Continuing to Confound Reality: Replaying Orlando City’s 2017 MLS Season with Football Manager 18 (Part 7)
Welcome to Part Seven of this ongoing simulation experiment using Football Manager 2018 to replay the Orlando City 2017 Major League Soccer season. If you’d like to get caught up on past post, they are all linked at the end of this post or they can be found here: Football Manager Simulations
Well, things are still going really well for the Virtual Lions of Orlando City as I continue this simulation experiment. As the season pulls into the end of summer, the club is holding down first place on the MLS Supporter’s Shield standings. OCSC is also played their way into the US Open Cup final against Sporting Kansas City. Regardless of how the rest of the season goes, there are going to be some very interesting conclusions once this wraps up.
Here’s how the standing’s look right now on September 1, 2017.
Once this whole thing wraps up I’d like to do a post just to look at the rest of the league. This table looks relatively accurate if you consider MLS parity. Toronto is a little farther down the table than you’d expect for the eventual real-life champions, Minnesota is playing better than expected, and New York Red Bull fans might be disappointed in this version of the 2017 season. Otherwise, this table isn’t radically different than reality. Except, you know, Orlando City leading it.
I’ve put forth a few hypothesis in past posts, but I’m not really ready to make any declarations. The one major difference remains that players who had very pedestrian seasons, in reality, have been really solid in this simulation. Take for example, in the last game of before the end of August, youngster Pierre da Silva got the start for an injured Kaka. In that game he managed two assists, one goal, a number of key passes and chances created, and managed to get himself a MOTM award as well. Those kinds of numbers could have helped the struggling Lions at the end of August. Here’s the post-game sheet from that game, a 4-0 win versus Vancouver.
Orlando went 7-1-1 in July and August, with their only loss coming to the Columbus Crew. Those stats include a win and a tie versus Atlanta United, and US Open Cup wins against NYCFC and Philadelphia Union. Each game, each opponent, I imagine the good run will come crashing to a halt and a bit of reality will insert itself back into the simulation.
As August came to an end Giles Barnes, Carlos Rivas, and Kaka are all now injured. The “three” in my 4-2-3-1 are now all sidelined for a few weeks. If Da Silva and Yoshi Yotun keep playing at the level they are at, the team might not even miss them.
I’m going to leave it there for this update. I’m hoping to wrap this experiment up before pre-season starts in two weeks. Having a look at the past is really only useful until the future begins, and for Orlando City, the future is a much better place to be looking than the past.
Here are a few oddities that I thought might be fun to share:
First, in LA. The folks at Football Manager decided to include the new MLS club for 2018, LAFC. You get to see a lot of rumors about who they want to sign, and they attempt to unsettle your whole team with interest. At one point I’m pretty sure most of my team was linked to a move there. Bob Bradley is, of course, running the show over there… until… well this happened:
I can’t even imagine how that would go down in real-life. In the midst of setting up a brand new squad, just picking up sticks and moving across town to the struggling but established team. The awkwardness! Additionally, he’s bringing his coaching staff with him. I forgot to look at who ended up replacing him.
In other coaching news, Jason Kreis got picked up by the Seattle Sounders after he was terminated for my arrival. Sorry, Jason. Still getting his bearings in Seattle, he already seems to be struggling. So I suppose there’s some simulated fuel for the real-life #KreisOut campfire.
This next oddity comes from a different game I’m playing with Orlando City. A different experiment I’ll post about one of these days. In this game I gave many of the MLS clubs a bit more money to spend, just to see what happens. In Orlando City’s case, well it was poorly managed. During the first season at the brand new Orlando City Stadium, the board of directors decided to do two major investments in the stadium. First…
That’s right, they are going to install undersoil heating… for a team that plays in the summer… in Florida! If the poles switch alignments and we get snow on the pitch in August, we are now prepared.
All of this won’t matter though because the board has decided to just go ahead and build a brand new stadium. They decided this during pre-season of the first season in the brand new Orlando City Stadium. Virtual Mayor Buddy Dyer is going to lose all his patience with the Lions.
Thankfully, in this case, simulation is a bit crazier than reality.
If you want to catch up on past posts here they are: