Another MLS #ViernesDeFutbol kicks off the long Memorial Day weekend on Friday night. The Columbus Crew host the Chicago Fire (8:00PM EST, Univision Deportes) in the opener, with the LA Galaxy looking to right the ship in the nightcap when they host the Houston Dynamo (10:30PM EST, Univision Deportes). Keep an eye on starting lineups as they are released to be sure your players aren’t on the bench prior to roster lock. 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 kick off Memorial Day weekend strong:
Jaime Penedo – $5,500 – LA Galaxy – The Galaxy goalkeeper was on the wrong end of a 4-0 result in Orlando City on Sunday. Penedo was pummeled all night and never stood much of a chance. With LA back in their home confines, and some key players returning from injury, I expect a better effort from the Galaxy tonight. Of the four choices on the board tonight, I like Penedo’s chances to pickup a win the most.
Steve Clark – $5,500 – Columbus Crew – Though he’s given up two goals in each of his last three games, Clark has posted 8+ DraftKings points in consecutive matches. I’m targeting the home keeper to make some key saves tonight en route to a Crew victory.
Others to Consider – Tyler Deric (Houston Dynamo; $3,500), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire; $3,400)
Joevin Jones – $4,800 – Chicago Fire – The left back has been a spark in the Fire attack. He attacks the wings, and is a good bet to pickup five or more crosses against the Crew. Jones had a whopping 12 crosses just two games ago, highlighting the upside he has occupying a defender slot.
Waylon Francis – $4,900 – Columbus Crew – Francis was held to just one cross last game, in a quiet two-point fantasy performance. Considering the Crew lost a man early due to a red card, i’m willing to look past the San Jose game and give Francis another look tonight. The attacking outside back is a threat down the wing, and should be looking to swing some crosses in to their big target man Kei Kamara tonight.
Omar Gonzalez – $5,500 – LA Galaxy – The Galaxy center back was a surprise omission in the 4-0 loss in Orlando, where a slight knee injury kept him out as a precaution. Gonzalez has returned to training, and reports indicate that he is good to go for tonight. The big 6-foot-5 defender is a constant aerial threat on set pieces, and has a good opportunity to turn in a clean sheet as the Galaxy look to get back in the win column against Houston.
Others to Consider – Jeff Larentowicz (Chicago Fire; $5,600), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo; $4,400)
Federico Higuain – $8,400 – Columbus Crew – Higuain was a big bust in San Jose on Sunday evening, thanks in part to the Crew having to play down a man thanks to a 33rd minute red card to Mohammed Saeid. The Argentine playmaker doesn’t have to wait to long to get back to his attacking ways, as he faces a Chicago Fire team that has conceded twice in each of their last two games.
Shaun Maloney – $7,200 – Chicago Fire – The Scottish international put up 16 DK points in New York, after posting 12 fantasy points in the game before that. He’s able to contribute across the board through crosses, shots and fouls drawn, and should be able to exploit a Crew defense that has been shaky as of late.
Justin Meram – $8,400 – Columbus Crew – Like Higuain, Meram’s fantasy value took a blow after the Crew were forced to play down a man in their last game. Meram plays high up the field, almost as a left forward and isn’t shy about taking shots whenever the opportunity arises. It certainly doesn’t hurt his fantasy value that he is crossing the ball into the league’s leading scorer in Kei Kamara.
Others to Consider – Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo; $8,000), Stefan Ishizaki (LA Galaxy; $8,600), Harry Shipp (Chicago Fire; $8,200)
Kei Kamara – $10,100 – Columbus Crew – The league leader in both goals and shots will be hungry to get back on the scoresheet tonight after being held scoreless in San Jose. Kamara has seven goals on 43 shots in just 10 games played. Tonight the Crew should look for him early and often as they look to bounce back strong from a disappoint loss to the Earthquakes.
Giles Barnes – $8,800 – Houston Dynamo – Barnes scored another goal last game, and now has put up 14+ DraftKings points in four of his last five outings. Going up against a Galaxy defense that just allowed four goals to expansion Orlando City, Barnes is once again a top target on a short slate.
Robbie Keane – $9,500 – LA Galaxy – After a seven game absence due a groin strain, there is speculation that the 2014 MVP and Galaxy leading goalscorer Robbie Keane could return to the starting lineup this evening. Any time Keane is available for selection, he should be a target – especially on a short slate. While I do expect the Galaxy to monitor his playing time, having just returned from injury, if he starts he is well worth including in your squad as LA is desperate for goals.
Others to Consider – Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo; $7,500), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy; $8,900)
Ethan Finlay – $6,600 – Columbus Crew – On a team where Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain earn most of the praise in the attack, Finlay has quietly contributed across the board. He’s hit 10+ DraftKings points in three of his last five, including a 31 points effort just four games ago.
David Accam – $5,500 – Chicago Fire – The Ghanaian has been a nice addition to the Fire attack this season, and it seems as though he is just getting started. He’s posted 10+ fantasy points in three of his last four outings, and only has one goal during that span of time – a testament to his ability to contribute in other fantasy point worthy categories. He comes at a great price point which will allow you to spend up on some of the big names tonight.