Welcome to the Sorare focused MLS highlights from Sorare gameweek #170!

First of all, apologies that I did not get to Part 2 of the preview as planned last week. I had my COVID jab the day before which left me feeling under the weather and that plus the new earlier game deadline meant I didn’t get to it. I’m grateful for the jab though, and I felt fine the next day!

Turning to the gameweek, there were one or two upsets this week with heavy favourites Seattle in particular failing to overcome Austin as pretty much everyone thought they would including me. 

However, one of the differences to adapt to between the Sorare game and some others is that you don’t necessarily need a win, goal or assist to rack up a decent points total. A few Sounders players still come out of this quite well.  

In the preview on Friday I felt Philadelphia versus Portland could be an even game, disagreeing with the algorithm who thought Phildadelphia would cruise to victory. I was wrong! Portland were smashed 3-0 although players like Mora and Valeri did get good chances. Can’t win ’em all.

Overall though, I’m feeling good about my approach of using betting odds and algorithms as a reference point and then using recent match data and experience to fine tune the pre-match predictions to the Sorare game. 

Just because a team wins doesn’t mean they will score big – I’m factoring in things that most mainstream games don’t care so much about like possession. Teams who see a lot of the ball will generally rack up a lot of baseline points (you have to drill down to individuals too, but as a quick and dirty indicator high team possession is a good omen for us). 

And just before we get to the MLS games, for those of you who want to play a Fantasy game for the upcoming EURO 2020 you can check out my first team by team guide over on Fantasy Football Scout published yesterday. That’s pretty much the biggest Fantasy site there is (as far as I know) so I’m proud to be a contributor over there. Yesterday I covered Denmark and I’ll be working on the Netherlands next.

I’ll be playing the Fanteam EURO 2020 game and Fanteam have generously offered some extra prizes exclusively for my readers… if you can beat me! 🙂 Should be good fun – see here for details on how to sign up and enter your team into my mini-game. 

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Seattle Sounders vs Austin FC

Seattle have been in fantastic form and had great fixtures but this is two disappointing home draws on the bounce. 

Has their bubble burst? 

Hard to say – the MLS is an unpredictable league and teams can come in and out of form fast.

I suspect not though, they are full of quality and the usual suspects had plenty of chances. Ruidiaz did. Cristian Roldan had an impressive 5 shots, and we can be more optimistic on him the longer Lodeiro remains out. 

Lodeiro had surgery this week and is unlikely to be immediately after the international break. (Rather than a downer – I’d look at this disappointment as a chance to get a great player cheaper. And I absolutely would not be selling him cheaply in frustration if I owned him just because of the slow start). 

That extended period on the sidelines for Lodeiro means Cristian Roldan should extend his stay in the advanced midfield role – bodes well for him. 

Montero started in place of Bruin and was unlucky to have a goal ruled offside. If Montero can take a starting spot regularly he could be a real powerhouse and I’m watching this closely. Tricky though as he keeps rotating with Bruin.

There is better news though for Tolo, who I’ve warmed to a lot after his consistency, the good but pricey Paulo, and one of my budget favourites Arreaga who is becoming less budget the more people see. This trio all managed decent scores (subject to OPTA review). 

Andrade Gomez put up a very impressive score too and he’s one that slipped through my early Scouting in the MLS and I did not give him enough credit. I’ve learned that in SO5 I need to give more weight to interceptions/recoveries etc as these things are far more heavily weighted than they are in many other games.

This is a tricky issue because personally I quite like these more nerdy underlying numbers but games that want to go mainstream generally focus more on goals, assists and clean sheets which more people tend to feel comfortable with. It is what it is and we have to play the game that exists, not the one we are used to or might want. 

Overall, Seattle remain a very dangerous looking team with a great fixture calendar ahead despite two somewhat disappointing results. We can’t really do much other than pick great form players who have great fixtures. 

Sometimes you just have to accept that you can make good calls and sometimes they aren’t rewarded straight away. But the odds are in our favour if playing like this and it will tilt our way eventually.

Austin deserve credit though for stubborn defending. Alex Ring is looking a solid pick for consistent strong scores and a couple of missed games seems to have dropped his price somewhat. 

I would also keep an eye on Diego Fagundez in midfield. He started well but has appeared to go off the boil in the last 3-4. That makes him very cheap and he is worth watching for a sign of improvement as he has shown good numbers late last season and early this season. 

I am also watching Pochettino for improvement. He’s had poor scores so far but his record in Argentina was great and he is actually getting some decent chances for Austin. 

Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC

Columbus finally woke up after a dire start. Yet, as I’ve been saying a few times recently, they have too much talent to be as bad as they have been this season.

I identified Zardes in particular in the Friday preview saying:

“Speaking of turnarounds as I’ve been saying, I expect the Columbus Crew to improve their output this season. Zelarayan has got started already. But surely before long someone like Zardes has to show their quality.”

Zardes did score finally. His price has been nosediving as people get frustrated but this sort of thing has been the best source of trading value I’ve seen this season. Good players perform poorly, holders then part ways at low prices, yet if your paying attention they really aren’t doing that badly. Then, they have a good game or two and the price shoots back up.

It’s happened with others like Pulido, this can be another.  

Despite the win Columbus still look pretty poor by their standards though and created few chances. You can argue they are lucky to come out of this with a win.

So I wouldn’t call it a full turnaround yet but my view stands – they have too much talent and it would be a real shock if they didn’t climb the table. Zelarayan, Zardes and Valenzuela (when fit possibly after the break) would be my picks. 

And Room is a solid keeper choice provided he is value versus other mid to premium price keepers you are considering. 

Toronto didn’t do that badly and the big news for them is the return from the bench of talisman Pozuelo

He’s already showing strong numbers per minute and we should expect good things from him. Still quite pricey but it’s hard to imagine he won’t deliver big scores, so a premium side might be happy with him.

FC Cincinnati vs New England Revolution

“If you love Gil so much, why don’t you just marry him!?”. 

That was one tongue in cheek comment one reader sent my way. Well, maybe I will! A perfect 100 for him and all he needed was an assist. He’s just too good it’s almost unfair and this is why he’s my MLS midfielder of choice. Not much to say on him I haven’t said already.

It was also another good day for Buksa who I’ve been very keen on at New England. New England absolutely battered Cincinnati with 26 shots and it is incredible this was only 1-0. Buksa is readily available for under $500. 

However he may have been fortunate to start with Bou out as a precaution with a knock. 

But now they are lining up with a 4-2-3-1 and Buksa is finding form he may continue. Him and Bou can start together in a 4-4-2 but this didn’t work too well versus Nashville. 

Something to watch but if Buksa nails down this role he could be fantastic value. 

My other pick from New England has been defender Brandon Bye who has been doing really well. Just a 54 this time but he actually had 5 attempts at goal, exceptional threat for a full back. And this is consistent. He also created a lot of chances. Could have been an 80+ score easily. Value still.

It’s hard to say anything nice about Cincinnati. So I won’t say anything at all. Except maybe keep stacking players against them because they are just giving away SO5 points right now. 

Atlanta United vs Nashville SC

In my preview I wanted to dodge this game because it featured two solid defences. I needn’t have, it was a free scoring 2-2 with some decent scores on both sides.

It was a good day out for Atlanta defender Miles Robinson who laid on an assist – that’s quite unusual but for a CB he has some decent threat, enough for 2-4 goals a season. But in general, he’s a solid performer who can bring us 60-70’s regularly. Pretty good if you like his profile at 22 years old – and reasonable value under $450.

Aside from backing a continued recovery from Martinez (who has been looking better in general, although wasn’t great this weekend) it’s Marcelino Moreno who is looking value at Atlanta. Another goal this weekend and it’s no accident. Solid pick for a mid-price team.

Barco made it back on from the bench. He’s had an injury disrupted start to the season but over the season and CONCACAF CL games he’s put up some decent numbers. Could yet live up to his promise of a breakout season. 

Lovitz at Nashville has been one of my consistent defender picks in my team builds and he delivers here. One of the standout defenders in the MLS and he bagged an assist – unlucky not to get more this season too. And when he doesn’t he can still deliver a solid 50 or so. 

Mukhtar had a great game too with a brace – I’ve highlighted him as a budget alternative to Leal this season. No regrets. Mukhtar is around half the price on current values… with the money I’d still pick up Leal but if scrimping Mukhtar is strong value for a budget side or as a backup rotation player in a more expensive outfit.

 

Sporting KC vs Houston Dynamo

As per the preview, a glut of goals for Kansas was easy to see coming here when pairing a form attack versus a leaky defence. 

3-2 in the end and I didn’t quite see Houston’s goals coming – but it doesn’t matter much to most Kansas players. No fewer than 5 of them make it into the 70+ range including Pulido who is on a great run, and also Kinda. On Friday I said:

“And Kinda continues to provide a strong budget option at Kansas despite a string of recent good SO5 scores. I’ll say it again. He’s good, not lucky.”

He has risen in price a fair bit since I started highlighting him in pre-season but is still value at under $300. 

Busio continues his excellent run and he is good but I’ve tended to steer away from him because as a youngster with a nice profile he falls into that “too obvious” sort of area. You can buy these kind of results and better for far less – but for those who like the long term trend fit you can’t say it’s a bad choice.

Nothing for Salloi this time but he was close, he’s quality and possibly the most reliable Kansas player after Pulido

Urruti did well for Houston with a goal and he’s one I’ve highlighted as a value option here. Still is. Though not the extreme value he was after 3 good scores in 5.

 

Best of the Rest

New York RB continue to provide some solid budget options. I’ve been a particular admirer of Casseres this season and he delivers again here. He retains a fairly low price, although a bit higher than it was. I wasn’t kidding guys – he’s got the chops for continued good scores. 

For extreme value at NYRB Royer is doing better than it looks on his raw SO5 scores. He’s getting regular chances but they just aren’t going in. For just over $50 right now he’s a good value pick as a back up player or a starter in a real budget side.

The real star at NYRB though is 18 year old Caden Clark who scores again. I’ve been raving about him but equally frustrated that he has had no cards available. Still doesn’t and good luck getting an 18 year old with 4 60+ scores in his last 5 for value. 

I’ve been adamant that Beric at Chicago Fire will break this goal drought before long. This was not the week. Only one reasonable chance. In terms of his Expected Goals and playing position, he’s in the right areas but it is just not going for him. 

I’ll stick to my guns on this one Beric’s got too much quality and is getting too many chances to keep blanking forever – I’ve seen this situation so many times with strikers and the dam almost always breaks eventually. These can be great opportunities on trading platforms i.e Zardes, Pulido recently.  

Vela is back at LAFC. And he’s wasting no time in racking up huge underlying numbers. Premium, but no doubt a justified one who should be putting up regular big scores. 

Great result for New York FC who were outplayed for the opening hour by LAFC but won 2-1 anyway. Injury problems are easing with Maxi Moralez starting again and Tinnerholm coming off the bench to assist here. Both fantastic value. Medina is the mid-price/premium option but he continues to justify it with another goal here.

Shock result for Inter Miami as they are slammed 3-0 by DC despite dominating large swathes of the game. Miami have been quite conservative in style, more so than I expected in pre-season. And when they open up like this it never seems to work out well for them. Algorithm and betting odds were dead set on Miami winning here but I didn’t highlight this game in my own preview as I’ve learned not to underestimate DC who can be an awkward opponent. Higuain was very threatening, however.

In the Friday preview I said it might not be a week to bust out one of my usual favourites Jack Price. He showed me. As expected Colorado really gave up possession against Dallas which is why I left out Price, but he managed an assist anyway. This is why he’s quality and people underestimate him. He was a budget pick in my pre-season preview but he’s well into mid-price now and deservedly so. Consistent.

Also at Colorado, Cole Bassett another from the Friday preview did really well, he’s quality and a genuinely good young player… although we needed to get him a few weeks ago when he was down. A few good performances amps up the price on a player like this. No good chasing them after the good results you need to have the courage to pull the trigger when others are feeling down on them. Provided of course you have a good reason to be contrary. 

Another goal for Kreilach at Salt Lake, who started out as a budget pick but is blasting his way towards mid-price with 4 60+ scores in the last 5. This is no accident he’s good not lucky. But he remains value so clearly not everyone has worked that out yet. 

Don’t forget about Lod at Minnesota just because he blanked this game. He wasn’t far away from a goal at all. Really solid value player for a mid-price or higher team to be able to pull out. $600 is very fair.

As expected in the Friday preview Philadelphia’s attack did well and Przybylko opened the scoring and assisted. He’s looking fantastic for a mid-price team and even premium sides should be looking at him as a rotation option – he’s one of the MLS’s top forwards right now.

Portland did not score as I thought they might though the two I named in the preview, Mora and Valeri, both came close. No worries about these two despite this blank and they both look great value.

 

The MLS is on an international break now and in the mean time you’ll find me over on Fantasy Football Scout contributing to the coverage of EURO 2020.

Here is that information again on the Fanteam EURO 2020 game with extra prizes for my readers!

Enjoy the international break and good luck with your Euro Fantasy squads if you are playing!

Best,

Adam.

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