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The Armband: FMLS Round 32 Captain Rankings

Adam Zdroik

Adam writes on sports ranging from NFL and MLB to soccer and college basketball. Outside of writing, he has worked with a professional soccer team, Sporting Kansas City, and in the stats department at ESPN. He is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate.

The season is winding down, which means the schedule is starting to make sense. For the final two rounds of the MLS Fantasy season, every team plays on Oct. 15 and Oct. 22 and thatís it. There are no teams with two matches or without one. And while some of the better players are coming off international play, itís unlikely the ones battling for playoff position will be rested.

The teams that stand out due to matchups include Chicago (v. PHI), Toronto (v. MTL), Portland (v. DC), Seattle (v. DAL), Kansas City (v. HOU) and Vancouver (v. SJ). Iíll mainly focus on players from those teams, but there are still a few studs that deserve consideration for the armband.

After a rough stretch, the Fire have come around and taken points in five of their last six, so a home match against a team out of the playoff hunt should prove fruitful. The Union have just three points from their last five road matches and scored only four goals in that period. Nemanja Nikolic has come alive in the past month with five goals and an assist in his last five starts. Heíll be easier to trust than anyone else on the roster as long as heís given a full 90, with others like Bastian Schweinsteiger getting rested ahead of the playoffs.

Sebastian Giovinco is expected to return against Montreal, but I wouldn't be confident in him playing 90 minutes with Toronto already having the top seed locked up. Still, the Impact have allowed seven goals in their last three road matches, while Toronto have scored at least three goals in eight of their last nine overall. With Jozy Altidore possibly being rested, Iím keen on Victor Vazquez for the armband, who has been their best fantasy player of late with four goals and six assists in his last eight starts.

Fanendo Adi could be back for the Timbers, but Iím not willing to back him in his first minutes in close to two months. Diego Valeri is the best choice from Portland going against a D.C. side that has allowed 20 goals in its last seven road matches. Valeri is coming off a stretch in which he found the back of the net in nine straight games and added two assists. If you want consistency for your captain, Valeri is your guy.

Iím hesitant to back a Sounders player against Dallas, but Nicolas Lodeiro is always near the top of the list, despite failing to surpass four fantasy points in three of the last four. Joevin Jones would be the better option if Dallas werenít pressing for points, and theyíve also just given up one goal in the last three matches.

Itís almost the same for SKC because their production has varied throughout the season. Diego Rubio came off the bench Wednesday, so he should be ready to start after scoring four goals and adding an assist in his last four starts. I prefer Rubio slightly ahead of Ilie Sanchez, who has five fantasy points in three of his last five starts. Sportingís back line hasn't been as good and the absence of Tim Melia is relevant for anyone hoping for a clean sheet.

The Whitecaps have had a couple bad road losses, but that doesnít change their four wins in six home matches. While a clean sheet may not be there, theyíve scored 10 goals in their last four at BC Place. The Earthquakes have one of the worst road differentials in the league (10 goals scored, 38 allowed) so Iíd put money on Vancouver scoring at least twice. Only one guy stands out with Fredy Montero scoring twice and assisting three times in his last three home matches.

Itís never good to bet against David Villa, but the Revs have been incredible at home this season with 11 wins in 16 tries. Dom Dwyer could be set for another one of his big matches and heíd be a useful differential play to make a late move in the standings. The Crew are allowing two goals per match on the road and Dwyer has reached 15 fantasy points in two of the last four. I also remain a supporter of Yoshimar Yotun for captain after he came through for me a couple weeks ago.

Atlanta are playing great, but Iím not betting on them in New York. As for the Red Bulls, Sacha Kljestan and Bradley Wright-Phillips have been hard to trust in recent matches so Iíd stay away. In fact, Daniel Royer may be the safer play with eight goals and two assists in the last six matches in which heís played more than 60 minutes. Last but not least, Romain Alessandrini is in a great spot at home against Minnesota, but Iím not sure you want to trust your captain with anyone on the Galaxy right now.