April is “Florida Hot” for the Lions: Replaying Orlando City’s 2017 MLS Season with FM18

 In Football Manager Simulations

After a shaky but successful pre-season and a hard-fought draw on opening night, virtual Orlando City tore into April. Well, mostly at least. As the month comes to an end the digital Lions find themselves in second place in the East behind newcomers Atlanta United.

The biggest news of the month came after the tie to NYCFC when goalkeeper Joe Bendik went down with a calf strain that would hold him out for five weeks. That earned Earl Edwards Jr. a recall from Orlando City B and a chance to debut against the Philadelphia Union in the second game of the season. Edwards picked up a minor injury before the game, but still started and performed well enough to give Orlando a 2-1 win. The club ended the month with four wins, two draws, and a loss. That is actually worse than the real life club’s April, which ended with six wins and a loss. Here are the results for the replayed month of April.

april standings

After the nice win against Philly, the digital Lions “traveled” to Columbus and managed a 2-2 draw despite a cynical red card for Jose Aja. My choice postgame comments drew this rebuttal from the league. Sometimes Football Manager feels too much like real life.

Critizizing ref

After two nice wins against the New York Red Bulls and LA Galaxy, Orlando City icon Adrian Heath chimed in with this kiss of death.

Kiss of Death

Not something the real-life Heath would say while coaching in Minnesota, this is an automated feature in the game whenever your team gets hot. In this case, I feel like virtual Adrian was playing mind games, since the the wheels fell off away at NYCFC as David Villa ran amok and put three past the Orlando City defense. I played a 4-4-2 in an attempt to switch things up, so maybe we’ll blame the formation change for this bad loss.

The club rebounded against Colorado with a statement win, scoring four on the Rapids. Tim Howard had a hell of a time trying to keep anything Orlando put on goal out of the net. Here are the stats from the first big win of the season:


Dom Dwyer with the hat-trick! Dwyer has been the key player for Orlando with seven goals in six games, and a average rating of 7.45. Other key players of the month have been Earl Edwards Jr., Yoshi Yotun with a goal and an assist, and Antonio Nocerino with three assists and a goal. In a limited number of appearances, Pierre Da Silva and Rafael Ramos have both had a good early season as well.

Kaka, true to real life, has played well between injury spells.

On the topic of Kaka, he seems to have fallen out of favor with the main social group within the club. Earlier in the season he was a core part of that group, but something seems to have change. And of course Scott Sutter, being new to the club, has no friends yet.


On the other hand, I seem to be slowly winning over the locker room with my charisma, but then again everyone feels good about you after a 4-0 win right? Heading in the May, the virtual Orlando City is still on a similar pace to how things went for the actual club. We will see if virtual consistency is easier to maintain. Here’s to victoria en mayo.

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