Something evil lurks on the horizon, and you had better start preparing now. I'm here to help, but before we get to that, we get to the week's leader and new overall leader. SGV Galaxy scored 112 points, on the strength of a captained Jack McInerney (PHI, $8.9M) and his 20 points. Just behind him, LA's Landon Donovan ($10.0M) led all scorers with 19 points over two games, and he would still have led overall scorers without his paltry 2-point output on Sunday against the Metros. Amobi Okugo (PHI, $7.3M) and Michel (DAL, $5.8M) each chipped in with 12 points. SGV Galaxy's 866 points overall provide an 8-point lead in the league.
Andy Gruenebaum (CLB, $5.2M) and Zac MacMath (PHI, $4.9M) held the co-lead among goalkeepers for the week with 9 points. MacMath recovered from his -1-point performance against LA in his midweek game by scoring 10 points against Chicago on the weekend. Carlo Cudicini (LA, $5.4M) used his two matches to post 8 points. DCU's Bill Hamid ($4.8M) came up with 5 points.
Philadelphia's Sheanon Williams ($4.8M) scored 13 points over two games to lead all defenders. Michel's 12 points were second, and Bakary Soumare (PHI, $4.7M) scored 10 points. For United, Dejan Jakovic ($5.3M) scored 4 points, while Chris Korb ($4.3M), Ethan White ($4.2M) and Daniel Woolard ($4.0M) scored 3 points. Taylor Kemp ($4.3M) started at left midfield and scored 1 point.
You already know that Landon Donovan was the league and positional leader in points this week. RSL's Ned Grabavoy ($7.4M) scored a brace en route to 13 points, while Amobi Okugo and Lamar Neagle (SEA, $5.6M) scored 12 points each, and Neagle's scored 3 goals and added an assist in his last two matches. Among D.C. United players, Kyle Porter ($4.8M) scored a goal and 7 points (25 points in 5 games). Chris Pontius ($8.1M) assisted Porter's goal en route to 4 points. Nick DeLeon ($7.4M) scored 3 points, Dwayne De Rosario ($9.4M) scored 2, and Perry Kitchen's ($5.6M) yellow card limited him to 1.
Galaxy forward Robbie Keane's (10.4M) 16 points led all forwards. Behind him, Eddie Johnson (SEA, $9.7M) scored 12 points, and both Jack McInerney and Camilo Sanvezzo (VAN, $7.6M) scored 10 points. Black and red forwards all scored 1 point each -- Lionard Pajoy ($7.7M), Casey Townsend ($5.6M), and Carlos Ruiz ($7.8M).
In the immediate future, Vancouver is the only team with a bye week. Portland is playing DC, so players like goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts ($5.1M, 56 points) and defender Rodney Wallace ($5.5M, 63 points) are worth a shout. Montreal, a competent offensive team, is back, so midfielder Patrice Bernier ($7.6M, 43 points) and forward Marco di Vaio ($8.5M, 45 points), though aging, are rested and should be playing.
Round 15 is a couple of weeks away, but you need to be looking toward it right now. Nine teams have a bye in round 15, and another 5 have a bye the next week. See the graphic at the right, where orange blocks are teams that are playing, and blue are byes. Two teams are off two weeks in a row. If you've made it this far without using your wild card, this may be the week to think about it. If you can't or don't want to use your wild card, you have two options: Try to cycle out your bye players over the next few weeks, or do nothing and just deal with the low point output for the week. Using your wild card or chipping away by transferring a couple of players per week is the best route from a points standpoint, but you will probably be exposed to the salary gap caused by selling good players that you've had for some time, which makes it more difficult to buy them back. For example, I would get $6.5M for selling Aurelien Collin, but right now he would cost $6.9M to buy him back. You may see some salaries drop as coaches drop players around the league because of the byes, but I would be shocked if it's enough to offset the differences in cost for the highest scoring players.
So what's the best course of action? I can't in good conscience say it makes more sense to hold onto all your players and essentially punt on week 15 and/or 16. What I'd recommend, if you have to drop high-scoring players, is to emphasize adding cheaper players than you drop so that you have wiggle room when it comes to add guys back. For example, I replaced George John (who's been injured, of course, but scoring well) with Portland's Futty Danso and banked over $1.0M. Of course Danso then went and screwed things up by getting sent off this week, so I have now replaced him with teammate Andrew Baptiste for just $0.1M more. You may not be able to add all of the players you had back, but you'll accrue a little salary cap room at a time so you can buy back as many as possible.