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FuddledFox

MLS in FMM18: A Beginners Guide


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This year will see the MLS feature in FMM for the first time and I’m personally very excited about having this new league to play with. In this guide I will take you through how the competitions work. As with many American sports it isn’t a simple system and for a European like myself it can be a bit of a mind bender trying to get your head around how it all works.

Competitions

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The MLS Cup is very sexy.

In a single season you have the chance to win 4 domestic trophies. It’s also worth noting that there is no promotion/relegation in the MLS. This is something that many MLS fans are protesting as they want it introduced.

  • MLS Eastern/Western Conference. This depends where your team is geographically in the U.S. as to which Conference you are in. The top 6 in each Conference qualify for the playoffs.
  • MLS Supporters Shield. This is a combined league table for both Conferences and the winner here is crowned regular season champion. It got its name due to the fact supporters from a number of MLS clubs grouped together to pay for a trophy to present to the regular season champions and has since been recognised by MLS as a major trophy.
  • MLS Cup. This is the end of season playoffs which the Americans love so much in there sports. The winner of this is crowned the Champion of the MLS for that season. This is what every club is aiming for at the start of the season.
  • US Cup. This is the US FA Cup and is played as a straight knockout. It also features lower league teams.

You also have the chance to compete in 2 continental competitions.

  • North American Champions League (NACL). This takes place between February and May and features the best club sides from North America. The Mexican clubs will be your biggest competition for the title here. The U.S.A. has 4 qualifying spots which are given to MLS Cup winner, Supporters Shield winner, the winner of the other Conference and the winner of the US Cup.
  • World Club Cup. If you win the NACL you get the chance to compete against the best clubs in the world in this tournament held every December.

How does the MLS work?

The MLS has 22 member clubs (franchise’s in America but sorry I’m English so they are clubs) and they are divided into 2 Conferences East and West with 11 teams in the East and 12 in the West. During the regular season each team plays 34 games and it doesn’t take a maths genius to work out that that doesn’t seem the correct amount of matches for a straight home and away system. This is how it works.

  • You play each team in your Conference home and away (20 games).
  • You play 3 teams in your Conference again (3 games)
  • You play 11 teams in the other conference once (11 games).

The 2 new teams that joined the league Atlanta and Minnesota have a slightly different system.

  • 2 games (home and away) against 10 teams in its conference (20 games).
  • 1 extra game against 2 of its conference rivals (2 games).
  • 1 game against 10 teams in the other conference (10 games).
  • 2 games (1 home and 1 away) against each other (2 games).

The regular season runs between March and October which means that you may lose some star players to international tournaments so bare that in mind when you build your squad especially if you are doing a player based challenge.

At the end of the regular season the team with the best record out of all 22 teams will be crowned Supporters Shield winner and 12 teams (6 from each conference) enter the playoffs. This is a knockout competition but following the theme so far it isn’t straight forward.

The top 2 from each Conference go into the Conference Semi-Finals and the other 8 teams enter the wildcard round.

  • Wildcard round. This is a single match against another qualified team in your Conference. Win this and you join the top 2 and the other wildcard match winner in the Conference Semi-Finals.
  • Conference Semi-Finals. This is a 2 legged tie and you are playing for a place in the Conference Final.
  • Conference Final. This is another 2 legged tie. Win this and you are in the MLS Cup final.
  • MLS Cup Final. This is a one off final at a neutral ground and the winner will be crowned the champions for that season.

So in total if you reach the MLS Cup final you will play 40 games plus cup games and possibly continental matches as well.

Transfers

The MLS has some ‘interesting’ transfer rules in real life but we aren’t going to need to get our head's around these for FMM. We do have some transfer windows though and these are the dates for the first season.

  • Domestic transfers. 12/12/2016 to 15/9/2017
  • Foreign transfers. 14/2/2017 to 8/5/2017
  • Foreign transfers. 10/7/2017 to 9/8/2017
  • Loans only. 14/2/2017 to 8/5/2017

The transfer system works in the same way as other leagues within the game where you will have a transfer and wage budget to spend on whoever you wish. You won’t have to worry about designated player contracts or any of the other nonsense that real life MLS clubs have to contend with. I know why they have these rules as it prevents the over spending that bankrupted previous attempts at a national league in the U.S.A. but it doesn’t make managing transfers and contracts easy.  I am a little disappointed that their is no draft as their is in real life even if it was just a  simplified version. Perhaps this is something that will be added to future games. You do get a youth intake though.

Top Players

The MLS has a real mix of player abilities with some up and coming youngsters, American journeymen, and ageing foreign imports. There are some very talented players in the league and a couple of real legends including.

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Sebastian Giovinco – Toronto. The pacy and clinical striker will be one of the top scorers in the league.

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Michael Bradley – Toronto. The tough tackling American international is probably the one of the best midfielders in the league.

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Giovani dos Santos – LA Galaxy. The former Villareal attacking midfielder should get plenty of assists for his club.

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Jonathan dos Santos – LA Galaxy. The brother of Giovani and the pair will make a formidable creative force in the LA midfield.

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David Villa – NYCFC. At the end of his career now so managing NYCFC might be popular for one last chance to use this Spain and Barcelona legend.

 

I hope this has given you a little taste of what to expect managing in the MLS. I would like to hear your thoughts on the inclusion of this league into the game, are you looking forward to managing in the U.S.A or will you avoid it like the plague. If you are planning on an MLS save who will you be managing?

Thank you to @Stam for the cool graphic.

Thank you for reading.

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Excellent article mate, there is great detail in here. Thanks to you, i can get my head round this confusing system lol

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so is it just the transfer system that you think will have to be streamlined, or is there anything else?

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Excellent! Great read and informative. :)

This, combined with the new guide to the K-League will be a fantastic resource over the next few weeks for those who have never played in those leagues before.

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Fantastic read dude and hell if they don’t make it complicated but as an NFL fan I kind of get it.

will be fun to try a season with the MLS though as I know lots of givers have wanted it for a while now 

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1 minute ago, FMH Skill said:

so is it just the transfer system that you think will have to be streamlined, or is there anything else?

I think it will just be the transfer system. @Marc Duffy said on Vibe the other day that it will be based on how it works within FM Touch.

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2 minutes ago, Taff said:

Fantastic read dude and hell if they don’t make it complicated but as an NFL fan I kind of get it.

If you understand American Football the MLS will be a walk in the park!

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Just now, FuddledFox said:

I think it will just be the transfer system. @Marc Duffy said on Vibe the other day that it will be based on how it works within FM Touch.

Good to hear, i can certainly understand why the transfer system had to be shortened. Cos from what little I know about it, it's really weird

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Just now, FMH Skill said:

Good to hear, i can certainly understand why the transfer system had to be shortened. Cos from what little I know about it, it's really weird

Having played 3 seasons of MLS on FM16 I know what a minefield it can be. The biggest issue is contracts as you have so many different types and a limit to what you can pay with each one and how many of each you can have in a squad. I think the lack of all that will make MLS on FMM18 extremely fun.

 

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Great post really helpful!

I don't get why so many of the leagues outside Europe have such complicating format though :P 

I'm sure there is a reason...

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3 minutes ago, bwkim96 said:

Great post really helpful!

I don't get why so many of the leagues outside Europe have such complicating format though :P 

I'm sure there is a reason...

I guess in the MLS's case it is to bring it in line with what Americans expect from there sports E.G, playoffs.

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1 minute ago, FuddledFox said:

I guess in the MLS's case it is to bring it in line with what Americans expect from there sports E.G, playoffs.

Oh yeah that kind of makes sense, as I live in Canada right now... I can see that

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Just now, bwkim96 said:

Oh yeah that kind of makes sense, as I live in Canada right now... I can see that

I think I would be right in saying that the USA was the first country to tailor its sports for TV so lots of stops and starts for adverts and playoffs for those big advertiser friendly end of season games.

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10 minutes ago, FuddledFox said:

I think I would be right in saying that the USA was the first country to tailor its sports for TV so lots of stops and starts for adverts and playoffs for those big advertiser friendly end of season games.

Yeah totally... just by looking at the market in the Super Bowl finals, how much they pay "per minute" for the commercials during the final... it's enormous..

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Quality article really enjoyed this and has given me the buzz to start with a team from the MLS 

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Great article, the playoffs are similar to the NFL playoffs, but this seems like a fun league.

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Quality stuff, mate! Very helpful indeed and my guess is that MLS could turn out to be one of the most popular leagues this year. 

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That's a lot to get your head around! I think I'll be reading this a lot in the coming weeks and months! Fantastic work Fox :D 

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3 hours ago, PriZe said:

why the hell would they make it so bloody complicated

Because the MLS operates like most other American sports except the craziness is turned up to 11.  By that I mean, all teams are basically married to the league, there's a hard salary cap set (which doesn't apply to "designated" players :unamused:), pretty sure trades have to be approved by the league, etc etc.  It's nutty and is done for "the health of the league" since it's basically tied for the 4th most popular sport in the country so they're fighting hard for TV viewership.  Pretty sure that's a big reason why the league season is March thru October because NFL starts in September, NBA/NHL start in October so there's a ton of sports at the "usual" time.  In the summer, they basically have to go against the MLB which have games every day so it's an easier sell to watch your team one night/week.  Only the playoffs fall during the busy October/November time but at that point they're higher stakes games and there are less of them so it's easier to slot the games in and play at weird off-hours like on Tue/Wed/Fri nights.

And in general - Americans love playoffs so that's why the structure is that way to cater to the general populace.  So "true" fans created Supporters Shield to mimic a regular season champion like in European leagues by just having the most points at the end.

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