Happy Matchday and Happy Friday, MLS Fantasy managers! Round 15 is here, kicking off once again on a Friday night as Toronto travels to Chester, PA to take on a shorthanded Philadelphia Union club.
While we don’t have to contend with any clubs on double-duty this week, we’ve still got players away on international duty and the US Open Cup to think about when crafting our lineups this weekend.
That being said, after seeing the midweek workloads for MLS regulars and factoring in international absences, I think we’ve got a pretty good feel for who we think will have a productive fantasy round this weekend.
Quick reminder before we jump in – there are NO Sunday MLS matches this weekend, so if you’re planning on actively managing as matches are being played, make sure you are available on Saturday evening to do so!
Friday Night Picks
As Kevin mentioned at the end of his Parsing The Percentages piece, Philadephia's midfield is absolutely gutted with Ale Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin both picking up red cards in Atlanta last weekend. As such, we've got Sebastian Giovinco in our starting lineup and Victor Vazquez as a switcheroo in anticipation of Toronto's attack carving up Philly's defensive midfield.
Vazquez and Seba will likely receive additional support from Michael Bradley, who should be able to slide back into his natural spot in the defensive midfield now that Toronto's defense is healthy once again. Clint Irwin makes up one half of our goalkeeper switcheroo as a result, as he could enjoy some success against a disjointed Philadelphia attack behind a healthy defense. Greg van der Weil is also on our bench as the fourth Toronto FC player on our Round 15 roster, as we expect him to start and bring a lot of fantasy upside to our lineup on a healthy Toronto back line.
From a switcheroo standpoint, we've only got one Minnesota United defender currently in our lineup. As it stands, how we proceed on Saturday morning will depend on how Toronto performs on Friday night. If Toronto rolls and all three Toronto bench players produce strong numbers, Jesse Gonzalez and Aaron Maund are our likely departures so Irwin and van der Weil slide in. This leaves one final plug spot, with the higher performer between Vazquez and Alberth Elis moving in to that last spot.
Alternatively, if Vazquez has himself a VERY strong, double-digit performance, we could ship out a third player in the midfield (likely Yordy Reyna), locking in Elis as a starter. We won't do that until we see Orlando's lineup is announced at 6pm EST on Saturday, as they may rest some starters for a non-conference road match.