The first week of Major League Soccer and MLS Fantasy action was one for the back lines and keepers as only 16 goals were scored, including nine clean sheets, across 10 fixtures involving all 20 teams.
The first few weeks are always underwhelming in terms of the offensive production as teams toy with their line-ups to find the perfect combinations and connections. It was only likely that the goalkeepers and defenders would lead the charge, as proven by the average points per position for this past week tallied by MLS Fantasy's Starting Lineup.
- Goalkeepers: 5.3
- Defenders: 5.2
- Midfielders: 3.9
- Forwards: 3.6
That didn't however stop some of the big names up front from grabbing the spotlight in emphatic fashion this round, some of whom you know well and some of whom are new to the MLS scene. There were also some very underwhelming performances, and we'll look at some of the studs and duds from round one.
1. Clint Dempsey - 18
Pretty questionable as to why I didn't have him in my eleven. I don't know why I expected anything from an unreal performance from Deuce. Earned a penalty and tucked it away before finishing off a sublime Seattle Sounders passing play for his second of the game, linking up with his offensive counterpart Obafemi Martins. Dominating performance from Seattle and Dempsey to earn him the top scorer award for week one.
2. Jozy Altidore - 15
Altidore and Giovinco combined beautifully for Toronto FC's first goal to silence the critics, both inside and outside TFC. The Reds could be really good this year, and Saturday's 3-1 win over the Whitecaps was a showcase for their potential. Two goals for 15 points made Altidore the top forward of the round. I'm starting to think that TFC's first seven games on the road while BMO Field is expanded might not be such a turn off for managers to pick TFC players.
3. Omar Gonzalez - 11
The LA Galaxy defender came out on top for all defenders in round one, notching an assist on Keane's thunderbolt past Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson. The Galaxy defence was on point against a lackluster Fire team that barely dented the reigning champions.
4. Obafemi Martins - 11
Martins' partnership with Dempsey is going to be a deadly one just as it was last season. Nodded home a header and added an assist on Dempsey's second en route to a 3-0 routing of New England. Were it not for an unfortunate week three bye, I'd be jumping all over the Sounders players.
5. Chad Marshall - 10
The Sounders defender anchored a defence that didn't face too much action in their win over the New England Revolution. Four defensive bonus points and a clean sheet helped along his success this week.
1. Bradley Wright-Phillips - 2
The Red Bulls are going to have to adjust to life without Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill, exemplified through BWP. Slow start as he works out the kinks to trying to find his own way to bury goals this season.
2. David Villa - 2
May or may not have been robbed on an assist that fantasy managers will be yelling about. There's plenty of time to work, however, and the same goes for everyone on this list.
3. Gyasi Zardes - 2
The pre-season speculation that Zardes would pile in goals this season through the primary partnership with Robbie Keane with no Landon Donovan in the line-up wasn't apparent on Friday night. That being said, he will score goals this year.
4. Harrison Shipp - 3 / Jeff Larentowicz - 1
I put these two here together to set an example for the Chicago Fire. They were woeful against the Galaxy, and managers who were keen to see Shipp carry the great form they saw in spurts last year were left disappointed. Larentowicz also disappointed a big percentage of managers at 15.2% with one point.
5. Gonzalo Higuain
Slow start to the campaign for Columbus and Higuain, who were beat 1-0 by the Dynamo. Higuain was subbed off after 65 minutes and took his set pieces poorly.
Other mentions include the stellar play of MLS Dream Team star Tyler Deric who stole the show in the Dynamo's win. A great pickup at 5.0M rewarded a lot of managers this week. The deadly partnerships of Altidore/Giovinco and Dempsey/Martins could reward your team big time if you can squeeze them into your line-up with your transfers. Prepare accordingly with the Sounders, however, as a week three bye looms after next weekend's game against the San Jose Earthquakes. There should be goals in that game for Seattle.
Chicago Fire's Shipp is sinking (ship, get it?) after a dreadful performance against the LA Galaxy that suggests to managers that they're in for a long season with a lot of losses and draws (plus or minus 15?). I'd bail out on them if I was you, but like every other player in MLS Fantasy it is early with plenty of time for redemption.
Vancouver will take solace in the fact that Octavio Rivero notched his first as a Whitecap after missing an absolute sitter early in the game, but the top three selected by percent for the Whitecaps of David Ousted, Pedro Morales and Jordan Harvey have lots of work to do (Thanks, Harvey, for putting up one point for my team). Impact fans will be hindered by the gruesome injury to Justin Mapp where he dislocated his elbow late in their 1-0 loss to DC United, and I struggle to see where the goals will come from for the Impact with that injury. Lots of question marks.
Who are you going to bring in next week? Let us know in the comments!