Every week, Massive Report will use FIFA 20 to simulate the upcoming Columbus Crew SC match to see how well technology can predict the Crew’s outcomes. In order to give this a more proper statistical feel and avoid flukes, we simulated the Crew at Seattle Sounders match THREE times rather than just once.
In last week’s FIFA predicts, the Crew got stomped by New York City FC and weren’t even able to score a goal. Luckily, the simulations for Week 1 were completely incorrect as the Crew beat NYCFC 1-0 in the season opener.
One of things the simulations got right was the top performers for the Black & Gold. Harrison Afful and Darlington Nagbe were among the best players in the New York City simulations and both played very good games in real life.
This weekend, it’s a trip to Seattle to face the reigning MLS Cup champion Sounders who also got three points in Week 1. Per usual, there will be three simulations with the same lineups and weather conditions. With a 40 percent chance of rain expected for Saturday night in Seattle, we made the game overcast. The Crew’s lineup will be the same as last weekend’s while Seattle’s will be an expected lineup that includes Jordan Morris starting. Let’s see if FIFA 20 actually likes Columbus this weekend.
SIMULATION 1: Crew’s offense shines in 2-0 win
The first FIFA simulation with a Crew victory! The first goal came late in the first half with some great build-up play from Milton Valenzuela and Artur that led to a cross from Gyasi Zardes for a Lucas Zelarayan tap-in. The Argentine was given an overall ratings boost from 74 to 78 in FIFA after his performance against NYCFC.
The second goal came early in the second half from Zardes. Artur picked out Pedro Santos on the right side and the winger crossed the ball into the penalty box where Zardes finished while falling backwards to complete a man of the match performance. The forward finished with a game rating of 9.0 with the goal and an assist. Game one goes to the Crew.
SIMULATION 2: Zelarayan scores stunner in 1-0 victory
It seems Lucas Zelarayan has turned into a beast on FIFA because he scored a stunning goal in the second game to win simulation two for the Crew. Once again, the build-up started on the left side between Valenzuela and Youness Mokhtar and Zelarayan was backing down on Seattle midfielder Jordy Delem. From the left edge of the penalty box, Zelarayan crossed the ball to the back post for Santos but the attempt went past goalkeeper Stefan Frei and into the side netting.
Columbus didn’t have more possession in either of the two simulations and Seattle had chances. Eloy Room, Harrison Afful and Vito Wormgoor were magnificent defensively, not allowing the Sounders to score any of their nine shots.
SIMULATION 3: Nagbe’s solo effort wins it for Columbus
Yup, FIFA says three Crew wins and three Crew clean sheets in Seattle. The Sounders once again pummeled Room’s goal but the Columbus goalkeeper didn’t allow the ball to go past him. Simulation three was the time for Darlington Nagbe to shine. In the 80th minute, Nagbe got the ball from 25 yards out and used his strength and composure to walk into the penalty box and fire one in to clinch the win.
This game belonged to the midfielders with Nagbe’s winner assisted by Artur. Both also helped keep the clean sheet, completed most of their passes (Nagbe was 100 percent) and almost all their dribbles (Artur was 100 percent, Nagbe was 94 percent). Fingers crossed FIFA will be right this weekend cause these results on Saturday would make Crew fans ecstatic.
What did we learn
At the end of a FIFA 20 game, each player receives a rating out of 10. Every player starts with a rating of 6.0 and depending on goals, assists, passes completed, dribbles completed or lost, tackles, etc., the game gives them a final rating. Here were the best three performers for each team when we averaged the ratings.
Columbus Crew SC - Lucas Zelarayan (7.5), Darlington Nagbe (7.5), Artur (7.4)
New York City FC - Cristian Roldan (7.4), Jordy Delem (7.2), Joao Paulo (7.1)
It seems the NYCFC performances from Zelarayan, Nagbe and Artur boosted their virtual characters quite a bit. These three were the best on the pitch. You could tell that against New York City and that could be the case again in Seattle. The Sounders midfield was their best area in the simulation but their finishing was poor in all three games.
In terms of real life, I don’t think the Crew will just go out there and score bangers at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders are the favorites going into the game but FIFA has got one thing right, it’s not gonna be a rout. Columbus should be competitive with that midfield duo and Zelarayan as the danger man. Let’s hope the Crew prove FIFA right on Saturday.