By CASEY CANNON
Hello and Welcome to the Soccer by Ives Fantasy Corner – now with fewer teams! Every week I dig through statistics, news, and rumors to provide the reader with the kind of fantasy advice that only Marco Di Vaio’s anger management coach can provide.
Last week I predicted 6 games. Of the two wild card games I correctly predicted both winners. I shorted the Sounders a goal in my prediction and while I called the Houston win. Of course, we all know the about the Montreal implosion.
While I went 6-1-1 predicting the outcomes of the games it was an up and down week for my team. The first games took me down with the Dynamo shutting out the Impact and my goalkeeper and a forward both earning red cards. I rebounded with some decidedly not flashy picks to end up about where I started. I climbed up one spot to 76th overall and stayed at 37th in the SBI soccer league. One more week until I have to decide to push for a real prize or tank to get the MLSLive package. Someone tell MLS HQ that scarfs are lame prizes.
Marmots refuses to relinquish his hold on the SBI league top spot. This weekend’s winner is Rino’s Vancouver SC scoring 72 points. While KFC Official is in the lead for the playoffs with 156 points so far.
The KFC Official guys are good folks but read below for advice on how to catch them.
Conference Semifinal Round
LA Galaxy @ Real Salt Lake - First let me say that I won’t be surprised to see this game go to PK’s. In the first 90 RSL has a 50% chance of straight win. The spreadsheet says RSL only has a 30% chance of a shutout, but personally I have that as 0%. This will be an exciting game to watch and I am looking forward to it. I am going with 2-1 in regulation, and 2-2 after extra time. LA advances on account of superior depth.
New England Revolution @ Sporting Kansas City - The Ivy Funds play at home this week. Home field and Graham Zusi will be the difference between the two teams. I expect a physical game that is unwatchable at times. If I were in Vegas I would take New England and the .5 goals. I’m not, so I will predict a very close game. The official prediction is New England collapses after a recorded message from Bob Kraft is played at halftime. In it he extols his team to follow the example of their captain, “Ja-wan Toe-ja.” 2-1 KC. Sporting KC advances.
Houston Dynamo @ New York Red Bulls In this game New York has a 50% chance to score 2 or more goals. 1-0 and 2-0 New York wins are the two most likely outcomes. Brad Davis will have to personally will his team to victory if Houston has any chance. I respect Brad Davis but I am going with 2-0 Red Bull win for New York to advance.
Portland @ Seattle Sounders Portland has a 50% shot at a shutout and 50% chance of scoring two or more goals . Seattle only has a 14% chance to score two or more goals. As soon as Portland scores the first goal all that is left to do is tally the fantasy points. 3-1 Portland. Portland advances.
New York Red Bulls @ Sporting Kansas City I expect another hard fought game that ends in a statistically likely 1-1 draw. That is, so long as Olave isn’t suspended. If Olave is suspended then I think a 2-1 KC win is likely. Kansas City can live with a suspended Colin—I expect him to get his second yellow against New England—because of their center back depth. New York has no such luxury.
Portland Timbers @ Los Angles Galaxy LA wins the opener easily. LA has a 54% chance to score two or more goals while they have a 49% chance of earning a shutout. I don’t think LA shuts out Portland but I expect a 2-1 Galaxy win. Don Garbers Dream LA vs New York Match up comes one step closer.
Individual picks – Conference Semifinals
Caparoo enabler – Karl Ouimette, Montreal Impact - Only 3.8 M and we know 100% for sure he won’t play. Players who are short on cash should consider using a trade for this guy.
Vice Captain – Tim Cahill, RBNY - Playing at home I think Cahill is likely to continue his excellent form. He has beaten his 5.6 PPG every week since September 22.
Caparoo guy Rodney Wallace, Portland Timbers - Wallace had a very disappointing two points last week. Playing at home with a 50% chance of a shutout makes Wallace too valuable to ignore. Earning a shutout would guarantee he beats his 5.9 PPG average.
Individual picks – Conference Finals
Vice Captain – Graham Zusi, Sporting KC - Last week Graham Zusi scored six points in a losing effort in new England. In a finals matchup hosting New York expect him to earn more points against a significantly weaker defense. Admittedly his points have been spotty the last few months; but at this point in the season there aren’t that many options left.
Caparoo guy- Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy – How can I ever trust Robbie Keane again? After throwing away TWO goals I won’t give him the armband again this season. Landon is a classic pick, not a differential pick. For sheer points he is the clear choice this week.
That’s all for today. I’ll be back next week to examine the carnage from this week and provide even more fantasy advice.