Whitecaps – they are looking weak in attack and probably fortunate to only concede 3 this season. Even Cavallini has looked toothless, netting once so far but he has had very few chances. 

Diego Rubio at Colorado I highlighted last week as an impressive player who was not yet getting his rewards – he did this time versus Vancouver. In fact he could have had more than 1 goal. Looks a great value way to fill that Forward slot in a midprice team or even budget at a stretch. 


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