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FIFA 18: Sporting KC Simulation - Part III

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The transfer window (including a DP level #9) and the conclusion of the season and the playoffs (yes, playoffs).

MLS: FIFA18 Launch Event Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Before we dive into the end of this simulation, it’s important to see how we got here.

Summer Transfer Window

Before we can conclude Sporting Kansas City’s simulated FIFA season, we have to get through the summer transfer window. We didn’t have the opportunity to add a Designated Player #9 until this point and there was some consideration to not making a move since the team was in 1st. However, wing depth was lacking with Daniel Salloi being forced to place CF for an under-performing Diego Rubio.

At the midpoint we had scouted a stupid 455 players, of which the majority were strikers. So there were lots of options. The team had plenty of money to spend, but in an effort to be realistic I decided to avoid players with the “World Class” designation. My thoughts were that the player should be at least as highly ranked as Gerso (75) and Felipe (75) who are the best two offensive players. I was also looking with a player with high stamina so I could play him lots without much rest.

This was surprisingly limiting based on the players I had scouted since most of them fell in the low 70s overall. In the middle of my attempts to find a new striker, the New York Red Bulls paid a $2.7 million release clause for Daniel Salloi. To stop that move I promptly offered him a raise and extended his contract five years and he agreed not to leave.

Before a CF signing was made Diego Rubio broke a rib and was set to be out six weeks, meaning there was essentially no CF depth. It was starting to get late in the window so Sporting had to spend. We signed striker Callum Wilson from Premier League side Bournemouth where he has scored 39 goals in his (real life) career. He’s a 77 overall and is immediately the highest rather player on the team. It cost $16.3 million (but remember Gerso was $10 million plus per the game).

(In a bit of FIFA 18 nonsense, when players are within six months of being out of contract you can sign them on a free transfer — which is a real thing. However, in MLS players just don’t move that way. I couldn’t stop myself from going crazy with free transfers, which won’t join until after this simulation, but if we continue this simulation further, Sporting KC will have a stupid amount of good players including Krisztian Nemeth, Fanendo Adi, Luciano Acosta, Darlington Nagbe, Kemar Lawrence and Alexander Ring. Nonsense.)

In another move before the summer window closed Sporting KC signed Bruno Tabata for $3.9 million. He is a 20-year-old winger from Portimonense in Brazil who will add valuable depth as he’s rated 70 overall. Which is much better than playing a 64 overall in the instance where there is an injury.

Other Offers Received (But Turned Down)

  • Roger Espinoza to New England Revolution ($2.9 million)
  • Tim Melia to Mainz [Bundesliga] ($3.8 million)
  • Jimmy Medranda to Bologna [Serie A] ($5.6 million)
  • Ike Opara to Mainz [Bundesliga] ($8.2 million — realistically, I’d have taken this if it wouldn’t have been punting on this season)
  • Graham Zusi to NY Red Bulls ($2.6 million)
  • Daniel Salloi to Hanover 96 [Bundesliga] ($4.7 million)
  • Matt Besler to Udinese [Serie A] ($5.1 million)

US Open and the Rest of the Season

Before we could lock in a striker, Sporting KC beat New York City FC with an 88th minute winner from Croizet to make the semi-finals. After a full extra-time period and penalty kicks the Open Cup run came to an end with a 4-3 PKs loss to D.C. United.

The Tabata signing would turn out to be needed because right after the transfer window closed, Gerso went down for two months with an LCL injury. But in Tabata’s second appearance he broke his Tibia and missed the rest of the season. Injuries!!

Despite the injuries, Sporting KC finished 3rd in the Western Conference. FC Dallas was first, Seattle Sounders second, Colorado Rapids fourth and Real Salt Lake fifth. In FIFA 18, only five teams get in from each conference, which is inaccurate, but seems more fair. RSL and the Rapids play a knockout game first.

In the East it went Orlando City, Atlanta United, Toronto FC, New York Red Bulls and New York City FC. Orlando ended with the Supporter’s Shield with 80(!) points, 15 ahead of FC Dallas’ 2nd place finish.

Playoffs

In the middle of the playoffs, per the usual, an international window occurred. SKC was ravaged with call ups from Tim Melia, Ike Opara, Graham Zusi and Jaylin Lindsey (both of our RBs) to the United States. Plus Jimmy Medranda, Amer Didic (how bad is Canada that 55 rated Didic is called up?) and Milan Borjan.

In the first leg against the Sounders the teams battled to a 1-1 draw. In the second leg, Medranda scored in the 74th minute to force extra time and a single minute in Zusi scored a PK to advance past Seattle. Fullback power!

The Conference Finals were against FC Dallas but just days later, so instead of playing exhausted players, in a very un-PV move, I played a backup heavy lineup that pulled off a 1-1 draw. In the second leg Ilie Sanchez scored an 83rd minute winner to push SKC to MLS Cup. The game did have bad news. Both Matt Besler and Graham Zusi picked up yellow card accumulation suspensions for MLS Cup.

Toronto FC is the opponent SKC were set to face with them having gone through Atlanta then Orlando to get there. For the final Felipe missed a PK in the 2nd minute! But Medranda scored in the 34th to give Sporting the lead. Jozy Altidore leveled the score in the 60th minute. But in the 64th minute, after replacing Gerso on the wing, Daniel Salloi scored the game winner! Sporting KC, MLS Cup Champions!!! That’s a result anyone can get behind.

Stats, Progression and Observations

First, all stats include preseason, regular season and playoffs (hence the high appearances). The Wilson DP signing was a bust. All that money and just a single assist. Tabata was a bust because of injury. So the actual Sporting KC roster that we started with worked out pretty well. The goals did come, but not from strikers. Salloi played some left wing, but he played a lot of striker minutes too and even with his five goals, #9’s only accounted for six total goals (Rubio with one, Shelton with none).

Russell scored 13, Medranda had 10 (!) and Gerso and Felipe had eight. Then there were lots of other small contributors. Scoring by committee is Sporting’s plan in real life and it played out in FIFA 18. Another point is how many games all these guys played. Very true to life, though the reserves got a lot more time than what typically happens in the real world.

Simulated Sporting KC FIFA 18 Stats

Name Rating Final Rating Rating Gain App Goals Assists
Name Rating Final Rating Rating Gain App Goals Assists
Callum Wilson 77 78 1 11 0 1
Gerso 75 76 1 33 8 2
Felipe 75 76 1 40 8 11
Ike Opara 75 76 1 38 1 2
Matt Besler 74 74 0 40 0 0
Tim Melia 74 74 0 36 0 0
Jimmy Medranda 70 74 4 35 10 2
Ilie 72 73 1 41 4 1
Daniel Salloi 68 73 5 38 5 0
Yohan Croizet 71 72 1 37 5 7
Jaylin Lindsey 62 72 10 8 0 0
Graham Zusi 71 71 0 40 4 0
Roger Espinoza 71 70 -1 23 2 1
Johnny Russell 70 70 0 38 13 4
Bruno Tabata 70 70 0 2 0 0
Cristian Lobato 69 69 0 16 2 1
Diego Rubio 68 69 1 26 1 1
Milan Borjan 69 69 0 8 0 0
Seth Sinovic 67 65 -2 14 1 0
Kharlton Belmar 64 65 1 9 0 0
Khiry Shelton 63 65 2 21 0 0
James Musa 63 65 2 10 0 1
Emiliano Amor 63 64 1 12 0 0
Matt Lewis 62 63 1 8 0 0
Zach Wright 60 61 1 5 0 0
Adrian Zendejas 59 61 2 2 0 0
Colton Storm 58 59 1 0 0 0
Amer Didic 54 55 1 0 0 0

All in all, this is an outcome we can all get behind. It’s good that FIFA 18 gives Sporting support for their depth, despite badly botching their stats at the beginning.