Welcome to the Sorare focused MLS highlights from Sorare gameweek #166!

Plenty of goals as always but also far more clean sheets on the board this time, and a very notable home advantage coming through in the results which hasn’t always been the case in early season. 9 of the 13 games had a home team winner with just 3 away winners and a 1 draw. 

I’ll be keeping an eye on this – early season in any League can be volatile and it definitely has been in the MLS. But this week was a bit more predictable and we may find we can start to rely on fixture difficulty and home/away advantage a little bit more. Plus we’re getting more and more data to work with each week. 

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Seattle Sounders vs Los Angeles FC

I have to start with the Sounders because they are by far the best team in the MLS right now. Thing is, they have done this despite tough opening fixtures and the absence of key players like Lodeiro. There aren’t many reasons why they can’t get even better.

My fixture ticker now gives them the most favourable upcoming schedule in the MLS. A potentially devastating coming together of form and fixtures is on the way. (Click the image to make it more readable). 

 

Buy all the Sounders would be the play then. Except when it comes to picking exactly who, it gets a bit trickier. 

Ruidiaz remains The Man in my eyes despite two blanks now, he was again very close vs the Earthquakes midweek. Surprisingly, no chances against LAFC but take his record as a whole this season and just in general and there is no doubt he is the most dangerous Sounders player. Certainly until Lodeiro returns.

Perhaps surprisingly it was Bruin with the threat this time, an improvement because he’s been in a supporting role where he can get assists but has not looked likely to score. Better this time. Difficult to pick between him and Montero and if they keep sharing pitch time they sort of block each other. I like Bruin as a budget option but can’t see the consistency for him to make a mid-price or better Sorare team.

Montero on the other hand could end up being a stellar bargain – provided he can get starts.

Defender Arreaga is a budget pick I’ve been keen on. He scored here which is a nice bonus but I wouldn’t be expecting that regularly! He is more there for his general solid baselines and I really like him for a budget side or a rotation option for a mid-price team.

Joao Paulo had a good game, assisting. He’s not a player I’ve favoured because he started at a very high price – as players with good averages almost always do because they get flagged easily on data products. And once everyone knows a thing? It’s not an advantage. 

Based on the chances he’s had/created it does feel like he is fortunate to keep getting into these 80+ scores though the 60’s should keep on coming. 

It was a good week for Alex Roldan with the assist. I’ve always found him Sorare-awkward because he’s a midfielder and I can find better midfielders. But if he was a defender I’d be snapping him up.

His brother Christian Roldan did well again – he’s really getting pricey now and we can find better midfielders for far less than $1,500. But if we don’t care about value he should continue to do well. Even when Lodeiro comes back and he drops back deeper, Roldan has always shown good numbers. 

What I’d really be doing in a situation like that is selling my good overpriced player and picking up someone who is actually looking good but has been scoring poorly in SO5. And is therefore much more kindly priced.

For example, you could probably straight trade Roldan for Lodeiro here if you wanted Sounders coverage. And Lodeiro is a class above.

What to say about LAFC? Poor start in general. Poor result here. Tough couple of games up next. I probably would not be sweating on Rossi he’s doing fine. And Vela is on the way back. 

I guess the trading lesson here is about why I generally do not back highly priced favourites in pre/early season – if those big expectations are not met then price drops can be very severe. And if they do perform, well, you paid a lot for it.

Instead I try to find cheaper players who can over perform expectations and rise. And if they don’t, they weren’t expensive and also are unlikely to fall drastically as expectations were lower to start with. 

Colorado Rapids vs Houston Dynamo

I’ve been a Colorado fan in recent reviews and team selections and this is why. 

Jack Price managed 71 and was in my mid-price selections from last Friday where I said: Looks like another good fixture where Colorado should get a good share of possession. Which is Jack Price-friendly.” 

It was indeed and that was a good game to target because Houston have been giving up the ball. Ever since my pre-season preview I’ve flagged Price as a geat value underdog pick. He’s not quite as cheap as he was but for a mid-price team I still think he is value. 

He’s just so consistent and doesn’t need a goal or assist to get up there. His assist potential is strong though and the 2 he has had this season are a fair reflection of the chances he creates. 

I have also been banging on a bit about Diego Rubio and he’s not letting me down. 75 here. Quality player and still a great addition to a mid-price side, even if he isn’t exactly budget anymore.

Cole Bassett did well again. In last week’s match report I said: “Cole Bassett, good youngster, shines again with a goal. He threatened this off the bench last week actually. Should get some rotation but he’s good, at the $650 mark right now is pretty good value.”

He scored again here, and is actually slightly less than $650 which probably says much more about Eth fluctuation and market confidence than it does about him. Solid stuff and this is 3 games on the spin where he has looked a danger now. Lots of young players are all hype and no substance but I like this one. 

One Rapids player I haven’t highlighted much though is a good budget forward option – Barrios. He managed 2 assists here and those are his only returns so far this season. But that’s unlucky – he’s a regular, he’s getting chances each game, and he’s creating too. Under $200 right now and whilst Rubio is superior he is also 3x the price. 

I’m struggling to find something nice to say about Houston and my momma’ said if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. I didn’t listen much clearly. But then she surely didn’t think I’d be an analyst. 

The best thing I can say about Houston is that they play Vancouver next who I have been unimpressed by despite some good results on the surface. Vancouver were smashed 3-0 this weekend so I’ve reason to believe I was onto something. Urruti for Houston looks a decent value option if targetting that game.

 

New York City FC vs Toronto

To balance out the sickening “I told you so” fest of the Colorado game, here is one that didn’t exactly stick to the script.

NYFC were heavy favourites versus Toronto and in Expected Goals terms they absolutely battered them. In terms of putting the ball in the net though it was 1-1. 

And two of the strongest NYFC players, Moralez and Tinnerholm, were both injured. 

Castellanos I put in as my premium forward in my Friday team selection article. No dice. But he did get a great chance to score. His form is brilliant. This was a good fixture. And NYFC have good fixtures to come. We can’t really sack a great striker for blanking in one game, it’s just how it goes. We could, but I wouldn’t recommend it. 

Medina continues to defy my low/middling pre-season expectations. I was wary of his end of last season hot streak plus the relatively high price at the time. But he has carried that form straight into this season and it looks like no accident. Arguably Moralez is better and he is certainly far cheaper but then Medina has a long career ahead and Maxi might only have 1-2 seasons in him. 

I don’t fear veterans in early season but as we get towards games 12-14 or so, I’d want to be trading out at a good time i.e when they score big.

Chanot did well and I also highlighted him on Friday. I prefer Tinnerholm overall but Chanot is more reliable although a bit less explosive.

Parks also keeps doing his thing – reliable 50’s and at just 23 I think he is a value pick – this sort of reliable score isn’t bad to pull off your bench, or for a budget side particularly when we get the new prizes and we don’t need every player to get 100 to win.

Tough to pickout anything from Toronto here but Osorio and Pozuelo should regain fitness soon and these are the ones I’d look to for consistent big scores. Both value now because of impatience. 

 

Kansas City vs Vancouver Whitecaps

This was a 3-0 demolition and interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Kansas dominated possession which they have been shy of doing so far. Good for them and this is why we see a lot of big scores on the board. If that continues KC could improve a lot. Just one game, though.

Secondly, Vancouver were dunked on which is something I’ve been expecting after they got some good early season results which felt fortunate.

Pulido scored twice. He’s a player I’ve consistently backed even through his slow start – the numbers were solid and this is a reward for patient managers who stuck with their player based on good evidence. And possibly a punishment for anyone who panic sold. In trading games having the mentality to a) find this evidence and b) use this evidence to drive our decisions is so, so important.

I believe that in this game like others too many people are driven by the emotional/knee jerk decisions around who scored what last week. This is trading suicide.

Kinda did well again – another player I’ve highlighted as a strong value option for a budget team. He has nice numbers over the last 3 and is still being underrated if he is being sold under $200.

We can also look at Salloi who scored here. He blanked in the 3 previous games but that feels unfortunate. He’s getting a lot of chances and creating them too. Good mid-price option.

I also put in Fontas as my budget defender in the Friday teams and his 66 does not disappoint for his cut price. Value. 

I have been giving Vancouver no love in my reviews for weeks now. Including Cavallini for looking toothless. 

However, in this game and in midweek whilst he blanked he also had strong threat in both matches. He’s available for under $700 now due to a disappointing run. And players like this can quickly start looking like good value. He’s not doing that badly at all in the last couple of games. And we know he has quality from historic numbers – this is why people paid too much for him in the first place. 

But if anyone thinks he is as bad as 5 games without a goal suggests – they might take an even lower bid than $700. That would be strong value at this point. 

Best of the Rest

DC United fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Orlando. But again, they look tight at the back and Orlando might be lucky to win this. DC have improved slightly going forward in recent games but still aren’t brilliant, so I’d put defenders/keepers in versus DC. Note also that DC tend to be heavy underdogs in betting and algorithm – but I’d continue to be wary of stacking too many attackers against this decent defence unless those players were in red hot form. 

I bang on about it but Gil is a monster. Even in a game where he blanks he brings a solid 65 again and it’s no accident. My MLS midfielder of choice by a distance right now. Thing is, these great recent numbers are when he is getting unlucky. Expect more goals and assists.

Also at New England, Buksa from my mid-price Forward selection on Friday finally came good with a goal. This was coming, he’s got massive goal threat and the dam had to break at some point. Signs suggest more to come.

Managers should play any half decent attackers versus Cincinnati. That is all.

Gonzalo Higuain is bossing it and looks extremely dangerous. Two goals here. I included him in my mid-price selections on Friday though I was a bit wary of the price. I still am. But at least for holders this is going well as he could have flopped badly. Looks on course to be an MLS top scorer right now. I still wouldn’t want him in a premium team as his baselines are poor. He should be upper mid-price in my view.

Better result for Portland who have had a poor start to the season without actually playing badly. Valeri benched this time who I really like. It was the value pick Yimmi Chara who impressed. He blanked when I included him in my Friday picks last time, but not this week. Good budget option. 

We can also look at Eryk Williamson from Portland who is a big improver this season. Solid baselines and whilst he has no right to be getting 2 assists regularly, we might see a goal/assist every 4 games or so on current form. Historically though he has been on nice streaks so it’s possible he gets better. $450 or so is value.

Portland again – Mora. Really close for a third consecutive game. If he keeps this up he’s going to pop up with a goal or even two one of these weekends, I tell ya. Budget team friendly now because of those blanks.

The Earthquakes were disappointed to lose 0-2 at home to Portland. On another day they could have had 3+ though they had so many chances. I highlighted the strength of Cowell and Wondolowski in my Friday selections and both came close, particularly Wondolowski. I would not sweat on this pair and the Quakes’ in general look a good attacking side.

Salt Lake vs Nashville was a bore draw but one of my pre-season favourites Leal was close to scoring again. If you can find anyone upset with Leal’s recent blanks I’d take him off their hands because he looks class. 

Nashville are showing their defensive solidity and I’m happy I backed keeper Willis after a poor start that always looked unlucky.

Look at out for Rubin (Mendez) at Salt Lake – he looks really strong if/when cards are released for him.

Minnesota are getting it together after a poor start. They are a good side. Lod should be no strangers to readers I’ve been highlighting him since pre-season and he delivers again. Quality. And I really, really want Reynoso once added to the platform. Dotson is also improving and looking dangerous, he could be a great value pick up. And Gregus continues to look a solid option for consistent 50-60 pointers at a value price. Actually he might turn out better than that if anything – he’s getting regular chances to score lately.

Damian Moreno at Atlanta should be a beast. Pity he isn’t on the platform yet. Want. Star man Josef Martinez looked a little better and had chances to score again despite his blank. Now the pre-season hype has faded he’s looking a good pick up for an upper mid-price/premium team at the $1,000 mark. People panic so easily. 

Chicarito looks an MLS golden boot contender. A bit like Higuain, I’m not sure I’d put them in a premium price bracket amongst the most expensive because they need +2 goals to really score big. I generally like my premiums to have a good baseline game to cover blanks/poor form. But to be fair Chicarito has the threat to score 2+ regularly right now. 

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back on Thursday or Friday my schedule depending with a preview of the next round of games.

Best,

Adam.

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