During the coronavirus outbreak, which has caused a pause in the 2020 Major League Soccer season, we’re looking or creative ways to bring you content. A group of our writers got together on Football Manager and picked MLS teams to bring some form of soccer, even if it’s simulated, to fans’ lives.
Tyler Fisher is managing Atlanta United, Orri Benatar took over at the Chicago Fire and Thomas Babcock is running Columbus Crew SC. To read (and see) more about how this got started, click here.
Here is our most recent update:
Tyler (Atlanta United): We here at Atlanta United are sitting pretty nice so far in the season. Atlanta is currently tied for first in the Eastern Conference with New York City, but have the second-place position because the Pigeons have a better goal differential. It’s still early in the season, and anything can happen.
Midfielder Manuel Castro currently leads the team with three goals, with Jeff Larentowicz slowly creeping up behind. Although, Larentowicz does lead the team in yellow cards, and also is set to become the league-leading player in appearances. So, that’s a plus I guess.
Since taking over for Frank de Boer, I’ve had to fill some big shoes. Although it’s early on in the season, the front office has given me a C+ grade so far but are pleased with how well I’m building the relationships between the players in the locker room.
Finally, on the transfer and budget side of things, we have a transfer budget of over $8 million dollars to play with. Just a small portion of that was used to bring in Juan Lucero, a 27-year-old midfielder who will join the club in July of 2020.
Orri (Chicago Fire): I guess as expected, results have not been coming for the Fire with two draws and three losses to start the season. After a 2-1 loss to Los Angeles Football Club, things started looking better with a Robert Beric goal in the 81st minute against the Colorado Rapids. And then the Rapids equalized and we tied.
Then the wheels started coming off with a 4-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park and then losing at Nippert 2-1 to FC Cincinnati to cement our place as one of the worst teams in MLS. Things then got annoying when Beric, my top striker, picked up an injury for my second consecutive match against Cincy. Even worse, that game was the only one scheduled in MLS during the March international break. We drew 1-1 after blowing a first-half lead.
Despite our winless run through five games, the Fire is in 11th place in front of the Philadelphia Union. But positive things include having a goalscorer in Beric and scoring in every game. That’s where it ends.
My injury list extended to starting goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm and starting defender Johan Kappelhof who are both unavailable for the big Crew game upcoming. I’ll need to get the boys pumped to turn things around and avoid losing my job.
Thomas (Columbus Crew): The Black & Gold have started off the season as expected, and the changes made to the team have generally come good as part of our tactical system. For those wondering how I have chosen to set up the Crew, we are currently playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation using Gegenpress (or counter-press) tactics in terms of our shape and how we play. We are a high-tempo, attacking team that presses for possession and takes advantage of our excellent passers in midfield and the backline.
One match of note saw us travel to Frisco to take on FC Dallas and the Black & Gold returned to Columbus after a 1-0 victory via a 54th-minute goal by our newest signing from the Crew Academy, Saudi-American Ahmed Mohammed. Mohammed was named to the MLS Team of the Week.
Before our next match, I completed a trade with Tyler and Atlanta United, where I sent Fanendo Adi to Atlanta in exchange for midfielder Eric Remedi and a second-round MLS SuperDraft pick originally held by the Montreal Impact. The international break came and Axel Sjoberg got his first cap with Sweden while multiple Americans played for the United States’ senior team and Under-20 side.
After a failed attempt to sign Omar Gonzalez and with just one loss in our first five games, we now prepare to face Orri and his struggling Chicago Fire. Our ideal starting line up is as follows:
GK: Eloy Room; DEF: Chris Cadden, Vito Wormgoor, Jonathan Mensah, Waylon Francis; MID (2): Artur, Eric Remedi, MID (3): Ezequiel Barco, Lucas Zelarayan, Darlington Nagbe, ATT (1): Gyasi Zardes
BENCH: Jon Kempin, Axel Sjoberg, Paxton Pomykal, Ahmed Mohammed, Hector Jimenez, Paul Woodman (ATT Academy player), Youness Mokhtar
We look forward to taking on the Fire knowing they had to play during the international break and are dealing with several injuries. Sorry, Orri.
These teams are in for an exciting season. Stay tuned to Massive Report to learn more about the season with regular updates.