Welcome to the Gameweek #166 preview! 

This week I had a few people ask “Hey, why was there no preview for the midweek MLS fixtures!?”. Basically I am busy getting the Sorare site up and running and all the things that make a membership site tick in the background. 

So at the moment I am doing a limited schedule of a couple of free updates per week. Which those who have subscribed for years will know is pretty light by my standards!

I will however be including data from the midweek games when I think about this weekend. And also in the match reports on Monday. 

In advance of next season, I am expecting to run a full service for subscribers, with some more limited or time delayed content remaining free for all. 

Let’s get to the gameweek. 

Note that projected line ups are mainly sourced from the excellent Rotowire who are often right but they aren’t mind readers and things do change last minute. I also do my own local news search but do pay attention to the lineups before locking in your teams. 

Week #166 Preview

Despite the midweek fixtures we still have a full schedule in this round except for Chicago Fire who are the team to skip a fixture (There is always one in the MLS).

However half of the sides played midweek so we will want to be especially aware of the possibility of rotation with these:

Toronto, Columbus, Philadelphia, New England, Inter Miami, Montreal, Houston, Kansas, Minnesota, Vancouver, San Jose, Seattle, D.C. 

This could be a good week for New York FC who are rested and face Toronto who have been shipping goals this season. Apart from in midweek where they shutout Columbus. But Columbus have been weak in attack this season. 

You can umm and ahh a bit because Toronto have not conceded as many good chances as the 8 goals against them suggest. But overall, NYFC look good and I’d be backing NYFC players this gameweek. Injuries bring question marks though, Tinnerholm and Moralez my usual favourites are both doubts. 

A more straightforward favourite to target would be Kansas as they face Vancouver at home.

Vancouver have looked solid on the surface but I’ve been highlighting how fortunate this seemed in the underlying numbers. In midweek they conceded just 1 but gave away a lot of chances again, and they now sit the worst in the MLS in terms of Expected Goals Against despite only conceding 4. It’s not right I tell thee.

I’d want to be putting form Kansas options in vs Vancouver (Pulido?) in both attack and defence.

Betting odds and algorithm like Atlanta’s chances vs Montreal. Montreal have been conceding a lot until midweek versus Miami but have been decent in attack, I particularly like Quioto as readers will know and he assisted again midweek. But Atlanta are rested and a decent defensive unit. 

Tricky, I do not think it is as straight forward as betting/algorithm make out certainly when it comes to predicting the goals. I’d probably be happy to play form players from either side here, but probably not goalkeepers.

Philadelphia look good on paper vs NYRB but then the Bulls have done a good job of keeping their last two opponents quiet. Again I think you’d play form players for Philly but we have to be aware that NYRB have been stubborn in some games, so if I had good alternatives I might not go too heavy on Philly.

Seattle are looking so strong you’d put them in versus almost anyone. LAFC are tough though and you know what, despite a reputation for being weak in defence that is not what the evidence so far suggests. They look solid this season. It’s a brave (foolish?) manager who leaves out someone like Ruidiaz in such hot form – but I wouldn’t rush to stack Seattle this week either. 

Whipping boys Cincinnati are back so you’d be putting in Miami players against them all day long. Higuain the man although Morgan was a big improver from Monday’s match report. He was average again midweek, though. Interestingly Miami’s possession was decent vs Montreal, which if it continues would bring Pizarro into it more.

The Orlando defence looks a good source of clean sheets versus an impotent looking D.C. The D.C defence can be annoyingly stubborn, though. I said last weekend’s 3 goals conceded to Columbus was unfortunate and D.C went on to get a shutout midweek vs Chicago. I remain wary of them. 

I am a Nashville enthusiast as I have been since the pre-season preview. They look strong in attack, defence and for just general all round contributions. I might put in form players but I’d be a little scared of Real Salt Lake who look solid and have upset some favourites this season. 

You might go after Columbus who look surprisingly poor and may be fatigued due to a heavy schedule. New England are potent in attack so I’d back them to score. I’d put in the New England defence too, actually. Which is middle ranking but Columbus are rarely looking like scoring.

The San Jose Earthquakes are tempting as they create a lot of chances and are up against an injury ravaged Portland. This could be a free scoring game as the Quakes are poor defensively too.

I will also want to get Colorado assets involved vs Houston Dynamo who tend to give up possession. This can give Colorado baseliners a good chance (Jack Price, one of my favourites) and they have some high threat players I’ve been highlighting like Diego Rubio.


Player Selection

I am going to try out a new format which might end up being more helpful to more people – a quickfire round up of the most promising players in each position with me highlighting a specific budget, mid-price and premium option. 

This will allow me to highlight more good players who look good for the gameweek, whilst still keeping an element of me picking specific players and nailing my colours to the mast so to speak.

As fun as creating a team is what people are actually reading for is to help them pick their own teams, and this might do that job better. Please let me know which format you prefer as if this doesn’t work out I can return to the team build concept!


Premiums – Pricey, but worth it. 

Castellanos at NYFC makes top billing due to form and a favourable fixture, even if I have a bit more respect for Toronto than the betting odds. Despite 3 goals and an assist in 4 games, the scary thing is that is possibly an underperformance. 

Ruidiaz – hard to overlook due to his red hot form but does have a tough fixture. I’d put him in anyway if I had him. His team mate Montero is quickly becoming a budget friendly alternative. 

Cade Cowell. Good 17 year olds are never going to be cheap. At least this one has genuine quality to support the hype and a favourable fixture.

Mid-Price Range – Balanced quality/value

Higuain scores lots of goals. He plays Cinncinnati who concede a lot of goals. Top analysis. You are welcome. I expect good things this gameweek but overall I am not sure the value is really there as I don’t expect big peak scores, more 60’s. He might be a bit hyped up by now. 

Pulido at Kansas is looking a threat and is up against Vancouver who I seem to be bullying in recent reviews. Good value here for a mid-price team. 

Buksa at New England has disappointed recently but not for lack of trying. He’s a danger and opponent Colombus are wobbling. Looking value due to the lack of returns but the threat is good.

Diego Rubio. I’ve been a big fan of his in my reviews, he has not let me down, and I like Colorado’s chances versus Houston. 

Przybylko. Performing well as expected and with a favourable fixture, he’s solid.

Budget Picks – Cheap underdogs who can punch above their weight

Wolondowski – as covered in the last match report he is old but gold. And with a good match up this week.

Bou – Poor start to the new season but feels unlucky. I wasn’t keen in the preview because he was hyped up and pricey, but he’s dropped now. 

My Picks





Premiums – Pricey, but worth it. 

Gil. I’ve been raving about Gil since pre-season and he has met high expectations. Good fixture this weekend too. 

Mid-Price Range – Balanced quality/value

Jack Price – Price was picked out early in my pre-season preview as a great budget option. He’s progressed since, rising in price due to consistent good scores which are no accident. Looks like another good fixture where Colorado should get a good share of possession. Which is Jack Price-friendly.

Lewis Morgan. Morgan was brilliant last weekend, coming out of my Monday match report nicely. He was subdued midweek though. But this is a good time to back Miami when facing Cinny. 

Leal. I don’t love his fixture this week but I do love his form. I’d play him if I had him most likely. Alternatively team mate Mukhtar has almost as much of the bang for much less of the buck. 

Lod. Like Leal he’s been a stalwart of my mid-price sides all season (although they started out budget). Lod keeps defying Minnesota’s poor start and not by accident.

Budget Picks – Cheap underdogs who can punch above their weight

Valeri – As per my match reports, despite Portland’s struggles, Valeri has been looking a real danger. Better than his SO5 scores look, almost certainly. 

Maxi Moralez – Another I’ve been really keen on all season, the only real disappointment is him missing the last game injured which was unexpected. If he starts, it could be another good week for him. 

Kreilach. I featured him in my budget side last week and he didn’t disappoint. Has another decent fixture this weekend. 


My Picks

Budget (if fit!)




Premiums – Pricey, but worth it. 

I can barely find a premium here this week that is worth going for over and above a mid-price player.  

Mid-Price Range – Balanced quality/value

Lovitz. He is class and one of my top picks amongst MLS defenders. Surprisingly cheap possibly due to a couple of poorer scores in the last two which I don’t think reflect his ability. 

Tinnerholm. Another very solid pick from my pre-season previews whose rarely put a foot wrong. Good fixture again – if he starts. Alternatively his team mate Chanot is less potentially explosive but solid and has less starting uncertainty. 

Hollingshead. Quality player, and a couple of wayward scores send him to near budget pick level. But this is impatience rather than anything else. He’s a great MLS defender to have available. This week is a reasonable fixture. 

Budget Picks – Cheap underdogs who can punch above their weight

Fontas. Solid high baseline ball playing CB at Kansas who could have a good time versus Vancouver. Bit of goal threat, too. 

Metanire. A hit and miss player who has been missing more than hitting. But he’s very cheap and has strong goal/assist potential, the first of which came through in the game before last. 

Bressan. I like Bressan a lot, not just because his strong goal threat by CB standards but because his high involvement makes him a reliable source of points most weeks. Yet unlike most high baseliners who look good on a data chart he doesn’t come with the hefty price tag. But it is creeping up. 

My Picks



MID-pRIce 2 (if fit!)


Ah the best time of the week. Picking the least offensively priced goalkeeper. Just going to pick one from each price range here.

Premiums – Pricey, but worth it. 

Johnson at NYFC is needlessly expensive even by keeper standards but he is quality. He can fill the premium range as he is in a solid defence facing Toronto who may be fatigued from midweek. 

Mid-Price Range – Balanced quality/value

I will go for Gallese in the mid-range out of respect for the Orlando defence, plus D.C’s weak attacking record. I’d pick Gallese over Johnson, actually. Money can’t always buy you everything. 

Budget Picks – Cheap underdogs who can punch above their weight

McCarthy – Still one of the cheaper keepers around in the MLS. Miami have looked surprisingly solid and in the last match Cinny couldn’t hit a barn with a beach ball. 



MID-pRIce 2 (if fit!)

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