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By AVI CREDITOR
Ah, another scheduling curveball. Two matches for lowly Toronto FC, another bye week for the Columbus Crew. Are you prepared?
Toronto's slate is intriguing, not because the Reds are full of fantasy potential, but because if the team is ever going to get going, it'd be against expansion Philadelphia at BMO Field.
Columbus, meanwhile, is frustrating fantasy managers at no fault of its own. Perhaps because of the team's involvement in the CONCACAF Champions League, the powers-that-be at MLS elected to give the Crew two byes in the first four weeks.
For managers who are banking on Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Will Hesmer or even coach Robert Warzycha for fantasy success, this week figures to be one spent on the transfer market. There are definitely players who can fill the void left by the Crew's absence, though.
Here are this week's player rankings by position:
FANTASY MLS WEEK 4 PLAYER RANKINGS
- Matt Pickens, COL – Rapids welcome goal-starved Toronto team playing second game in four days
- Donovan Ricketts, LA – Until he's scored upon, you've got to put your trust in him, especially if Javier Morales misses this weekend's match
- Pat Onstad, HOU – Dynamo D should be able to handle Chivas at home
- Andrew Dykstra, CHI – Matches up well with league's worst team thus far
- Preston Burpo, NE – Only conceded two goals in three matches; Has nice matchup with Earthquakes
- Stefan Frei, TOR – Two-game slate looked more appealing until Union showed offensive capabilities vs. D.C.
- Zach Thornton, CHV – 2009 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year made triumphant return vs. Red Bulls, faces Ching-less Houston
- Bouna Coundoul, NY – As long as he can hang onto the ball, Red Bulls defense should have decent day at home vs. FC Dallas
- Kasey Keller, SEA – Wizards have looked sharp, but aren't quite road tested
- Kevin Hartman, DAL – NY attack sputtered against Chivas
- Wilman Conde, CHI – D.C. attack lacks creativity; Hard to see Fire conceding, even on the road
- Cory Gibbs, NE – Stingy Revs D draws below-average San Jose attack
- Marvell Wynne, COL – Former No. 1 pick settling in nicely with Rapids, gets a chance to silence former team
- Kosuke Kimura, COL – Cheap alternative for owners of Crew defenders and has solid matchup at home against Toronto
- Sean Franklin, LA – RSL isn't a great matchup for defense that has yet to concede, but Franklin already has two assists
- Omar Gonzalez, LA – Sterling reputation grows each match
- Geoff Cameron, HOU – When will the buzz about Cameron being the heir apparent to Holden/Clark/De Rosario become justified? Slow start (for fantasy purposes) isn't helping, but home matchup with Chivas might
- Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, SEA – KC attack may be league's most improved, but Wiz will have to work hard to crack Sounders back line
- Tim Ream, NY – Rook's matchup with Jeff Cunningham will be one to watch
- Chris Tierney, NE – Another midfielder labeled as a defender, Tierney mans the left in improving NE attack
- Dwayne De Rosario, TOR – Two matches means 90 more minutes to score than players from every other team, but shouldn't expect a stellar +/-
- Shalrie Joseph, NE – Return to lineup coinciding with team's four-goal outburst is no coincidence
- Ryan Smith, KC – Highest scoring midfielder in MFLS faces toughest test
- Marco Pappa, CHI – Wonder goal against Quakes may be the boost Pappa needed
- Steve Zakuani, SEA – So far, so good (goal, assist) in Zakuani's second year
- Freddie Ljungberg, SEA – Sounders need his creativity, skill against sound KC defensive unit
- Sebastien Le Toux, PHI – Listed as a midfielder even though he starts up top; Can he maintain momentum after hat trick in home opener?
- Joel Lindpere, NY – No place like home for a bounce-back performance
- Javier Morales, RSL – Salt Lake Tribune reports that Morales' groin injury won't necessarily prevent him from playing Galaxy; He won't be 100 percent, though
- Julian de Guzman, TOR – Two-match week for TFC's other threat
- Brad Davis, HOU – Nice midfield matchup for Dynamo star
- Roger Torres, PHI – Speedy, creative right winger has impressed in first games with Union
- Mehdi Ballouchy, COL – New signings not withstanding, TFC defense has been awful; Rapids should hit for multiple goals, meaning Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni are useful too
- David Ferreira, DAL – Hoops need his spark at Red Bull Arena
- Arturo Alvarez, SJ – Goal last week was Quakes' first tally of the year
- Edson Buddle, LA – Has scored all five of Galaxy's goals and is fantasy gold
- Omar Cummings, COL – Not to kick a team even more while it's down, but Toronto defense is not exactly impenetrable
- Collins John, CHI – DCU won't have either of it's starting centerbacks = too easy
- Brian McBride, CHI – Even with starting CBs, DCU allowing an average of three goals per game
- Landon Donovan, LA – Scoring in fantasy even if he's only assisting in real games
- Fredy Montero, SEA – Wizards D yet to concede a goal but hasn't faced anything like Sounders at Qwest
- Conor Casey, COL – Like Cummings, has great matchup against putrid Toronto back line
- Kei Kamara, KC – Two goals in two games, but faces a tough Sounders defense.
- Zack Schilawski, NE – Matched up against Ike Opara daily at Wake Forest practice; Hat-trick hero won't be surprised by San Jose's stellar rookie centerback
- Jeff Cunningham, DAL – Perhaps last week's PK gets last year's Golden Boot winner rolling
- Preki, TOR – Because he's the only one capable of earning six points and is likely to earn at least three
- Gary Smith, COL
- Dom Kinnear, HOU
- Steve Nicol, NE
- Sigi Schmid, SEA
- Bruce Arena, LA
- Carlos de los Cobos, CHI
- Hans Backe, NY
- Schellas Hyndman, DAL
- Jason Kreis, RSL
Soccer By Ives League Standings (Top 10)
1. ooooo MLS………………………….104 points
2. Zambezi Highlanders……………….103
5. Cpt. Pancakes and Lt………………..98
6. Vols FC………………………………97
8. BuckyBalls FC………………………..94
10. The Western District……………….93
10. the lone rangers…………………….93
Did you have Sebastien Le Toux and/or Zack Schilawski in your lineup last week? What's your lineup looking like this week? Who do you think is in for the biggest performances?
Share your thoughts below.