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fighting irish

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  1. Season 1 complete with Portland. I started off with three wins since I spent the entire preseason working on a single tactic, my team were ready to go. The AI teams seemed all out of sorts. But after three games, the AI had now achieved match fitness and fluidity and I proceeded to go on a 6 match losing streak. Lots on injuries to my Portland side, perhaps attributed to the single, lousy physio I had (thanks only to the 'fill vital staff roles' option). Luckily for me, FC Dallas and Chivas were having even worse seasons, so I sat in 5th position in the West for most of the season. Then the AI magic happened and I went on a 6 game winning streak, for no apparent reason, near the end of the season. That set me up so that despite losing the final two games I still qualified for the play-offs with 11W 7D and 12L and a +4 GD. The Western Conference had 5 of the 8 play-off teams. Drawing #1 seed LA Galaxy, I lost the opening home leg 1:2. Then the AI magic kicked in (I swear they have altered the AI to cheat in the human's favor to minimize the complaints on the message boards), Portland got hot and won the return leg 2:4, then dismantled Houston 0:3 and took the MLS Cup by beating Salt Lake 2:2 on penalties. Fans Player of the Year was DC Eric Brunner who played just about every game, chipped in 4 headed goals on corners and had a 7.26 rating. He and Kenny Cooper, 11 Goals, were the only two players who performed consistently. Jorge Perlaza took a long time to get settled in the new country, but he finished strongly with 8 Goals and 11 assists. Umony, despite being rated 4 stars, never got going and produced zero goals and zero assists playing striker in 12 games before demanding a transfer for more playing time. The season rolled over without breaking the game (though I did experience a few crashes during the season when hitting continue during the post game team talk). Portland had the last, 16th pick in the draft, and of course there are only 15 good prospects from Generation Addidas, so my first pick and only worthwhile player was used trying to find a cheaper back-up goalie to replace Adin Brown. I have about 3 other players I definitely want to replace, probably in the waivers draft: Rodrigo Lopez, Bright Dike and Mamadou Danso. The majority of the other players I could take or leave in Football Manager land, but I will probably keep them for squad cohesiveness. In other good news, the bump in reputation has allowed me to fill out a proper back room staff. At least half of the unemployed US based staff will consider the salaries I am able to offer.
  2. Not being able to wait until October for FM12, I used the editor to swap in my home side Portland in place of Seattle. The 11.3 patch had most of the updates for Portland done correctly. I just had to complete the trades for Sal Zizzo and Jack Jewsbury and delete the acquisition of Kerrea Gilbert. Unfortunately two Timbers players do not appear in the current database, 3rd string goalie Jake Gleeson and back-uo defender Freddie Braun. The researcher did a pretty good job with the Timbers. Only Jewsbury seems particularly under-rated. In real life, Spencer named him captain and has him take all of the corner kicks. His attributes for Influence and Corners are 4 and 5 respectively. So far so good. One problem is that the Timbers don't have any players designated as academy products, so I have to leave two roster spots vacant. With only 24 players allowed instead of 26 I had to drop one player from the real life Timbers roster to waivers. I chose Spencer Thompson to get dropped. I made it through a pre-season having serious trouble beating Tampa Bay, Miami and Puerto Rico. As the team got familiar with my flat 442 tactics with Kenny Cooper as target man, they did better beating both Vancouver and Seattle in arranged friendlies representing the Cascadia Cup. The only problem so far is that I am unable to hire any much needed coaching staff due to wage restrictions. Despite being nearly $20k per week under my budget, my board will only let me offer around $775 for a coach and $275 for a scout. All the unemployed staff, even with obscure reputations, want at least $1200. I guess I have to win a few games first to increase my team reputation so that the board will authorize higher wages. I have only played one league game so far and barely hung on for a 1-0 win on the road against Columbus. I'll keep you posted as to whether swapping a team in causes any crashes or unplayable errors as I roll into the second season.
  3. Public Service Announcement: Javi Martinez excels playing as a right midfielder (wide midfielder, support) in my basic 442 set up. My assistant manager recommended it after I was able to pick up Raul Garcia for 1.1M in the January transfer window. I waited until April of the first season to try it and Javi Martinez has scored a goal in each of his last 4 games with a 7.70 average rating from the spot. I just entered May in the first season on the newest patch with Athletic, Barcelona and Real Madrid tied with 76 points each. Madrid has a game in hand. This is the first save that I kept Luciano Martin on as my assistant manager and I find that he is much better than his ratings suggest. I tend to have trouble against the low reputation teams, so on this save I take a holiday for a day and let Martin manage all of those games and he has a perfect record. At one point I let him control 5 games in a row until he finally lost to Getafe. Combine that with the MR recommendation for Javi Martinez and I think Martin should definitely be kept around. My dilemma heading into the close season is Ion Velez. He has 10 goals and 2 assists in 14 starts and 5 substitute appearances. He is playing much better Toquero, but Toquero now has the club icon status which means I should probably keep him. De Cerio comes back from loan soon leaving me with 5 strikers. I see a parallel to my experiences with Zubiarre and that Velez is playing well in order to earn a new contract (he wants $22k USD + 9k per appearance) and then he will go back to being the 2.5 star player that my manager rates him as. I think I am going to sell him now that I have peaked his value.
  4. I used to sell Ocio and Ustaritz immediately, but I have kept them around my last few saves. I finally figured out how to use Ustaritz (Ball Playing Defender, Stopper) that minimize the mistakes he tends to make with a just plain defend role. I find that San Jose struggles in big games, and so it is useful to have an older, more experienced mental stats player to have around for those situations. Ocio can fill that role. I have used Astiz in that role. Still, after playing numerous saves on FM10 and FM11, you won't regret selling Ocio or Ustaritz if you so choose. Zubiarre always plays amazingly well for me the first season if I recall him from loan. I am then compelled to give him a new contract around 22K USD per week, and he always follows up with a very poor second season and I sell him off. My last two saves I am just leaving him on load and letting his contract expire. I bought Flano from Numancia to be my back-up DR in my latest save. The fans disapprove, but I feel he is a better long term back-up option than Zubiarre and thus well worth the 1.1M USD required to sign.
  5. I'd play Coronado as a wide midfielder in a support role on the left. He has high tackling, but poor bravery, strength and jumping and workrate. His has high passing but poor creativity and teamwork. I just can't see him making it as a central midfielder...not enough energy, vision or strength. He does have good agility and flair to go along with solid dribbling and crossing and decent pace and acceleration. Definitely looks like a wide player to me. Not good enough crossing, dribbling pace or acceleration to consistently beat defenders into the corner to cross, so I can't see him as a winger with an attacking role. Better to play as wide midfielder in support and let him pick his opportunities on offense and just take up the space on the left on defense.
  6. Immediately after they fire their agent.
  7. I think increasing the squad status also works. If you set the 16yo goalkeeper to Back-Up or Rotation as a squad status, the AM is more likely to play him over youngsters and hot prospects.
  8. Munian is both a very good dribbler and a very good passer. I noticed how effective his runs with the ball were on my previous save when I had him playing in an inside forward and trequartista role. I felt that playing him as a poacher would limit these two aspects of his game. He currently leads my team in assists at the halfway point with 8, and he only plays in about 75% of my games. I did try him at poacher on FM10 and on my first attempt at a 442 on FM11 but I wasn't getting good results. I did link these attempts at poacher with Llorente as a Target Man (which seems like the role he was made for), but that didn't work out so well for him either. It seems like defenders are able to mark Llorente out of the game fairly easily in that more limitted role. I much prefer him dropping deeper and have been surprised how good Llorente is at running at defenders with the ball.
  9. Finally got a flat 442 tactic to work using the new patch. I have 38 goals scored at the start of the January transfer window. DR Iraola (FB defensive) DL Kokilli (FB defensive) DCR SanJose/Ustaritz (Ball playing defender defend) DCL Amorebieta (Limited Defender cover) MR Susaeta (Wide Midfielder support) MCR Gurpegi (Ball winning defend) MCL Martinez (Central Midfied support) ML Gabilondo (Wide Midfielder support) SCR Llorente (Complete Forward - attack) SCL Muniain/de Cerio (Complete Forward - attack) De Marcos is doing quite nicley as a back-up striker in this setup as well. I know a lot of users I having good results using an AMR and AML in their games, but I am having better luck with just the MR and ML and giving them more conservative instructions. They seem to arrive into the box at the perfect time now. I also have better luck with Llorente/Muniain gaining possession at the top of the box instead of trying to get on the end of a cross inside the box. The MR/ML with support mentality increases the amount of possession my strikers get just outside the box.
  10. I have always found that my tactics work better in preseason. I can easily beat Liverpool's first team players 3-0 with Athletic Bilbao in preseason and almost always lose my first league game against Hercules 3-0. I just assumed that there is a slightly different match engine for preseason, but I suppose it could be that the AI gives a "remind the players this is just a runout" speech in the presason, but once the league games start, the AI gives more serious tactical instructions. You will notice that in Spain, for instance, if you schedule a friendly in the 2 weeks before the first league game, that the "remind the players this is just a runout" team talk is no longer available. So the coding of the game does seem to employ a difference between preseason and regular season.
  11. Atletico just offered me Raul Garcia for $3.5M US in the preseason of season two. And he is willing to sign for only $45k per week. Seems like Garcia has been downgraded a little bit over FM10, but he will still take over nicely for the aging Orbaiz and Gurpegi. I was also able to convince Llorente to stay for the time being and made him captain as well. I still get the feeling that Barcelona is going to buy him on the last day of the transfer window so that I won't have time to get a replacement until January.
  12. By the way, what are you guys paying in wages to the best 16 year old regens? The top 5 or 6 guys that are clearly better than the others (4 stars) are asking for at least $18k (US dollars) per week. That is more than De Marcos and Susaeta are making as starters. The 3 star regens are asking for around $6k per week. It just seems like too much money for kids that may only play 4 games for a couple of years. How do you guys do it? Do you pay them the first season and then loan them out for a few seasons so that some other team is paying 100%?
  13. Completed my first season firmly in 4th position (18W 15D 5L), 14 points behind Atletico and 10 points above Villareal. Barcelona had 100 points. The Basque region is flying high with Real Sociedad just missing out on Europe by goal difference and Osasuna just one point behind in 8th and 9th position respectively. Fernando Llorente excelled as a complete forward with 25 goals, 13 assists and 12 MoM. Susaeta as an attacking winger had 10 goals and 14 assists. De Marcos, playing in the hole as an inside forward had 7 goals and 13 assists. Muniain, who mostly subbed in for De Marcos had 8 goals and 4 assists in 12 starts and 19 substitute appearances. Sold Toquero ($3M US - though the board tells me this was bad business every single month), Ustaritz ($1.7M), Lopez ($2.5M) and Balenziaga ($2.5M). Loaned out Velez with an option to buy at Zaragoza, but he didn't play and they got relegated. Let Ocio go to Betis for free in January. I bought Inaki Astiz (DC) for $1.4M as cover after Ocio and Ustaritz were unloaded. Bought Nestor Susaeta ($700k) as my back-up right winger on less than half the wages when Lopez was sold in January. Likewise, bought Tarantino as a back-up DL on half the wages when I got an offer for Balenziaga in January. Neither Tarantino nor the brother Susaeta impressed enough to claim a first team place. Highlight of the season was a 16 match unbeaten run including draws to Barcelona and Valencia. Low point of the season was either getting crushed 2-5 by Barcelona at Camp Nou or losing 3-2 against 20th place finished Levante in December. The big news is that Zaragoza offered me Ander for $6M way back in November and he will be joining the team in July. I will probably switch from the asymmetric formation to the 4-2-3-1 to accommodate him. Latest email is that Llorente wants to move to a bigger club (despite him signing a new contract in January for as much money as I could possibly give him). That would be devastating.
  14. I am interested in hearing what tutoring has worked well for people and what preferred moves have worked well. Some obvious tutoring combinations aren't even an option it seems. De Marcos needs some preferred moves, but he doesn't have a single stand-out attribute. He is good with both feet, so should he dribble down the middle? Muniain needs some sort of finnishing move? Place shots? Lob keeper? Does shoot with power improve Llorente? Javi Martinez also needs something, but what first? Shoots with power? Long shots? He tends to refuse killer balls for me. Does switch the ball to the other flank mean cross? Do I want my wingers to do this or will it decrease opportunities for Llorente? On FM10, Xabi Prieto ruled with dwells on the ball. Does this work for Susaeta?
  15. Toquero still doesn't cut it for me with a single striker setup. I played through the demo a second time and ended up losing Gabilondo against my will. Valencia offered. I said no. Gabilondo got mad. Valencia offered again. I said yes and offered a new contract. Gabilondo signed with me. Valencia offered a 3rd time. This time I say yes but don't offer a new contract because he just signed the week before. I was shocked when he accepted their offer. Without him, my ability to score from corners vanished. I went from 6 goals from corners and leading the league on the first demo save with Gabilondo taking the kicks, to scoring a single goal on the second demo save without him. But I did train Castillo to take over my left midfielder spot, and he scores more than my advanced midfielders from that position. On my second save, Llorente got two call-ups for Spain and bagged 4 goals.