Jason the Yank

This is the Motor City. This is what we do.

55 posts in this topic

[video=youtube_share;SKL254Y_jtc]http://youtu.be/SKL254Y_jtc[/video]

So after seeing how much fun [B]rancer890[/B] was having with Mike Magnum's re-imagined North America structure, I've decided to give it a crack myself.

After looking over the various possibilities, I've decided to "go home" in a way, and take the job at [B]Detroit Arsenal[/B], a semi-professional team playing in the fifth tier All-American Premier League. The squad is suitably crap, we're over the wage budget by about $100/weeks, and we're expected to finish 3rd in the league (board wants a top-half finish).

My ass man tells me we have the slowest squad in the division, so I'll run with a modified 4-5-1 (using SI's 4-5-1 formation where there's a DMC, 2 CMs, and 2 wingers). Really need to find some better players, but our current wage structure may prevent that. Fortunately, I'm a feeder club for Arsenal USA (based out of Chicago) who can loan players to me, as well as Arsenal FC (the London one :D). The combined $130K in fees from them should help get us established and hopefully get us to a point where we can expand that wage budget.

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League
[code]
Season Club Nation League GP W D L PTS FINISH ATTENDANCE
2011 Detroit Arsenal USA All-American PL 28 14 4 10 46 5th (Promoted via playoffs) 994
2012 Detroit Arsenal USA USL Pro - West 28 11 9 8 42 7th 1749 (93% capacity; 6 sellouts)
[/code]

Cups
[code]
Season Club Nation Cup Result
2011 Detroit Arsenal USA All-American Cup Semifinal (lost 1-0 to AAPL side Scott Gallaggher Metro)
2011 Detroit Arsenal USA North American Open Cup First round (lost 1-4 to NASL side Arizona)
2011 Detroit Arsenal USA Wolverine Cup WINNERS

2012 Detroit Arsenal USA North American Open Cup Third Qualifying Round (lost 2-0 to USL Pro-East side Long Island)
2012 Detroit Arsenal USA US Open Cup First round (lost 0-3 to FC Dallas Reserves)
2012 Detroit Arsenal USA USL Cup Second round (lost 0-2 to USL-Pro side Carolina)
2012 Detroit Arsenal USA Wolverine Cup Runners-up (lost 2-0 to NASL side Michigan Bucks)
[/code]

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Good to see a new career from you,[B] Jason[/B]! :) You're actually a feeder for Arsenal in the BPL?? If you can get players from them, that should really help!

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Yeah we are, but somehow I think Arsenal aren't going to be loaning players to a 5th tier semi-pro team in the US. :D

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[center]
[IMG]http://www.udmercy.edu/slo/intra_wellness/campus-recreation/TitanFieldTop.jpg[/IMG]
[i]"I thought you said it was an all-seater..."[/i]
[b]Detroit Arsenal FC - Season Preview 2011[/b]
[/center]

[b]Board expectations[/b]
[i]All-American Premier League:[/i] Achieve a respectable league position
[i]North American Open Cup:[/i] Reach the 1st Round
[i]All-American Cup:[/i] Reach the Semi Final
[i]Wolverine Cup:[/i] Reach the Final

[b]Media expectation:[/b] 3rd

[B]Wage Budget:[/B] $2,926/week
[B]Currently Spending[/B]: $3,379/week
[B]Transfer Budget: [/B]$80,000

[B]Kit Sponsorship:[/B] 0
[B]TV Rights Deal:[/B] 0

[B]Average Ticket Price:[/B] $7
[B]Average Season Ticket Price: [/B]$100
[B]Season Ticket Holders:[/B] 200
[B]Estimated Value: [/B]$275,000

So here we are, ready to start the new season. Pre-season was mostly against Detroit area teams from divisions below ours, and we won all of them. The lone blemish to pre-season was a 2-5 loss to parent club Arsenal USA.

I've exceeded the wage budget in an attempt to bolster the defense. Pre-season suggested we might have some talent at the AMR and AML spots, but those performances were against lower-division clubs. I also landed a striker with experience at the Division II (NASL) level to serve as the target man in my 4-1-2-2-1 (it's FM's 4-5-1). All the signings were on 1-year deals only, so we can quickly jettison those players at the end of the season if we need to.

Two teams go up from the AAPL, the league champions and the winner of a playoff between the 2nd through 5th place teams. Dunno what I'm letting myself in for here, so I'm cautiously hoping for a top-half finish.

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Is that a HS field or a stadium? Can't even see any bleachers (as you Americans call them) for fans to sit on. I imagine that this club has no fans at all? ;)

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Nice to see I've influenced you to try the structure out. Good luck. :D

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Should be easy getting a good midfield engine.

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That blue track is kind of hypnotising. Anyway good luck with your save.

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[quote name='Niebiescy']Is that a HS field or a stadium? Can't even see any bleachers (as you Americans call them) for fans to sit on. I imagine that this club has no fans at all? ;)[/QUOTE]

It's actually on the campus of the University of Detroit.

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[quote name='Purefun']That blue track is kind of hypnotising. Anyway good luck with your save.[/QUOTE]

If you like blue tracks maybe try managing Zawisza Bydgoszcz in Poland :D

[IMG]http://www.arus.com.pl/zdjecia/stadion_zawiszy-bydgoszcz.jpg[/IMG]

If they play the Univ of Detroit then I imagine most fans are students? Are they linked somehow to the university "soccer" program?

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[quote name='Niebiescy']
If they play the Univ of Detroit then I imagine most fans are students? Are they linked somehow to the university "soccer" program?[/QUOTE]

No, this is a fantasy XML. There is no Detroit Arsenal (although there used to be, a few years ago) IRL.

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[center]
[IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fa/Detroitarsenal.jpg[/IMG]

[b]Detroit Arsenal - 2011 Mid-season update - All-American Premier League[/b][/center]

It's been a good start in the Motor City. We have a small squad, but the players have really responded well to the rigors of a league campaign and three long cup runs (well, one of them not so long).

[b]Nobody likes us, we don't care[/b]
I started with a rigid 4-1-2-2-1 (the 4-5-1 under FM's Tactics Creator), and we ground out some results and were generally criticized by other managers for being boring. As the boys got to grips with that formation, I added a fluid 4-2-3-1 setup and even on our bumpy pitch (We're sharing Titan Field with 2 other clubs) hasn't seemed to slow us much. We've reached the league split, and find ourselves only 1 point off the promotion playoffs. I don't expect us to go up though, because Club America USA and Scott Gallaggher Metro are making the AAPL look like the SPL.

I'm well over the wage budget (by about $780/week), but our cup runs have pretty well taken care of any budget problems. I signed four players in the pre-season:
[b]Michael Gustavson - GK[/b] The 24-year-old (who was on San Jose Earthquakes' books in 2008) came on a free transfer. And while he hasn't been dominant between the sticks, he has been good enough for us. He's been ever present and has 12 clean sheets in his 28 appearances (29 goals against).
[b]Chad Crandell - DC[/b] A US lower-league lifer (mostly with Wilmington Hammerheads before leaving them in 2006), he was signed to provide some veteran presence and solidify the backline. He's also stepped in DMC/MC roles for us occasionally. The 36-year-old is starting to show signs of decline, but so far he has a 6.65 average rating in his 25 appearances.
[b]Alex Ughiove - DC[/b] The 28-year-old came up with Richmond Kickers, and spent a year with Crystal Palace Baltimore (RIP). He's turned into a rock at the back, and a threat from corners: he's scored 5 times in 28 appearances, including a hat-trick in our Wolverine Cup semifinal.
[b]Kevin Forrest - ST[/b] I signed this 26-year-old to serve as a target man in my lone-striker setup. He has experience with both Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers in both clubs' pre-MLS incarnations. For us though, he's notched 11 goals in 22 appearances.

But it's a couple of guys who were already with the club that have really helped lead the charge:
[b]Hector Gallardo - AML[/b] The 22-year-old Detroit native missed some time with injury earlier in the season, but is a terror marauding down the left (with the occasional swap with Jimmy Holmes on the right). He has 10 goals and 7 assists in 18 appearances, good for a 7.38 average rating
[b]Jimmy Holmes - AMR[/b] Good in cups and league, the 24-year-old Detroit native has 7 goals and 9 assists in his 26 appearances. Has a real knack for finding Gallardo on the other wing.

Gallardo and Holmes don't have very good attributes, but they really seem to flourish in my tactics. One of them will run with the ball down the wing and draw the defenders, then find the other with a lovely ball for him to run onto in the penalty area.

We don't have the biggest squad (usually we have just enough players to fill out the starting XI and the 5-7 substitutes spots - depending if we're in the cup or league - and I have had to pull players from the U18s to make up a squad), and we may well be overachieving. But we're in the top 10 at the moment, and that's really all I was hoping for when the league split into promotion and relegation groups.

Cup play has been an adventure. We achieved the minimum aim of reaching the [B]North American Open Cup[/B] first round, where we lost to NASL (D2. We're D5) side Michigan Bucks 1-4. We were never really in that one, but winning was never in the cards. We are still active in the [B]All-American Cup[/B] (our league cup) where we have a quarterfinal trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, coming up in a few days.

We did raise our first piece of silverware though, lifting the [B]Wolverine Cup[/B] (a state cup for all the clubs based in Michigan). We got a bit of a fortunate draw, as we drew amateur sides in the first two rounds (stomping Carpathia Kickers 6-0 behind Ughiove's hat-trick, after Carpathia's manager made some noises about us having a weak squad). Our fellow AAPL side Kalamazoo (struggled near the bottom) shocked Michigan Bucks in the semifinal 0-3, and then we beat Kalamazoo 1-0 in the final (at Ford Field) in a match that was not as close as the score would suggest: We had 70% possession, and Kalamazoo didn't even record a shot until about the 72nd minute. Lifting that trophy has made (most of) the players believers. Where before my ass man would tell me that a number of players were struggling to motivate themselves for me, now Forrest is the only one I get that message about.

The board aren't happy about me blowing the wage budget, but even so we've posted a profit of about $250K so far this season, thanks to the cup runs.

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Cup runs are always nice to keep a club floating. Congrats on the Wolverine Cup :thup:

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[quote name='cerud']Cup runs are always nice to keep a club floating. [/QUOTE]

Well, we also picked up our $100K payment from our affiliation to Arsenal USA. :D

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Sounds a fun save, good luck with the second half of the season

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Wolverine Cup, ha. Whats next, the Cyclops League? :D.

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Wolverine is the mascot for the University of Michigan. Makes complete sense. I'm playing this with an amateur team from Florida and the equivalent is the Sunshine Cup and the NY on is called the Big Apple Cup. Kudos to the creator for putting so much effort into this db. Great job so far though!

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[quote name='SetUpMan50']Wolverine is the mascot for the University of Michigan. Makes complete sense. I'm playing this with an amateur team from Florida and the equivalent is the Sunshine Cup and the NY on is called the Big Apple Cup. Kudos to the creator for putting so much effort into this db. Great job so far though![/QUOTE]

The creator of the XML is clearly a UM fan calling the cup for Michigan teams the Wolverine Cup... ;)

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[quote name='Niebiescy']Is that a HS field or a stadium? Can't even see any bleachers (as you Americans call them) for fans to sit on. I imagine that this club has no fans at all? ;)[/QUOTE]

There is a small section on the left hand side of the pitch as you look at the picture. It must be the worst American stadium (and I use the term loosely here) I've seen!

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[quote name='rancer890']The creator of the XML is clearly a UM fan calling the cup for Michigan teams the Wolverine Cup... ;)[/QUOTE]

Except the state nickname is the "Wolverine State." :)

[quote]
It has been generally accepted that Michigan was nicknamed "The Wolverine State" for the abundance of wolverines that once roamed the peninsula. However, according to the Michigan Historical Center, wolverines were very rare in Michigan if they were present at all. It's not clear how this nickname originated, but there are two theories.

Some think the nickname was originated by Ohioans in 1835 during a dispute over an Ohio/Michigan boundary called the "Toledo Strip." This dispute became known as the Toledo War. Though Michigan and Ohio both sent troops to the area, no shots were ever fired. It's said that Ohioans, at that time, referred to Michiganians as "...as vicious and bloodthirsty as wolverines."

Another theory is proposed that Native Americans compared the way that settlers were taking land, in the 1830s, to the way the excessively greedy wolverine went after its food.

[url]http://www.netstate.com/states/intro/mi_intro.htm[/url]
[/quote]

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Great job so far! Good luck in keeping up with the bigger clubs in the league!

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[CENTER][video=youtube_share;7b5HXZRQFss]http://youtu.be/7b5HXZRQFss[/video]
[B]Detroit Arsenal - 2011 Season Review[/B][/CENTER]

A truly fantastic season comes to an end in the Motor City. Our start in the championship group was a little shaky, as we picked up only 5 points from 12 against teams around us. But results around us meant we were still in the chase for the promotion playoffs. I wasn't confident of it though, as we still had matches against the big boys Club America USA, Scott Gallaggher Metro and Sockers FC still to come. But we pulled off a surprise win at SGM and home against Chivas El Paso (also in the playoff spots) to clamber into the top 5. The form stuttered again (lost 3-1 to America USA, which was an improvement on our 2-5 defeat earlier in the season), but a 93rd minute goal from Ashley Miller gave us a 1-0 win over FC Milwaukee and secured the final playoff spot with one match left.

With our playoff positioning locked in and our final match at Sockers FC a dead rubber, I opted to rest my key players to avoid injuries and/or yellow card suspensions. It was not a good decision as we were humiliated 6-0 and morale plummeted.

Still, we were in the playoffs, and if you told me at the start of the season that we'd be in with a chance at promotion, I would have snapped your hand off.

For the [B]playoff promotion semifinal[/B] we were facing runners-up SGM. The first leg in suburban St. Louis was a fluky affair. They scored in the 11th minute off a free kick with a cross-cum-shot. We were back on level terms in the 59th minute when their goalkeeper made a howler and punched the ball into his own net. It looked like we were going to get out of the away leg with a draw, but 4 minutes into 2 minutes of stoppage time, SGM scored from a corner off a goalmouth scramble.

I was not happy about the extension of stoppage time, but contented myself with the knowledge that we'd grabbed an away goal. A 1-0 win would be enough to get us through to the final. Instead, BOTH of my center backs scored in the first half, and suddenly we were leading 3-2 on aggregate. SGM managed to level the tie in the 65th minute though. 3-3 now, and both sides with an away goal. If it stayed that way, we were going to extra time. But Kevin Forrest was put through in the 84th minute, and he slotted home. We ran out with a 4-3 win on aggregate, and we were headed to the final against ... Sockers FC.

So it was off to the [B]promotion playoff final[/B] and this time I was bringing my full team to Chicago, minus Kevin Forrest who was booked in the previous match and thus out with yellow card accumulation. I tried to play defensively, but Sockers breached the defense in the 15th and 20th minutes and generally played us off the pitch (we only had 1 shot). So we were heading home down 0-2 on aggregate.

With a sellout crowd of 1,875 at a rainy Titan Field, we went into halftime scoreless, and looking at another season in the AAPL. I made a couple of tweaks at halftime to try to take advantage of Sockers' 3-5-2 setup: I told the boys to mix up their passes instead of using our normal short passing game, and I told Hector Gallardo and Jimmy Holmes to play as inside forwards instead of wingers, hoping that they, Ashley Miller and Kevin Forrest would create some 4-on-3 mismatches in the central defense.

And boy did it ever work. Forrest gave us a glimpse of hope scoring 1 minute into the second half. Then Miller scored 4 minutes later and suddenly we were on level terms and looking very dangerous, getting the ball over Sockers midfield. Miller decided he might as well be a hero, and scored with a snap header in the 60th minute. WE'RE WINNING THIS NOW!!!! Gallardo added some insurance in the 66th minute when he stole the ball just inside our own half and took it down the other end before a cool finish past the keeper. Sockers came at us with real desperation and we fended off most of their attacks until they got one back in the 87th minute. So it's only 4-3 now, and another Sockers goal means they go through on away goals. But as you can probably guess, we answered the challenge and ran out with a 4-3 aggregate win. Football. Bloody hell.

Detroit Arsenal are going up. A completely unexpected promotion campaign, completed with two fightbacks in the playoffs.

Beating Scott Gallaggher Metro in the playoffs even more satisfying, as they beat us in the All-American Cup semifinal. Although we would have played Club America USA in the final, and there was no way we would beat them. They ended up winning the league by 15 points, scoring 83 goals in 29 games with a +52 goal difference.

[B]Final review[/B]
[B]League[/B] 5th (promoted via playoffs)
[B]North American Open Cup[/B] First round (lost to NASL side Arizona Sahuaros)
[B]All-American Cup[/B] Semi-final (lost to AAPL side Scott Gallaggher Metro)
[B]Wolverine Cup[/B] WINNERS

[B]Goals for next season[/B]
1. Survive in USL Pro-West
2. Find a center back to pair with Alex Ugiovhe, as Chad Crandell's declining skill means he won't be back.
3. Find a ball-winning central midfielder. Brian Morris has done okay here, but he's a defensive midfielder (best role: anchor man) playing out of position as a MC.
4. Find a deep-lying playmaker in central midfield. We've alternated between Justin Stowell (who is an MC, but whose best role is as an advanced playmaker. And with me using an attacking midfield player as part of a 4-2-3-1, I don't want to send one of the MCs forward) and Guillermo Martinez (who is an AMCRL), and they've been okay. But I'd really like someone who can pull the strings
5. Use some of our extra cash (our financial situation is listed as "Secure" thanks to the prize money) to improve our facilities.
6. Cut the wage bill. My guess is we'll have a higher wage budget to compete in USL Pro - West, but I'm doubtful it will cover the roughly $750/week I'm currently over by.

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Congrats on promotion! A truly epic promotion final. You might actually get all the budget you need since you'll be entering the fully professional leagues.

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Congrats on a well fought promotion battle! Have you turned pro yet?

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[quote name='cerud']Congrats on a well fought promotion battle! Have you turned pro yet?[/QUOTE]

Yes, when the game updated for 2012.

[quote name='cswalk08']Congrats on promotion! A truly epic promotion final. You might actually get all the budget you need since you'll be entering the fully professional leagues.[/QUOTE]

Turns out we did. Wage budget has been more than doubled with us going full-time.

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Great work getting promoted.

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[CENTER][IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fa/Detroitarsenal.jpg[/IMG]
[B]Detroit Arsenal SC / 2012 Season preview / USL Pro - West[/B][/CENTER]

So, with our dramatic playoff promotion well behind us now, it's time to step up and prepare for life in a higher division.

Guiding the club to promotion was highly rewarding to me, as the board offered a new 1-year deal (I still had 1 year left on the old deal) on $1500/week, a significant bump up from my previous deal of $950/week.

We ended up booking a profit of $550,000 from the 2011 season (46% of turnover), all of which can be attributed to prize money (we collected a total of $625,000). And although the board declined my suggestion of improving the training facilities (they say we don't have enough money to do so), they did agree a significant step up in our junior coaching (now listed as "adequate"). Baby steps.

Most of the off-season has been spent adding to the staffing levels. We now have a youth coach, a fitness coach, and 5 scouts. Billy Big Time indeed.

[B]Transfers
In:
Chad Dombrowski[/B] [I]Out of contract[/I] DC/L, age 31. Originally signed to slot in at center back, a move later in the close season has pushed him out to left back. He's a little slow to play out there (pace 7), but he's determined and a good marker so I'm hopeful he can make up for his speed deficiency. He's also going to be our youth coach, so I kill two birds with one stone.
[B]Hitalo[/B] [I]Out of contract[/I] DM/MC, age 19. The young Brazilian spent part of 2011 with Hollywood United where he didn't make a first team appearance. He's slight of build (5'7, 121), and not the strongest player (strength: 4), but he's going to slot in as our ball-winning midfielder for now. Has quite a number of double-digit attributes already, so he can contribute somewhere for us right away.
[B]Sead Hajrovic[/B] [I]Loan - Arsenal FC[/I] DC, age 18. The former Swiss U17 player finds himself buried in Arsenal's reserves and with his contract expiring in the summer. I'll bring him in for what is effectively a 5-month trial in which he can play competitive matches.

So I've definitely addressed two roles I felt needing shoring up (center back, and ball-winning central midfielder), plus got a left back with bonus youth coaching ability. We've had some other trialists in camp, but none has really shown himself to be worth signing as I try to take it easy with turning over the team.

[B]Out:
Chad Crandell[/B] [I]Out of contract[/I]. The board are unhappy that I let him go, but I decided to trust my coaches' opinions that his skills were declining. He ended up dropping back to the 5th tier, signing with a semi-pro club in Puerto Rico.
[B]Stephen Johnson[/B] [I]Free transfer - Los Angeles Misioneros[/I] Dombrowski getting pushed out to left back meant Johnson effectively dropped to a fourth choice left back. I like cover in every position, but that's way too much cover. Even if Dombrowski moves back to central defense when Hajrovic's loan expires (and doesn't stay on a permanent basis), I still have Craig Sanders and Emerson Guerrero as DL/DC players. I'd say that's good enough.

[B][U]Pre-season expectations[/U][/B]
[B]Board[/B]
[I]League:[/I] Stay clear of relegation
[I]North American Open Cup:[/I] First round
[I]US Open Cup:[/I] Second round
[I]USL Cup:[/I] Learn from the experience
[I]Wolverine Cup:[/I] Final
[B]Bookies:[/B] 40-1
[B]Media:[/B] 17th (out of 20; last relegation spot)

[B]Facts and Figures[/B]
[I]Transfer budget:[/I] $104,000 (up from $80,000)
[I]Wage budget:[/I] $6,250/week (up from $3,000/week)
[I]Season ticket holders:[/I] 469 (up from 200)
[I]Average ticket price:[/I] $7 (no change)
[I]Average season ticket price:[/I] $100 (no change)
[I]Club value:[/I] $600,000 (up from $275,000)

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Late-breakings moves occurring between our final pre-season match and the beginning of the season:

[B]In[/B]
[B]Brian Ombiji[/B] [I]$1,000, Harrisburg City Islanders[/I] AML/ML - Harrisburg offered the 29-year-old Kenyan (1 international appearance, happening in February 2011), so I decide to break into the transfer kitty for our first fee-paying move. He'll displace Hector Gallardo from the left wing position

[B]Out[/B]
[B]Noah Salgado[/B] [I]Loan, Windsor Soccer Club[/I] AML/ST - 20-year-old Salgado moves across the river (and the international border) to Sin City Canada on a season-long loan, with Windsor paying 100% of his wages. Good move for him, as he was likely to just come off the bench for us. Windsor expect he'll be an important first team player for them. And we get to (temporarily anyway) shift his $60/week salary off the books. He's also been drawing attention from other clubs and admits he's having a hard time dealing with all the speculation.

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Wow. I have a decision to make now. I've been approached by Las Vegas Vandals to fill their vacant managerial position. They're sitting 7th in USL Pro-West, were predicted to win it.

Vandals were relegated from USL Pro last season. They've already gone through 2 managers in this save, each lasting less than a year.

I'm a little less than a week into the summer transfer window (5 games until the split), and I've got Detroit Arsenal sitting 14th (5 points clear of the drop), but I've just lost my linchpin central defender for 3-4 months with a torn hamstring.

Here's a side-by-side comparison:

[code]
Las Vegas Vandals (offer) Detroit Arsenal (current)
Contract $1600/week $1500/week
Length Through 2013 season Through 2012 season
Transfer $: $1.3M $103,000
Wage Budget: $31,000/week $7,298/week
Current wages: $31,860/week $7,550/week
Finances: Secure Okay
Season tickets: 82 469
Estimated Value:$2.8M $450K
Stadium: 2500 all-seater 1875 all-seater
Move to 14K stadium March 2014 (shared with 2 other clubs)
Corporate Fac.: Adequate Adequate
Training Fac.: Adequate Fairly basic
Youth Fac.: Basic Minimal
Juniors: Basic Adequate
Youth Recruit: Basic Basic

[/code]

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Should add that even in our cramped facility, Detroit Arsenal are drawing 1718 per game (92% of capacity, to lead the USL Pro-West). Las Vegas are drawing only 857 (34%, 17th in the USL Pro-West)

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Think I'd be tempted to move they might not be attracting as many fans as Detroit but they look like they have a better set up for growth.

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Las Vegas have a better setup so I think it would be a good move.

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Well, in the end I couldn't bring myself to do it. I grew up in Michigan, my favorite teams in all US sports bear the name "Detroit," and I just didn't feel right leaving after 1-1/2 seasons for a team in the same league (even if it is in Sin City).

[center]
[img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fa/Detroitarsenal.jpg[/img]
[b]Detroit Arsenal - 2012 mid-season update - USL Pro-West[/b]
[/center]
We had a rude welcome to the fourth tier, picking up only 2 points from the first 15 to drop into the relegation zone. I called a team meeting and told the players that there was still plenty of time to turn things around. Fortunately this was ahead of a run of matches against teams also in danger of getting sucked into a relegation battle. We proceeded to win four on the trot (the last a 1-5 demolition of Oklahoma City).

A hiccup of form followed after that with a bad 3-0 loss at the table-toppers Abbotsford Mariners, and a 0-0 home draw against LA Misioneros (also in the top 10). That followed through with a 3-2 loss at relegation-threatened Fresno Fuego in which we threw away a 2-0 lead after 8 minutes.

The Las Vegas offer came after a 0-2 loss to Lancaster Rattlers, but my rejection of the move seemed to have spurred on the team as we gained a smash-and-grab 1-2 win against Des Moines Menace in which we fell behind and were under pressure pretty much the entire game. A win at 19th placed Tulsa (who were on a 5-match unbeaten run to get themselves off the bottom) and draws against Las Vegas and Dallas Roma concluded the first half of the season.

And what a shock that is. We were predicted to finish 17th, but instead we find ourselves in 8th and going into the championship group. (in fact, if we hadn't equalized in the 75th minute against Dallas Roma, we'd be in the relegation group. It's only a 7-point gap between 5th (the last playoff spot) and 17th (the final relegation spot) ).

We've lost our linchpin central defender Alex Ughiove with a torn hamstring, which prompted me to tweak my 4-2-3-1 (moving the central midfielders back as defensive midfielders to provide an additional screen for our backline). But overall our success is down to our defense: We've conceded only 20 goals in 19 league matches, putting us in a 4-way tie for 3rd for fewest conceded. We're not much going forward though, with only 24 goals to our credit, putting us 13th in USL Pro-West.

I tried to address that in the summer transfer window, signing Brazilian MC/AMC [b]Luiz Gustavo[/b] as a free agent. He's only 20 years old, but he's already making us look more dangerous with 2 goals and an assist in his first 4 league matches. It's the only move I made in the window; I tried to find a center back on loan to replace Ughiove, but none of the players my ass man came up with fit what I was looking for. [b]Sead Hajrovic[/b] went back to Arsenal upon the expiration of his loan, was released a few days later, and wasn't interested in a permanent return to Detroit.

The downside is I'm now over the wage budget by about $250/week, and we're bleeding cash at the rate of about $90,000 per month. We're still sitting on a bank balance of about $660,000, but that's going to vanish pretty quickly at this rate. Still, being in the championship group means we'll finish no lower than 10th, which is still good for $500,000 in prize money. We're only 3 points off the promotion playoffs (and 6 off the top), but honestly I'm just pleased we don't have to worry about relegation this season.

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Oh, Jason. *shakes head* :(

Good luck with your..... 'team', but until you leave that god-awful city, I won't be reading again! LOL ;)

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Cmon Jason...think of all the cool things you can do in Vegas! :D

Are you open to leaving under the right circumstances though?

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[quote name='Deisler26']Oh, Jason. *shakes head* :(

Good luck with your..... 'team', but until you leave that god-awful city, I won't be reading again! LOL ;)[/QUOTE]

Detroit has character. :cool:

[quote name='rancer890']Cmon Jason...think of all the cool things you can do in Vegas! :D

Are you open to leaving under the right circumstances though?[/QUOTE]

Maybe. I want to see what I can accomplish here though.

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[quote name='Jason the Yank']Detroit has character. :cool:[/QUOTE]

But the most hated hockey team in the world. To me. ;)

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[quote name='Deisler26']But the most hated hockey team in the world. To me. ;)[/QUOTE]

Our hockey team brings light into darkness. Unknown skills to places like Columbus, Anaheim and Toronto. It's like watching Barcelona on skates. ;)

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[quote name='Jason the Yank']Our hockey team brings light into darkness. Unknown skills to places like Columbus, Anaheim and Toronto. It's like watching Barcelona on skates. ;)[/QUOTE]

Unless you're getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs. Or relying on the perfect male specimen season after season (I hate DET, but really respect Lidstrom). Or getting bent over at the Joe Bugner, 10-3 ;) ;)

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Well we have to let the other teams win sometime. ;)

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On an unrelated note, does anyone who plays through Steam know if it keeps your save? The "R" key has become detached from my laptop. Which isn't a problem for FM (unless you're doing a search), but I figure I should start looking for a new laptop.

Granted, I'll probably just put a little money aside every month, so FM 13 will probably be out by the time I have enough dosh squirreled away to pay for one.

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[quote name='Jason the Yank']Well we have to let the other teams win sometime. ;)[/QUOTE]

Yeah, yeah. ;) Are you actually an Inbred Wings fan?

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[quote name='Deisler26']Yeah, yeah. ;) Are you actually an Inbred Wings fan?[/QUOTE]

I'm old enough to remember the dark days when they were so bad even the local media referred to them as the "Dead Wings" or "Dead Things." :D

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[quote name='Jason the Yank']I'm old enough to remember the dark days when they were so bad even the local media referred to them as the "Dead Wings" or "Dead Things." :D[/QUOTE]

Don't talk to me about dark days...I'm Edmonton born and raised and grew up in the 1980s. Now is our dark days :( ... made even worse now that I live in Vancouver.

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[quote name='Jason the Yank']I'm old enough to remember the dark days when they were so bad even the local media referred to them as the "Dead Wings" or "Dead Things." :D[/QUOTE]

LOL. Ah, the good old days ;)

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[quote name='cerud']Don't talk to me about dak days...I'm Edmonton born and raised and grew up in the 1980s. Now is our dark days :( ... made even worse now that I live in Vancouver.[/QUOTE]

Ryan Murray for you guys this year. Well, that's if your G doesn't blow a tire.

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[quote name='cerud']Don't talk to me about dark days...I'm Edmonton born and raised and grew up in the 1980s. Now is our dark days :( ... made even worse now that I live in Vancouver.[/QUOTE]

I can top that. I'm a Lions fan also. :D

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