This season us FPL addicts face the bleakest summer ever. There are no Euros. No World Cup. No Copa America. No Asia Cup. I guess we do have the Confederations Cup, but honestly, is that going to scratch your FPL itch on the beach while the kids pour sand on your head and bury you under a giant sand castle?
How about Fantasy MLS? FMLS is the second biggest non-premiership Fantasy Football game in the world, and the season opens on the 4th March (3rd March in US of A, 4th March in all points East). Yes, not long to go! It is the perfect way to us busy this summer.
Yet FMLS is slightly more complicated than FPL. But we are here to hold your hand and make it easy. You can trust us because we have won Fantasy MLS Blog of the year for two years running. And it’s all thanks to Ivan. Our maveric site regular who thankfully has returned this year with this three part introduction to Fantasy MLS. In this first article he will wet your appetite with an MLS entrée. Part Two will be aimed purely at first time managers, think of it as MLS for the beans on toast chef. Part Three will be aimed at those of us who have played before, Michelin starred MLS. So, over to Ivan…
How did we get into MLS?
Two years ago Zorro and Midnight suggested a few of us regulars try Fantasy MLS. I refused at first, not knowing much about it. However, after looking into the crystal ball and seeing a long lonely summer of no price change worries, no transfer concerns, no blank game week frustrations, I thought “Yeah, why not. Could be fun”.
It turned out to be great fun, I fell in love and started writing articles about it. With a lot of hard work, research, and excellent debate and shared intelligence from all FF1st members, we went on to win the best MLS blog of the year consecutively in 2015 and 2016. A huge team achievement.
Debunk the myths
I guess we need to debunk a few myths first.
MLS has been named the geriatric home for all players on their old leg. Partly I agree but mostly disagree. We had world famous stars like Beckham, Villa, Drogba, Kaka, Lampard, Gerrard, and perhaps some not-quite-as-famous stars like Bradley Wright Phillips and Dom Dyer. However, the teams are limited in the number of international players they can have. In 2016 there were a maximum of 160 international player “slots” in the MLS. These were divided between the 20 clubs, with clubs trading slots so some had more and some had less. This means the teams are packed full of domestic talent, for example, Giovinco, Kljestan, Piatti, Diaz, Badji, Feilhaber and many more.
The second myth is that this is for America only. There are teams from Canada in the MLS too! Indeed this season there are 22 teams from the two geographically huge countries.
The geography of North America poses problems for the teams, fans and schedule. In the UK we complain when Newcastle have to travel to Plymouth for an FA Cup game, yet in North America the scale is so much bigger. Therefore, the teams are divided into two “leagues” called Conferences. There is the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Each Conference has eleven teams. Even then the distances can be huge. Vancouver fans following their team, the Whitecaps, playing away at Houston Dynamo will face a 4,888 mile 78 hour round trip.
There are 33 rounds in the regular season. Yet there are 11 teams! The mathematically astute will have worked out that with home and away fixtures that is only 20 games. So what gives! Well the teams will play cross-conference games too. For example, Portland Timbers entertain the New York Red Bulls on the 20th August this year.
They also have a brilliant thing ran twice a year called the “Heineken Rivalry Week” where local rivals square up to each other, and a “California Clasico”. Be prepared for razzmatazz.
Have a go
Our upcoming articles will help you with your team, but if you can’t wait then try building a FMLS team today. Post it here and get help from the MLS regulars. Also join our mini-leagues. The code for the league is 557-398 and the code for the head-to-head is 557-399. Lastly, we will soon bring you news of our My Rules game too.
Best of luck.