How Does Major League Soccer Stack Up in FIFA 12?

Ned Harwood@@RBStampedeContributor IIISeptember 25, 2011

How Does Major League Soccer Stack Up in FIFA 12?

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    It's that time of year again, folks.

    No, I’m not talking about the annual NYRB collapse—although a seasonal recognition would be appropriate.

    The newest version of FIFA is almost upon us, and as always, Major League Soccer fans are anxious to see what type of respect—if any—their domestic league gained over the past 12 months. Despite putting forth a relatively disappointing show at the World Football challenge, the MLS did improve slightly in the virtual world of FIFA.

    Last year, the league’s highest rated team (Galaxy) was a 67. This year, New York stole the top spot with a surprising rating of 71 (Insert Hans Backe joke here: ____).

    For an in-depth look at the rest of the ratings, click through this detailed slideshow.

Team Reviews

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    Sporting KC

    Overall Rating: 66

    FIFA 11 Rating: 64

    Best Player: Omar Bravo, Jeferson (71)

    The Story: You would have to think that if FIFA came out in June, SKC’s rating would be about 10 spots lower. Maybe 15.

    Philadelphia Union

    Overall Rating: 65

    FIFA 11 Rating: 63

    Best Player: Faryd Mondragon (72)

    The Story: Le Toux (71), Mwanga (66) and Farfan (60) all seemed to get the short end of the stick in this year’s game.

    San Jose Earthquakes

    Overall Rating: 64

    FIFA 11 Rating: 65

    Best Player: Chris Wondolowski (71)

    The Story: Without Wondo (71) and Bobby Convey (70!), there is not much to cheer about in the ratings category. 

    Toronto FC

    Overall Rating: 65

    FIFA 11 Rating: 63

    Best Player: Torsten Frings (74)

    The Story: Like every year since the team’s creation, TFC continues to rebuild in the virtual world.

    Vancouver Whitecaps

    Overall Rating: 65

    FIFA 11 Rating: —

    Best Player: Jay Demerit (71)

    The Story: No hometown boost for the ‘Caps this year, but their new stadium (BC Place) is the only MLS venue featured in the game.

    New York Red Bulls

    Overall Rating: 71

    FIFA 11 Rating: 66

    Best Player: Thierry Henry (79)

    The Story: Not even the best MLS team rating in FIFA will cheer this fanbase up. Clearly EA only rates teams on paper and not on actual performance.

    Los Angeles Galaxy

    Overall Rating: 70

    FIFA 11 Rating: 67

    Best Player: Landon Donovan (82)

    The Story: Beckham, Donovan, Keane. The attack (relative to the other MLS teams) is simply unstoppable.

    DC United

    Overall Rating: 64

    FIFA 11 Rating: 64

    Best Player: Dwayne De Rosario (74)

    The Story: DDR dropped a point, despite putting forth six of the best months of his MLS career. 

    Columbus Crew

    Overall Rating: 65

    FIFA 11 Rating: 66

    Best Player: Eddie Gaven (68)

    The Story: The only Eastern team that failed to produce a +70 player, and yet they lead the Conference. What is wrong with this picture?

    Seattle Sounders

    Overall Rating: 66

    FIFA 11 Rating: 66

    Best Player: Fredy Montero (74)

    The Story: It is the first year in over a decade that Kasey Keller fails to reach 70. A solemn day in US soccer history for sure.

    Houston Dynamo

    Overall Rating: 65

    FIFA 11 Rating: 65

    Best Player: Brad Davis (72)

    The Story: With Davis finally getting some recognition from EA, playing with Houston is now a much more attractive option for the casual fan.

    FC Dallas

    Overall Rating: 67

    FIFA 11 Rating: 64

    Best Player: David Ferreira (77)

    The Story: The fact that Shea is merely a 71 is mindboggling, yet I’m sure FCD fans will be happy their team jumped up a full star in this year’s game.

    Colorado Rapids

    Overall Rating: 65

    FIFA 11 Rating: 64

    Best Player: Omar Cummings (71)

    The Story: Not much love for the reigning MLS Cup champions. But let’s face it—their CCL performance so far hasn’t done much to help their cause. 

    Chicago Fire

    Overall Rating: 63

    FIFA 11 Rating: 64

    Best Player: Pavel Pardo (71)

    The Story: I give you this year’s weakest link for MLS FIFA! Setting a new draw record just doesn’t give you top praise like it used to.

    New England Revolution

    Overall Rating: 63

    FIFA 11 Rating: 64

    Best Player: Benny Feilhaber (73)

    The Story: Apart from Feilhaber, this team is just as boring to play with as it sounds.

    Chivas USA

    Overall Rating: 64

    FIFA 11 Rating: 64

    Best Player: Juan Pablo Angel, Nick Labrocca (70)

    The Story: Just like in real life, Chivas sadly looks like the mutant little brother of the Galaxy in this year’s game. 

    Real Salt Lake

    Overall Rating: 68

    FIFA 11 Rating: 65

    Best Player: Javier Morales (76)

    The Story: Hopefully this team plays just as well together in the virtual world as it does on the pitch. 

    Portland Timbers

    Overall Rating: 64

    FIFA 11 Rating: —

    Best Player: Diego Chara (69)

    The Story: If only Timber Joey was in this game...

Underrated Players

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    Here is a list of guys EA definitely didn’t give enough respect to.

    Jack Jewsbury (66): Captain Jack is criminally underrated in my book. The man controls the middle for Portland, is a dangerous weapon from outside the box, and also leads the team in assists. A 66 seems far too low for a player of his caliber. 

    Brek Shea (71): Despite a couple of brilliant USMNT performances and a sensational season for FCD, Shea finds himself at only a 71, and twelve points below fellow US winger Landon Donovan. Donovan might be an American hero, but Shea certainly is the more dangerous winger in the MLS right now.

    Dominic Oduro (63): Even though many of you still probably haven’t jumped on the Oduro bandwagon, the double-digit goal scorer deserves more than a measly 63 in this year's game. Sure, 90+ speed will please Fire fans for a few games—until they realize Oduro’s virtual character can’t do anything but sprint and whiff.

    Mauro Rosales (71): I must admit I was relatively disappointed with EA when I found out Seattle’s playmaker just barely broke the seventy mark in this year’s game. His creativity and presence are two of the main reasons why Seattle has been so dominant in the latter half of the season, and why the Sounders are a decent pick to win the MLS Cup this year.

    Perry Kitchen (59): The man is no All-Star, but he at least deserves a 60. Familiar FIFA fans know that a 59 is more than embarrassing.

    Bill Hamid (64): The USMNT-selected goalkeeper comes into the game as one of the worst in the MLS. Who is getting fired for this?

Overrated Players

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    Here is a list of guys EA gave a little too much credit in this year's game. 

    Landon Donovan (83): Landon Donovan this year boasts a higher rating than English prodigy Jack Wilshere. It’s quite obvious that LD got a little “cover boy boost” in this year’s game.

    Rafa Marquez (77): If you’ve been following the NYRB fan tweets all week, you would know why a 77 seems to be a bit generous.

    David Ferreira (77): How Ferreira gained four points from last year’s game without even playing is beyond me. He gets put on this list for the sheer “How?” factor. 

    Pavel Pardo (71): The Mexican legend might have gotten a veteran bonus in this year’s FIFA game. 

The Verdict

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    So how did the MLS fare in this year's game? Let's look at the stats.

    For the first time in FIFA history, a team reached three and a half stars in the game (NYRB). There are also six three star MLS teams in this year's game (last year there were none).

    The revamped Creation Center has allowed fans to create teams and tournaments, making it possible for MLS fans to finally participate in the CCL and USOC in the virtual world.

    BC Place becomes the first MLS stadium ever to be featured in the game, thanks to EASports' partnership with the Vancouver Whitecaps. 

    What does all this mean?

    It seems as though the global company is finally taking notice of the young, developing league, and giving it the credit MLS fans have dreamed of for years. With over 20 million people expected to buy FIFA 12, there will be a lot of foreigners who will see the MLS's virtual improvements and give the league a look it might not have otherwise received.

    If you are a fan of the MLS or American soccer, hearing this news can't help but get you excited about the future of the beautiful game in our country. 

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