Soccer Sunday kicks off with Orlando City SC welcoming former MLS Cup Champions Los Angeles Galaxy (5:00PM EST, ESPN2). The weekend action concludes with league leading D.C. United traveling up I-95 to battle the dismal Philadelphia Union (7PM EST, Fox Sports 1). Even on a short slate, there are injuries, suspensions and international call-ups that will sideline some of the usual targets. I will be posting starting lineups on Twitter (@FantasySoccerFC) as soon as they are released – usually an hour before kickoff. Here are some players I am targeting to finish the weekend strong:
Bill Hamid – $4,900 – D.C. United – Hamid faces a Philadelphia Union team that just lost their fourth consecutive match and are now winless in five. The already sputtering Union attack will be without top forward option Fernando Aristeguieta (international duty), and one has to wonder where the goals will come from. D.C. United, meanwhile, have been on a roll and it’s hard to see a letdown against the worst team in the league.
Jaime Penedo – $5,300 – LA Galaxy – The Panamanian net minder has 5+ saves in each of his last two games, and has a favorable matchup against an expansion Orlando City team still finding their way in MLS. While I expect the home team to be up for the defending MLS Cup winners, Penedo looks to be a safe bet to collect a win this afternoon.
Others to Consider – Donovan Ricketts (Orlando City SC; $3,500), Brian Sylvestre (Philadelphia Union; $4,000)
Taylor Kemp – $3,500 – D.C. United – The left back has four crosses in each of his last four games, posting 10+ DraftKings points in three of those four. Today he has a good opportunity to pickup a clean sheet to go along with any points earned from his crosses.
Brek Shea – $6,200 – Orlando City SC – Having started the season as a defender, injuries to the Orlando City midfield have shifted Shea into more of an attacking role. While it has yet to translate into a big fantasy outing, thus far, the upside is there – especially with a lack of options at the Defender position today.
Sean Franklin – $5,100 – D.C. United – Franklin has been an integral part of D.C. United’s strong start to 2015. He’s sound on defense and isn’t shy about attacking up the wing. He scored a goal in a 20 point outburst just three games ago, and the potential is certainly there today against a struggling Philadelphia Union team. Just be sure to double check that he is starting today, as D.C. has a congested schedule over the next few weeks and will be rotating their squad to keep players fresh. Any of the United outside backs are a good pivot, based on who get’s the start.
Others to Consider – Luke Boden (Orlando City SC; $3,300), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy; $5,500), Bobby Boswell (D.C. United; $4,100)
Kaka – $11,100 – Orlando City SC – As much of a letdown as Kaka has been, I’m going back to the well today. The crafty Brazilian put up just three points last time out, and hasn’t registered more than five fantasy points in any of his last four games. If Orlando City are to hang with the former MLS Cup champs this afternoon, Kaka will have to impose himself on the game. The former FIFA World Player of the Year has shown us flashes of what he can do, and I am still eagerly awaiting a true coming out party. With only two games on the board, Kaka is a fade-at-your-own-risk player.
Cristian Maidana – $6,600 – Philadelphia Union – Maidana was kept in check by Vancouver last weekend – having zero crosses after averaging eight per game in his previous two outings. He’s in a tough spot as a creative midfielder with a lack of goalscoring options to provide service to. However, i’m willing to look past the bad outing and expect him to get back on track today.
Stefan Ishizaki – $8,400 – LA Galaxy – While his playing time has been sporadic, the wide midfielder has an assist in three of his last four outings. He’s especially useful when Alan Gordon is in the lineup, as he looks to swing crosses in to the big man at any given opportunity.
Others to Consider – Chris Pontius (D.C. United; $7,500), Baggio Husidic (LA Galaxy; $6,700), Vincent Nogueira (Philadelphia Union; $4,100), Luis Silva (D.C. United; $4,000)
Chris Rolfe – $8,000 – D.C. United – Rolfe provided a spark off the bench, providing the game winner for United in their midweek 2-1 win over Orlando City. I expect Rolfe will move back into the starting lineup today, as D.C. have been shuffling their rotation with their busy schedule. With Fabian Espindola still recovering from injury, look for Rolfe to play a bigger role in the United attack tonight.
Gyasi Zardes – $8,700 – LA Galaxy – After a handful of quiet outings, Zardes finally broke through with a big 17 point performance last weekend. He’s a dynamic player with big game upside, and is worthy of consideration with options thin at the Forward position.
Alan Gordon – $6,000 – LA Galaxy – Gordon is projected to start, but has been more effective off the bench as a “super sub.” If he is announced as a starter, I will be targeting him in my lineups as LA should look for him early and often against a vulnerable Orlando City defense. The big man gets a boost with Orlando City center back missing out due to injury today.
Others to Consider – Jairo Arrieta (D.C. United; $6,500), Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union; $5,900), Andrew Wenger (Philadelphia Union; $5,000)
Eric Ayuk Mbu – $4,700 – Philadelphia Union – While the Philly attack continues to struggle, Ayuk Mbu has been a decent source of fantasy points. He’s active on the flank, and is one of the top values on the board at just $4,700.
Cyle Larin – $7,300 – Orlando City SC – The No.1 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft has quietly scored a goal in consecutive games now, converting on the lone chance he’s had in each game. Larin is a potent goalscorer, and if he gets better service he could be in line for a breakout game soon.