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2024 MLS Fantasy Soccer: Sounders Preview and DGW 1

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The 2024 MLS season is about to start, so it is time to get your MLS Fantasy lineups set! With rolling lockout times, all the Miami and RSL players will be locked Wednesday at 5 PM PST. It's time to get signed up if you aren't already, and join our public league, the Sounder at Heart Open Division. If you can't join via the link, the league code is PP5FYH3N. We currently have more than 120 members, which, as far as I can tell, makes it the largest public league by more than 30 members. Join us! There are also some head-to-head league openings if you find us on Discord.

2024 Seattle Sounders Fantasy Preview

Locked-in starters and Week 1 plays

The Sounders have been largely anointed as the Western Champion in waiting, considering that many expect the Western Conference to have a weak year. Will that translate to Fantasy success as well? I sure hope so!

For week 1, the Sounders are visiting LAFC, the team that knocked them out at home in the playoffs last year. It figures to be a tough matchup given LAFC's success, but the Sounders should be tough on the road. In 2021 the Sounders had 29 points at home and 31 points on the road and in 2023 the split was 27 home/26 road points. (p.s., don't look at 2022, that year was an abyss and we have moved on). So, feel free to start any Sounders you like while they're on the road, if you would otherwise start them at home.

Let's take a look at how the roster breaks down:

Goalkeepers: Stefan Frei $6.5M, Andrew Thomas $5M, Jacob Castro $4M.

Frei is the locked-in starter and had the highest point average among goalkeepers last year, which is not surprising given the Sounders had the league's best defense. Hard to go wrong starting him most weeks. You might hold off in week 1 though, as the road match in LA may prove one of the toughest road trips and the team might be playing without João Paulo, Alex Roldán, and Yeimar.

Defenders: Yeimar $6.5M, Jackson Ragen $6M, Alex Roldán $6M, Nouhou $6M, Xavier Arreaga $6M, Nathan $6M, Cody Baker $5M, Jonathan Bell $5M, Stuart Hawkins $4M.

Yeimar, Ragen, Roldán and Nouhou are locked-in starters to begin the season. However, with Yeimar and Roldan not quite ready to begin the season, it seems we will likely see Nathan and Cody Baker starting Week 1. Yeimar, Ragen and Roldán all scored roughly the same in 2022, averaging 4.85, 4.88 and 4.72, respectively. Nouhou lagged behind with an average of 3.21, which is due to his sub appearances dragging down his average, missing some clean sheets, and lacking the offensive scoring that Roldán earns. Ragen will be a decent play for week 1.

If you want to use either Nathan or Baker, make sure to check the lineups as you might need to adjust (and can do so up until kickoff). Arreaga's familiarity with the team might win out in Week 1 on the road and Baker could be bumped if Roldan improves or Schmetzer wants to adjust the lineup/formation given the Sounders' struggles to score in the preseason.

Over the long term, Nouhou might give way to Reed Baker-Whiting (who is listed as a midfielder) in the starting lineup, a move I would expect if the Sounders continue to have goalscoring issues.

Midfielders: Pedro de la Vega $8M, João Paulo $8M, Cristian Roldán $7.5M, Albert Rusnák $7.5M, Leó Chú $6.5M, Obed Vargas $6.5M, Josh Atencio $6.5M, Reed Baker-Whiting $6M, Dylan Teves $5M, Danny Leyva $5M, Sota Kitahara $4M

JP, Cristian Roldán and Rusnák are locked-in starters in the Sounders' 4-2-3-1. It seems likely that Leó Chú will begin the season as a starter and give way to de la Vega once he is integrated. Atencio is the presumptive starter next to JP until he falls (back) out of favor for Vargas or Leyva, or until Rusnák is moved back on the field to accommodate two forwards or keeping Chú in the lineup alongside de la Vega.

Of these options, Chú is a good buy since he is priced as a backup but seems likely to begin the season as a starter. Roldán and Rusnák are dependable options that are priced fairly, while JP is possibly overpriced for how much he actually scores. De la Vega is the wildcard, he could be a standout for the Sounders when he gets going, or he might have to sit behind more established options. I'd wait to add him. Baker-Whiting is a long-term option if he can get healthy and earn a starting spot somewhere on the field, he's got as much potential as anyone.

Forwards: Jordan Morris $7.5M, Raúl Ruidíaz $7M, Braudillo Rodrigues $5.5M, Paul Rothrock $4M. (Musovski: missing)

Morris is the headliner here, a locked-in forward starter at $7.5M. That is a major bargain if you expect the Sounders to start scoring in line with their potential. Ruidíaz could also be a steal, but he has to earn his way back into the lineup and show that last year was an aberration. With much bigger stars across the league, and only three Forward slots, it might be difficult to fit either into your lineup.

Rodrigues seems mispriced considering his place on the depth chart, and Musovski is not yet available for selection (MLS seems to have not processed recent transfers and signings yet). Rothrock seems like an interesting bench stash option since he is priced at the minimum and could end up as an impact sub with spot starts depending on availability.

My week 1 picks: For week 1, I have Baker and Chú on my team, ready to swap in through a switcheroo (one of my starters is not playing, so whoever of the two on my bench scores the most will swap in to cover the spot). If I was going with the maximum three Sounders, I would also run Cristian Roldán, who I like just a bit better this year than Rusnák. Frei, Ragen, and Morris are other totally reasonable options for Week 1.

Double Game Week 1

Assessing options from Miami and RSL

One of the most important parts of fantasy soccer is leveraging double-game weeks to their fullest potential. These are players who get two games in the same week, so have the opportunity to score twice the points of other, similar players. They can be risky, especially midseason when a team might rotate most of their roster to give key players a rest, but the point potential is, obviously, twice as high for these players. And this year starts off with two teams on a double-game week, Inter Miami CF (aka Team Messi) and Real Salt Lake. Notably, RSL plays both games on the road (the second against STL), while Miami hosts on Wednesday and then travels cross-country to play in LA (Carson) against the Galaxy on Sunday.


You have no shortage of headliner options in Miami, starting with none other than Leo Messi at $10M. Plenty of stars follow, including Luis Suarez at $9M, Sergio Busquets at $8M, Leo Campana at $8M, Julian Gressel at $7.5M and Jordi Alba at $6.5M. Messi is, unsurprisingly, far and away the most-owned player at 45% ownership (and likely the most captained player this week) while Gressel is at 24% and Alba is at 19%.

Personally, I am rolling with Messi and Suarez at forward, with Messi as my captain. I am choosing to ignore Miami's poor preseason where Messi scored zero goals from open play across 250 minutes because, well, it's Messi and Suarez. They have nothing to prove whatsoever and I have no doubt they'll score plenty of goals this year.

Beyond them, Gressel has been starting as the right mid/winger with David Ruiz on the left and Alba, Tomás Avilés and DeAndre Yedlin have started across the backline. Busquets is expected to be back from injury against RSL as the defensive mid, while Avilés has been joined by Sergii Kryvtsov and Noah Allen in a 3-CB group and Allen/Nicolas Freire in 2-CB pairings. MLS Soccer Staff expect Kryvtsov to shake out as the 2nd CB with Avilés in a 4-man backline, but it's anybody's guess who starts in the Week 1 games.

Of these options, I am going with Avilés at $6M over Alba at $6.5M or Gressel at $7.5M. Alba and Gressel have higher upside, but Avilés is at a good price and is still just 19-years-old. I think he can take a step forward this year.


Real Salt Lake is a little trickier to pick from this year. Though they finished 5th in the Western Conference last year, every MLS Soccer staff "expert" predicted they will have a worse finish this year. Of course, they are still expected to be in the thick of the playoff hunt, and Diego Luna has a bit of hype as the potential Young Player of the Year. They will be dangerous and will win games you otherwise wish they wouldn't.

The most popular options from RSL are Diego Luna (20% owned, $7M), Cristian Arango (19% owned, $8.5M), Justen Glad (17% owned, $6M) and Pablo Ruiz (16% owned, 7.5M). Luna is fresh off of a USMNT camp and expected to take a step forward this year, but I'm not rolling with him yet considering his actual fantasy points weren't that great last year. He did close the year with goals in the last two regular season matches and two goals in the playoffs, but those four goals came from 7 shots, and just five (!?) shots on target. That does not seem sustainable to me. Arango is a proven striker, is in his prime at 28 and fresh off obtaining his green card. He's worth the price in a DGW to me. Ruiz is simply a solid playmaker while Glad is a veteran CB that is going to give you a consistent performance.

No one else on the team stands out as better options, especially as new attacking midfield signing Matt Crooks is not yet available for selection (and probably is not likely to start so soon, anyway). If you want a differential play, you might check to see if Anderson Julio ($7M) is starting tomorrow at forward next to Arango. He's had some goals in preseason and RSL's games might come with plenty of goals.

Thanks everyone for sticking around, and I hope you found my musings helpful. Good luck this year!