Major League Soccer fanatics rejoice: a new season of MLS Fantasy has launched on MLSsoccer.com and the MLS app, inviting supporters to build a fantasy team and compete for major prizes throughout the year.
Before the campaign begins, make sure to read up on the MLS Fantasy game and how it works. Having finished that step, you’ll be ready to build a star-studded squad with $100 million at your disposal.
Like in years past, several Sporting players appear to be solid options for your fantasy team. In fact, MLSsoccer.com has identified five members of Sporting as some of the best picks at their respective positions.
Pulido enjoyed a brilliant first season in MLS as one of the league’s most well-rounded attackers last year. Tallying team-highs with six goals and five assists in 12 regular season appearances, the forward led MLS newcomers and ranked third overall with 0.92 combined goals and assists per game.
Extrapolate Pulido’s productivity last year over the course of 34 matches, or a full MLS season, and you get 17 goals and 12 assists. Those are MLS MVP-type numbers. It would be asking a lot for him to sustain that level over an entire seven-month campaign, but if 2020 was any indication, he's certainly capable of it.
That’s right—Sporting has two of the top nine most valuable forwards in the game. In three superb seasons with Sporting, Russell has amassed 27 goals and 30 assists in 96 competitive matches. The club’s newly designated captain was tied for the team lead with six goals in the 2020 regular season—including two game-winners—and placed second with four assists.
It should be noted that Russell is one of only five MLS players with a combined 20 goals and 20 assists over the last three regular seasons, joining Carlos Vela, Diego Valeri, Alberth Elis and Darwin Quintero.
Melia is one of the league’s most consistent goalkeepers and one of the best to play the position in Kansas City history. The 34-year-old started 24 matches in all competitions last year, including 20 appearances and an 11-5-3 record in the regular season with seven shutouts and a 1.06 goals against average.
Much has been said Melia’s perfect and utterly ridiculous 6-0 record in penalty shootouts throughout his professional career. But his penalty saving exploits have extended into the regular season, too, where he has conceded only 14 of 26 penalties faced as an MLS keeper. That penalty goals conceded rate of .538 is the lowest in MLS history among goalkeepers who have faced at least 10 penalties.
Puncec appeared in all but one of Sporting’s 21 regular season matches last year, starting 18, and went the full 90 minutes in each of the club’s seven shutout efforts. He started 22 off 24 games in all competitions and finished with a team-high 2,065 minutes among field players. The Croatian also led the team last season in passes (910), successful passes (793), interceptions (25), clearances (59) and blocks (11).
Sporting will open their 2021 campaign on Saturday, visiting the New York Red Bulls in a 7 p.m. CT kickoff on Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM. That same night, supporters are invited to attend the Season Kickoff presented by Michelob Ultra as Sporting hosts an outdoor watch party at Children's Mercy Park.