MLS Fantasy Preview: Gameweek 9 player picks and tips

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Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) gestures after scoring late in the second half of a Leagues Cup soccer match against Cruz Azul, Friday, July 21, 2023, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Not an awful performance in MLS Gameweek 8, but not anything to write home about either. 84 points was enough for a small green arrow and a weekly rank of 1034, and a new overall rank of 896 heading into gameweek 9. 

What went right? 

Honestly, most of my picks hit last weekend, but very few had multiple-goal contributions. Matt Freese in GK, and Dlyan Nealis and Tomas Totland in defense got me 7 points each. Ryan Gauld, Santi Rodriguez, Cristian Espinoza and Evander were all solid picks in the midfield, as well as Brian White and Christian Benteke up top, each scoring a goal.  

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Erik Thommy (26) celebrates after a score during the first half of an MLS soccer match against Inter Miami, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Nick Tre. Smith)

Where did I miss in MLS Gameweek 8? 

I thought the Red Bulls’ offense was the sure bet last weekend, but that’s where I missed the most. An early Red Card for Andres Reyes took Dante Vanzeir out of the game before halftime and resulted in just 5 points for Lewis Morgan who was my captain for the weekend. 10 points for your captain isn’t awful, but it could have been much better and could have contributed to a much better weekly rank if I had put the “C” on Evander 


Philadelphia Union are the team on a bye this week, so target their players for your Switcheroos, Autoroos and Keeperoos. No teams are on a double-game week. 

Player Picks 


Kristijan Kahlina – $6.6m – Vs Minnesota United

Steve Clark – $6.9m – Vs Austin Fc 

Tim Melia – $6.1m – Vs St Louis City SC 

Zach Steffen – $5.5m – Vs Dallas Fc 

Not a ton of great options this week. I’ll likely go with my favorite Saturday Keeper on my bench, with Kahlina as my backup in case he doesn’t work out 


Brooks Lennon – $9.4m – Vs FC Cincinnati 

Julian Gressel – $7.1m – Vs Nashville SC 

Andrew Privett – $6.6m – Vs Minnesota United 

Thiago Martins – $7.2m – Vs DC United 

Micael dos Santos – $7.7m – Vs Austin FC 

Malte Amundsen – $8.0m – Vs Portland Timbers 

Like GKs, clean sheets might be few and far between in gameweek 9. I’m going for a mix of clean sheet potential picks and ones with offensive upside. 


Riqui Puig – $12m – Vs San Jose Earthquakes 

Joseph Paintsil – $11.1m – Vs San Jose Earthquakes 

Thiago Almada – $10.9m – Vs FC Cincinnati 

Evander – $11m – @ Columbus Crew 

Santi Rodriguez – $10m – Vs DC United 

Amine Bassi – $8.7m – Vs Austin Fc 

Djordje Mihailovic – $7.9m – FC Dallas

Diego Gomez – $6.1m – Vs Nashville SC 

Erik Thommy – $8.5m – Vs St Louis City SC 

Mateusz Bogusz – $8m – Vs New York Red Bulls

I’m really high on Galaxy’s offense this week and wouldn’t argue with triple-stacking there. Other good picks look to be Almada, Santi Rodriguez, Amine Bassi, and maybe even someone from Colorado’s midfield. Evander, even on the road, looks to be a safe pick week in and week out for solid point production even without scoring.  

CORRECTS TO SUNDAY NOT SATURDAY – Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) dribbles the ball past Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Edwin Cerrillo (20) during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)


Lionel Messi – $12m – Vs Nashville SC 

Cucho Hernandez – $11.6m – Vs Portland Timbers

Dejan Joveljic – $10.9m – Vs San Jose Earthquakes 

Luis Suarez – $11.7m – Vs Nashville 

Josef Martinez – $7.6m – Vs Orlando City SC 

Denis Bouanaga – $11.4m – Vs New York Red Bulls

Raul Ruizdiaz – $8.9m – Vs Vancouver Whitecaps 

Willy Agada – $8.1m – Vs St Louis City SC

Ibrahim Aliyu – $7.9m – Vs Austin FC 

Rafael Navarro – $7.6m – Vs Dallas FC 

The big names for me this week are Messi, Cucho, and Joveljic, but I think cheaper names like Josef Martinez, Willy Agada, Raul Ruidiaz and Rafael Navarro might bring returns in gameweek 9 and allow you to spend your budget elsewhere 

Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) dribbles the ball under pressure from Orlando City midfielder Martín Ojeda (11) and Orlando City defender Rafael Santos (3) during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)


Lionel Messi 

Cucho Hernandez 

Riqui Puig/ Joseph Paintsil 

The best option for me this week is Messi at home against Nashville, as long as he starts. Cucho could be a solid pick at home against Portland, and I think Galaxy have a number of good shouts against San Jose. I’m between Messi and Puig this week

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell