The Weekend Kickoff: Philadelphia vs FC Dallas / by Harrison Crow

by Harrison Crow (@harrison_crow)

Are you ready for the weekend? Time to finish up those reports, take out the trash at your desk, and start up the stream. I'm not about to start singing Rebecca Black but I am super excited about MLS having Friday night matches. Let's talk a little bit about the game tonight and then what's on tap for the rest of the weekend.

The Burn go to Chester in a match-up of two teams that seem to always be underrated by journalists and pundits alike. The Union hope to be fitted for their glass slippers while Dallas looks to graduate from their carriage turning into a pumpkin. Grab some popcorn; this should be a good one.



Philadelphia Union:

The Union are a team that has a national narrative that seems to constantly skew towards being them being average rather than a club that seems one or two steps away from being a top club in the East. Just always a shot short defensively or on the attack.

A team that is lead by the veteran prowess of Sebastian Le Toux, the tenacity of Conor Casey and the quiet Cristian Maidana, this is a team that has no superstars but may have a budding one in Venezuelan Fernando Aristeguieta, who ranks 10th in expected goals in this early season.

Their team defense over the past few seasons has ranged between bad-to-terrible, but has shown improvement so far in a small sample size. They currently rank fifth in the league and with it are looking to progress from the bottom of the table defensive performances in back-to-back seasons.

FC Dallas:

One of the most underrated defensive teams over the last few years is FC Dallas. A partnership of Matt Hedges and Zach Lloyd has shown more than promise and did the near impossible last fall in holding the Sounders to a lone goal over 180 minutes, a random Ozzie Alonso header, during the post-season.

Dallas is a team that, much like Philadelphia Union, seemed just one great moment away from facing the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference finals. That moment may have never come last year but much of the roster is returned (72% of the total minutes) and with a healthy Mauro Diaz they may just stand as a dark horse contender for the MLS Cup.

MLS FAntasy perspective:

Blas Perez has been great in this early season. He's a dominant and physical forward that has compiled the second most fantasy points to date on the back of his three goals scored. While he is rocking our "Mr. Luck" title sitting +1.75 goals minus expected goals, he's still compiled the 5th highest expected goals. I fully expect he's going to continue getting these scoring opportunities.

Chris Seitz has possibly been the surprise of the season as we head into week three as the top keeper in MLS fantasy. This is on the heels of Dallas acquiring Dan Kennedy in the off-season. His defense has done a dynamite job of limiting scoring opportunities, something they did exceptionally well the past two seasons.

Aristeguieta as previously mentioned sits 10th in MLS with expected goals and while Perez has been on the lucky side of things, Aristeguieta has been too. He has great providers too but he's going up against a staunch defense that has a history of being good and in their home environment that tends to give the opponent an advantage. Something to consider.

The weekend match-ups:

Montreal Impact (0.07) @ New England (-1.38)

New England hasn't been good this season and is still missing Jones while Montreal has surprised some people with their early-season success.

New York City (0.89) @ Colorado Rapids (-1.97)

NYC may just be a legit team and the Rapids are perhaps the worst club in MLS. We may find out at altitude in Commerce City.

Vancouver Whitecaps (0.18) @ Orlando City (0.15)

This could be the best game on the docket. 

Portland Timbers (0.30) @ Sporting Kansas City (0.91)

Another tough gambit for Caleb Porter and company. The game favors SKC who is still putting up fantastic numbers.

Houston Dynamo (-0.55) @ LA Galaxy (0.95)

A team that has gotten a bit lucky early vs the defending champs. It will be interesting to see where the teams land with the luck settles.

DC United (-0.07) @ New York Red Bulls (-2.09)

It's hard to try and predict anything when two rivals play, but NYRB needs BWP to show up this match.

Chicago Fire (-1.08) @ San Jose Earthquakes (-0.81)

Quakes might not be terrible, while the Fire probably are.

*number in parentheses is our expected goal differential in even game states