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FM16: MLS and USA/Canada National Teams - A Growing Market


Stonewall458

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Soccer in North America has traditionally been a sport dominated by teams from Latin America (Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, etc.). However, over the last 20 or so years, Canada and the United States have stepped up their game and are now a force to be reckoned with.

I live in the US and I've been following MLS for the last few seasons and it is a thoroughly entertaining league to watch. When I found out that Football Manager had a much more realistic version of how MLS worked (as opposed to the FIFA games), I became very excited to try my hand at managing an MLS club.

If you've never managed an MLS club before, the rules can be quite confusing. I will do my best to explain the intricacies and quirks of MLS to you all. However, if you'd like a more in-depth version of the MLS rules, here's a link to the Roster Rules section of MLS's website.

This guide will not be a long-winded history of MLS and its National Teams. This guide is for new managers looking to get the most out of their team in FM16. I should also note that this guide is being written after the conclusion of the 2015 season so my perceptions of players will be different than if I was writing this in January. Also I should note that I will be using mostly North American measurements for players (feet, inches, pounds, etc.) and using American dollars per year for salaries.

In each of the conference previews, I’ve written a brief overview of the club as well as given basic stats on their ground, facilities, and financial status. I’ve also included a few key players and upcoming prospects for each club that I believe are worth looking at.

In later sections, I'll be going more into detail about the American and Canadian national teams as well as going into more detail about the MLS rules.

Please feel free to comment on any thoughts or opinions you have of certain players. It would be greatly appreciated!

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MLS Eastern Conference



The Eastern Conference of MLS has not had a good run over the last few seasons. Eastern Conference teams only have 2 MLS Cup trophies within the last 10 years. However, Eastern Conference teams have had better luck in the regular season with 6 Supporters Shields over the same time span.

The top 6 clubs in the Eastern Conference qualify for the playoffs with the top 2 clubs getting a bye into the 2nd round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. The bottom 4 playoff teams play each other (3rd vs. 6th, 4th vs. 5th) in a one-off knockout round game with the higher seed hosting. The winners of those matchups go on to face the 1st and 2nd place clubs in a two-leg home-and-away series. Another two-leg home-and-away series is played after this with the winner ending up in the MLS Cup Final. The finalist with the best regular season record will host the Final.

Chicago Fire Soccer Club

Odds: 80-1 - Media Prediction: 17th - Value: $156m

Toyota Park - Capacity: 20,000 - Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 4,500

Allocation Funds: $174,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $205,000

Training Facilities: Impressive - Youth Facilities: Average

Junior Coaching: Adequate - Youth Recruitment: Average

Based out of Bridgeview, IL, the Chicago Fire are one of most storied franchises in MLS. They were a perennial contender for MLS Cup through the late 90s and early 00s. In recent years though, they have gone through a horrible stretch of results. The Fire have only made the Eastern Conference playoffs once since 2010, and even then they got knocked out in the first round. I recommend this club for anyone looking for a "Return To Glory" save.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

Columbus Crew SC

Odds: 50-1 - Media Prediction: 11th - Value: $108m

Mapfre Stadium - Capacity: 20,000 - Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 8,500

Allocation Funds: $450,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $1,070,000

Training Facilities: Superb - Youth Facilities: Average

Junior Coaching: Adequate - Youth Recruitment: Average

Columbus Crew SC is one of the original ten clubs that played in the inaugural season of MLS in 1996. The Crew are always a threat to win MLS Cup every single year. 2015 (in real life) was no different as they made it all the way to the MLS Cup Final. Consistency has been a key part of Columbus’s history. Out of all 20 MLS seasons, they have made the playoffs 13 times. I recommend this club to anyone looking to take a good team and get them over the hump.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

D.C. United

Odds: 50-1 - Media Prediction: 12th - Value: $137m

RFK Stadium - Capacity: 25,000 (up to 45,596) - Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 5,500

Allocation Funds: $875,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $850,000

Training Facilities: Impressive - Youth Facilities: Superb

Junior Coaching: Average - Youth Recruitment: Above Average

*NOTE*: Due to move into 22,000 seat "DCU Stadium" in January 2018.

DC United have a roller coaster history. They started out in 1996 with 4 consecutive MLS Cup Final appearances and 3 wins. This was followed by a down period with no playoff appearances 3 seasons in a row. It picked back up again in the mid 00s with a 2004 MLS Cup trophy followed by more playoff appearances. Then in 2013 they had the worst season for any team in MLS history. DC United are also the only team in MLS history to win a CONCACAF trophy, albeit under the old format back in 1998. The upside to managing this club is they have quite a bit of money to spend and only 1 DP slot is taken up.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Montreal Impact

Odds: 50-1 - Media Prediction: 8th - Value: $125m

Saputo Stadium - Capacity: 20,800- Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 8,300

Allocation Funds: $249,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $338,000

Training Facilities: Good - Youth Facilities: Good

Junior Coaching: Average - Youth Recruitment: Above Average

The Montreal Impact came into the league as an expansion club in 2012, replacing the 2nd division club with the same name. In their first few seasons, they were at the bottom of the East consistently. But in 2014 they turned it around and finished 3rd in the conference. The Impact are battling for Canadian supremacy in the Eastern Conference along with Toronto. Montreal is another club that have yet to prove themselves as a contender for playoff places every year.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots



Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

New England Revolution

Odds: 100-1 - Media Prediction: 19th - Value: $153m

Gillette Stadium - Capacity: 20,000 (up to 66,829) - Surface: Synthetic (New) - Season Ticket Holders: 7,500

Allocation Funds: $315,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $550,000

Training Facilities: Excellent - Youth Facilities: Good

Junior Coaching: Adequate - Youth Recruitment: Average

Honestly, a 19th place finish is just plain wrong for New England. There’s enough quality in this club that you should easily get into the playoffs. New England have yet to win an MLS Cup, but they’ve been to the final 5 times since their first season in 1996. They are yet another club to have many up and down seasons in MLS. They are very much the bridesmaid of MLS.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

New York Red Bulls

Odds: 40-1 - Media Prediction: 6th - Value: $140m

Red Bull Arena - Capacity: 25,000 - Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 9,000

Allocation Funds: $249,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $650,000

Training Facilities: Impressive - Youth Facilities: Superb

Junior Coaching: Average - Youth Recruitment: Above average

The Red Bulls should be much better than they actually are. They are even more of a bridesmaid than the New England Revolution in MLS. Since their inception in 1996 (as the New York/New Jersey Metrostars), they have only won 2 trophies. For a team based in the largest city in the country, this is unacceptable. There’s even a famous saying because of New York’s disappointment. “That’s so Metro.” They have money and if you control them the board will expect you to contend for MLS Cup immediately.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

New York City Football Club

Odds: 33-1 - Media Prediction: 3th - Value: $147m

Yankee Stadium - Capacity: 49,642 - Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 18,000

Allocation Funds: $1,500,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $1,400,000

Training Facilities: Impressive - Youth Facilities: Good

Junior Coaching: Average - Youth Recruitment: Above average

The 2015 expansion side instantly became the villain of MLS when they exploded on the scene. The product of Manchester City and the New York Yankees, NYCFC has virtually unlimited resources (at least in real life). They’ve got money to burn and aim to win MLS Cup as fast and as frequently as possible. This is one of the tougher clubs to take on because if results don’t start going your way, you’re sacked.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

Orlando City SC

Odds: 80-1 - Media Prediction: 15th - Value: $147m

Citrus Bowl - Capacity: 60,700 - Surface: Synthetic (New) - Season Ticket Holders: 16,000

Allocation Funds: $800,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $713,000

Training Facilities: Impressive - Youth Facilities: Good

Junior Coaching: Average - Youth Recruitment: Average

*NOTE*: Due to move into 19,500 seat "Orlando City Stadium" in January 2017.

Contrary to NYCFC, Orlando City was the 2015 expansion team that did it “the right way.” Orlando had a lot of grassroots fan support that forced MLS’s hand to put a club there. That alongside the signing of Brazilian great Kaká made Orlando City a very likeable club. Despite their likeability and the ability of Kaka though, they’re still not quite playoff ready.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

Philadelphia Union

Odds: 100-1 - Media Prediction: 18th - Value: $142m

PPL Park - Capacity: 18,500 - Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 11,500

Allocation Funds: $114,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $350,000

Training Facilities: Impressive - Youth Facilities: Excellent

Junior Coaching: Average - Youth Recruitment: Average

Philadelphia is a perennial under-achiever in the Eastern Conference. Since they’re first season (2010), they’ve only made the playoffs once. They play in a large market but can’t seem to find results or attract enough big name players to get over the hump. Philadelphia has also been the subject of many jokes because of their overabundance of goalkeepers. But things may be turning around for them soon with the acquisition of players like Maurice Edu and Tranquillo Barnetta.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots





Toronto FC

Odds: 40-1 - Media Prediction: 4th - Value: $170m

BMO Field - Capacity: 30,000 - Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 20,000

Allocation Funds: $50,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $688,000

Training Facilities: Excellent - Youth Facilities: Excellent

Junior Coaching: Average - Youth Recruitment: Average

*NOTE*: Currently in the middle of stadium expansion. Only away games until May 2015.

At the start of the 2014 season, Toronto FC got a new general manager in Tim Bezbatchenko. Bezbatchenko was able to attract many high profile players including US International Michael Bradley, England international Jermain Defoe, and Brazilian international goalkeeper Julio Cesar. However even with all these huge signings, they still managed to not make the playoffs. They’ve got money to burn and continue to get poor results. Can you turn that around?

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

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MLS Western Conference



The Western Conference has been the more dominant of the two conferences recently. With the addition of Sporting KC and Houston Dynamo in 2015 (due to Orlando and NYC joining the East), the West has become even more powerful.

The playoff rules are identical for the Western Conference as they are for the Eastern Conference. The top 6 clubs in the Western Conference qualify for the playoffs with the top 2 clubs getting a bye into the 2nd round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. The bottom 4 playoff teams play each other (3rd vs. 6th, 4th vs. 5th) in a one-off knockout round game with the higher seed hosting. The winners of those matchups go on to face the 1st and 2nd place clubs in a two-leg home-and-away series. Another two-leg home-and-away series is played after this with the winner ending up in the MLS Cup Final. The finalist with the best regular season record will host the Final.

Colorado Rapids

Odds: 50-1 - Media Prediction: 13th - Value: $103m

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park - Capacity: 18,000 - Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 5,700

Allocation Funds: $320,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $700,000

Training Facilities: Superb - Youth Facilitites: Good

Junior Coaching: Adequate - Youth Recruitment: Average

In recent years, Colorado has been at the bottom of the Western Conference. But they definitely have the talent to be a consistent playoff team with the right manager. They’ve got a decent amount of money to spend and because of their Media Prediction, the board is likely to be more patient with you. Unfortunately, Colorado has a reputation of being a middle of the road, boring team. So it might be difficult to attract top foreign talent to the club.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects



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Player profile and report screenshots

FC Dallas

Odds: 80-1 - Media Prediction: 14th - Value: $144m

Toyota Stadium - Capacity: 21,000 - Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 8,400

Allocation Funds: $324,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $463,000

Training Facilities: Superb - Youth Facilities: Superb

Junior Coaching: Average - Youth Recruitment: Established

FC Dallas are a great example of how investing in your academy is just as effective as buying players away from other clubs. Dallas have traditionally not spent much money on buying players from abroad. They set the MLS record for most Homegrown signings in their first team with 13 at the start of the 2015 season. Their academy has produced players that have gone on to appear in the American, Mexican, and Canadian Youth National Teams.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots



Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

Houston Dynamo

Odds: 50-1 - Media Prediction: 10th - Value: $195m

BBVA Compass Stadium - Capacity: 21,000 - Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 10,000

Allocation Funds: $320,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $513,000

Training Facilities: Good - Youth Facilities: Great

Junior Coaching: Average - Youth Recruitment: Fairly basic

The Dynamo have not been a very good team the last few seasons. Despite this, Head Coach Dominic Kinnear has managed to scratch and claw his team into the playoffs 7 out of his 9 seasons in charge. In 2015 though, Houston have finally splashed some cash and brought in Mexican youth international Erick “Cubo” Torres and veteran US international DeMarcus Beasley.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

Los Angeles Galaxy

Odds: 33-1 - Media Prediction: 3rd - Value: $234m

StubHub Center - Capacity: 27,000 - Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 9,000

Allocation Funds: $125,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $1,400,000

Training Facilities: State of the Art - Youth Facilities: Excellent

Junior Coaching: Average - Youth Recruitment: Above average

The Galaxy have been the kings of MLS since they began in 1996. They are a constant MLS Cup threat year in and year out. As a result of their success, they’ve gotten plenty of recognition abroad as well as attracted many big name European players. Most notably David Beckham back in 2007. Beckham brought with him a large amount of international exposure as well as being the first Designated Player in MLS.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

Portland Timbers

Odds: 40-1 - Media Prediction: 7th - Value: $180m

Providence Park - Capacity: 22,000 - Surface: Synthetic (New) - Season Ticket Holders: 15,250

Allocation Funds: $99,990 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $300,000

Training Facilities: Good - Youth Facilities: Good

Junior Coaching: Adequate - Youth Recruitment: Average

Portland is a small market team with some of the most vocal fans in MLS. Providence Park arguably has the best atmosphere in league. Their main supporters group, Timbers Army, have come up with many creative tifos over the years. The Timbers are a very popular team despite their low budget.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

Real Salt Lake

Odds: 50-1 - Media Prediction: 9th - Value: $106m

Rio Tinto Stadium - Capacity: 20,213 – Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 15,000

Allocation Funds: $315,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $550,000

Training Facilities: Impressive - Youth Facilities: Great

Junior Coaching: Average - Youth Recruitment: Above average

Real Salt Lake is another great example of how you don’t need millions to build a quality soccer club. When former Head Coach Jason Kreis was at the helm from 2008-2013, RSL made the playoffs every single year and made it to the MLS Cup Final twice with one win. Unfortunately, NYCFC poached Kreis after the 2013 season and RSL haven’t been the same.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

San Jose Earthquakes

Odds: 100-1 - Media Prediction: 20th - Value: $144m

Avaya Stadium - Capacity: 18,000 – Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 12,500

Allocation Funds: $350,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $375,000

Training Facilities: Impressive - Youth Facilities: Great

Junior Coaching: Adequate - Youth Recruitment: Fairly basic

The Northern California club has had a very up and down history. They were a good club in the late 90s and early 00s with a good number of playoff appearances and even two MLS Cup wins. However, since 2008 they haven’t done so well. Apart from one really good year in 2012 where they won the Supporters’ Shield, they’ve finished toward the bottom of the Western Conference. San Jose is known for playing ugly, smash mouth, route-one soccer.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

Seattle Sounders FC

Odds: 33-1 - Media Prediction: 1st - Value: $237m

CenturyLink Field - Capacity: 38,500 (up to 67,000) – Surface: Synthetic (New) - Season Ticket Holders: 36,500

Allocation Funds: $699,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $775,000

Training Facilities: Impressive - Youth Facilities: Great

Junior Coaching: Adequate - Youth Recruitment: Average

Seattle is arguably the crown jewel of MLS. Seattle gets the highest attendance numbers for their games and as a result the atmosphere is absolutely incredible (I’m speaking from personal experience). Because of all this, they have lots of cash to spread around when they need to. They’ve spent that money on big name strikers like US International Clint Dempsey and Nigerian International and former Newcastle and Inter Milan player Obafemi Martins. However, they have yet to win a MLS Cup Final.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

Sporting Kansas City

Odds: 40-1 - Media Prediction: 5th - Value: $161m

Sporting Park - Capacity: 18,500 – Surface: Grass - Season Ticket Holders: 11,000

Allocation Funds: $225,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $1,000,000

Training Facilities: Impressive - Youth Facilities: Great

Junior Coaching: Average - Youth Recruitment: Average

Sporting Kansas City was one of the original ten clubs when MLS started in 1996. Historically, they have been a fairly good team with a few title wins and Supporters’ Shields. But the team really found its identity when they rebranded the team from their old name, Kansas City Wizards, to their current name. Sporting KC has lots of young talent that are performing at a high level already. They also have a sweet 3rd kit that I’ve always been a fan of.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots

Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Odds: 80-1 - Media Prediction: 16th - Value: $144m

BC Place - Capacity: 21,000 (up to 54,320) – Surface: Synthetic (New) - Season Ticket Holders: 13,500

Allocation Funds: $399,000 – Salary Cap Budget Available: $688,000

Training Facilities: Average - Youth Facilities: Great

Junior Coaching: Average - Youth Recruitment: Above average

The Vancouver Whitecaps are another club that has tons of young talent at their disposal. They were the first Canadian club to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2012. Vancouver is on the cusp of breaking through as a MLS Cup contender. With their new signings in place, they have a strong case (despite their low media prediction score) to make it to MLS Cup and win it.

Key Players

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Player profile and report screenshots



Prospects

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Player profile and report screenshots

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The US Men's National Team (also referred to as USMNT) have disappointed as of late. After an explosive 2013 where the team won 16 out of their 23 games in all competitions that year, expectations were high going into the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Some pundits even thought the US had an outside chance of making the final. However, after placing 2nd in the group stage they came up against another tournament darkhorse in Belgium. The US fought hard but ended up losing 2-1 after extra time.

The expectations of the US are that they need to continue to be a dominant force in CONCACAF and that they need to consistently qualify for the knockout rounds of the World Cup. If you want to learn more about the US going into the World Cup, I highly recommend watching KickTV's documentary series during CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying called "

" on Youtube. I'd also recommend watching the documentary series done by
that was done just before the World Cup.

Below I have a brief breakdown of each position on the field and who I think are quality players currently as well as in the future. I've also included a small list at the very bottom with who my usual call-ups are in the first season or two.

GOALKEEPERS

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Tim Howard (left) or Brad Guzan (right) will start 99% of the US's games for the next 3-4 seasons. Both keepers have plenty of experience in the English Premier League and are definitely good enough to start on just about any club in the world. I usually rotate them back and forth depending on who's in better form at the time.

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William Yarbrough (CD León), Bill Hamid, and Sean Johnson are your goalkeepers of the future. These guys are the next generation after Howard and Guzan retire from international competition. Yarbrough is the best of the 3 right now. He's usually the 3rd keeper I call in for international games.

CENTRAL DEFENDERS

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Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, and John Brooks (Hertha BSC) are your main center backs that you should call in for most of you games in the forseeable future. If these guys aren't injured (or on absolutely terrible form) they need to get called up.

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Michael Orozco Fiscal (Xolos Tijuana) and Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) will battle it out for the 4th center back slot. I usually call up Cameron because he's more versatile but Orozco Fiscal tends to play better for his club team. It's up to you who you call up. Both are quality defenders.

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Matt Miazga, Shane O'Neill (Mouscron-Péruwelz), and Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham) are your center backs of the future. It should be noted that Miazga and Carter-Vickers are both duel-nationals. In real life, Miazga has already been cap-tied for the US but Carter-Vickers has not. You may want to call those two up as soon as possible so that Poland and England (respectively) don't snatch him up.

RIGHT BACKS

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Timothy Chandler (Frankfurt) and DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham/Sunderland) are the right backs I always call up. These guys are good and young enough to be in your squad for the next decade if they still healthy. If one of them goes down with injury I usually have Geoff Cameron as the 2nd right back.

LEFT BACKS

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Fabian Johnson (Gladbach) is arguably the best AND most versatile player in the US. He can play anywhere on either flank and is good with both feet. I generally play him as a Left Wing Back to take advantage of his pace and crossing ability while still being a good defender. Edgar Castillo (Monterrey) is a solid backup in case Johnson is injured.

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Tim Ream (Fulham) and DaMarcus Beasley are your 3rd/4th choice Left Backs. They usually only get called up if one of the above are injured. If I need more attacking presence in a backup, I call up Beasley. If I need more defensive help, I call up Ream.

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Ventura Alvarado (Club América) and Greg Garza (Atlas) are your left backs for the future. Garza is more of an attacking threat whereas Alvarado is better at defense and can also play center back if needed.

CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS

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These six players are the best central midfielders for the US right now. The top 3 (Bradley, Diskerud, Nguyen) are your best attacking threats, while your bottom 3 (Danny Williams (Reading), Beckerman, Jones) are your best defensive midfielders. Use any combination of them and you'll have a solid base in the midfield.

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Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal/Rangers) is 17 and has the potential to be a world class attacking midfielder in the future. Emerson Hyndman (Fulham) is almost national team ready and I've given him call ups but he is not quite ready to consistently start for the US at the start of a save. Alfredo Morales (Inglostadt) is a defensive midfield prospect who can play just about anywhere in the midfield or defense.

Wil Trapp and Dillon Powers are excellent prospects from MLS programs. If these guys get consistent starts at their clubs they will be national team ready in no time.

RIGHT WINGERS

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Joe Corona (Veracruz), Graham Zusi, and Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes) are all very good right wingers. I usually rely on Corona and Bedoya to hold the right flank and push Zusi into AMC but Zusi is capable to being a winger as well.

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Gyasi Zardes, Darlington Nagbe, Joel Sonora. Darlington Nagbe needs to be called up into the US national team the first day you become manager. He is a very very good player who has already been cap-tied in real life, but not in FM. If you don't call him up immediately, Liberia (his other nationality) will call him up and you'll never see him again.

LEFT WINGERS

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Brek Shea and Brad Davis are really the only talented left wingers for the US that have a good left foot. For that reason I usually end up calling them up if I play with a Left Winger so they can cross effectively. Bobby Wood (1. FC Union Berlin) likes to play on the left side but since his preferred foot is his right he'll be better off as an Inside Forward.

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Julian Green (FC Bayern) is the obvious standout out of this group. He's got loads of potential AND he's at Bayern Munich. Dillon Serna is another good candidate to play on the left in a few years. Joe Gyau (Dortmund) is another prospect but unfortunately he won't get many call ups because he is injured until 2017. Despite this he is still very good and if his injuries don't ruin his career completely he is a very good option to have.

ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS

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Clint Dempsey is my main AMC even at his advanced age. He plays a fantastic Shadow Striker behind the forward(s). Zusi is his backup most of the time, with Feilhaber getting called up if he has a good run of form.

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These 3 are all future stars. In 2020 it's going to be a fight between Thompson, Zelalem, and Luis Gil for who gets to play the #10 role.

FORWARDS

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Jozy and Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen) are my two strikers normally. The one I play depends on the style I'm using. If I need a target man who can hold up the ball I'll use Altidore but if I need a quick, modern forward I use Johannsson. Terrence Boyd (RB Leipzig) is a solid backup for Jozy but unfortunately he is out until 2016 with a leg injury.

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Bradford Jamieson, Juan Agudelo, and Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht) are forwards of the future. In FM15 I started calling up Rubin as early as 2016. These guys are all quick and definitely fit the mold of a modern striker.

USUAL CALL UPS:

GK: Howard, Guzan, Yarbrough

DEF: Johnson, Chandler, Yedlin, Castillo, Besler, Brooks, Gonzalez, Cameron

MID: Bradley, Beckerman, Jones, Diskerud, Corona, Bedoya, Shea, Green, Dempsey, Zusi

FWD: Altidore, Johannsson

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Oh, Canada. The team based north of the border has historically not been a good side. They have only qualified for one World Cup Final in their history (Mexico 1986). The closest thing to "glory days" that Canadian soccer has had was during the 1985-86 when they qualified for the World Cup and also won the CONCACAF Gold Cup. They won the Gold Cup again in 2000, but that was the last time they won it.

Let's face it, Canada does not produce very good soccer players. However, thanks to 3 teams in MLS and a couple other players playing abroad, things are starting to look up. If you choose to manage for Canada, be prepared for a very difficult challenge.

GOALKEEPERS

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Milan Borjan (Ludogorets), Lars Hirschfeld (Valerenga), and Kenny Stamatopoulos (AIK) are your best 3 goalkeepers. Borjan might look familiar to Liverpool fans as he was the keeper Steven Gerrard scored against in the Champions League last year. Despite this, Borjan is entering the prime of his career now and he should be your starter.

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Crepeau, Carducci, and Quillan Roberts (Toronto II) are 3 great goalkeeping prospects from each of the 3 Canadian MLS clubs. Marco Carducci has the highest potential out of all these guys so he's likely to be your starter of the future.

CENTER BACKS

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Dejan Jakovic (Ballena Shizuoka), Doneil Henry (West Ham), and Steven Vitoria are your best center backs. Vitoria is a Canadian-Portuguese duel-national and he's a great center back (by Canadian standards) so make sure he gets cap tied.

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Bryce Alderson (Dusseldorf), Kofi Opare, and Mele Temguia (FC Montreal) are your future center backs. Opare is almost good enough to start for Canada already but Temguia should be your best option once he develops.

RIGHT BACKS

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Andre Hainault (1.FC Magdeburg) and Atiba Hutchinson (Besiktas) are your best right backs. Hutchinson is one of the best players for Canada and one of the only Canadians playing in a top division abroad.

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Jonny Grant (FC Montreal) and Karl Ouimette (New York Red Bulls) are your future right backs. Ouimette is a versatile defender so he can play on the left or centrally if he can't play on the right.

LEFT BACKS

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Marcel de Jong is one of the best players for Canada. He needs to get called up as often as possible. Ashtone Morgan (Toronto) is a solid backup for de Jong.

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Sam Adekugbe and Maxim Tissot (Montreal) are pretty good left backs and will definitely be serviceable at the left back position in the future.

CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS

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This is where the Canadian National Team is strongest. Will Johnson, Julian De Guzman (Ottawa Fury), and Patrice Bernier (Montreal) are all very solid players with tons of international experience between them. At least one of these guys needs to get called up every time.

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Russell Teibert, Kyle Bekker, and Gershon Koffie are all almost good enough to be included in the above group. They are young and very good. These guys will replace the old guard of De Guzman and Bernier when they eventually retire.

ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS + WINGERS

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I've put the attacking midfielders and wingers together because everyone is decent at all 3 attacking midfield positions. From L to R: Simeon Jackson (Barnsley), Junior Hoilett (QPR), Randy Edwini-Bonsu (Aalen), Russell Teibert, Jonathan Osorio, Kyle Porter (Atlanta Silverbacks), Issey Nakajima-Farran (Terengganu)

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Dario Zanatta (Hearts), Hanson Boakai (FC Edmonton), Jay Chapman, Kianz Froese, Fraser Aird (Rangers)

FORWARDS

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Simeon Jackson, Olivier Occean (Odd), and Lucas Cavallini (Fenix) are all great strikers for Canada. Occean has played for many years in Norway's first division as well as some time in the Bundesliga. Cavallini currently plays in Uruguay's first division.

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Cyle Larin, Jordan Hamilton, and Calum Ferguson (Inverness) are all really good strikers even at their young age. Cyle Larin is good enough to already have 9 caps and 3 goals for Canada at the start of a January 2015 save.

USUAL CALL UPS:

GOALKEEPERS: Borjan, Stamatopoulos, Hirschfeld

DEFENDERS: Henry, Jakovic, Vitoria, Opare, de Jong, Morgan, Hutchinson, Hainault

MIDFIELDERS: Johnson, de Guzman, Bernier, Koffie, Jackson, Hoilett, Osorio, Teibert, Porter, Edwini-Bonsu

FORWARDS: Occean, Larin

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Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, I won't be able to do a fancy write up on all the MLS rules. :(

However, I highly recommend looking into these 2 articles done by the folks at The Raumdeuter. They're short articles and are written from the perspective of someone who is not used to MLS rules.

FM16 MLS Guide – Rules, Regulations, Trades and Drafts Explained

10 Tips For Starting an MLS Save on FM16

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Fantastic thread! I haven't managed in MLS for a few versions now (LA Galaxy), but one day I will be sure to go back.

I do always look at MLS players when managing other clubs though, there's always lots of good players available for free on pre-contract deals at the start of a European season. Sean Johnson, Manneh and Nagbe fall in to that category, whilst Zardes and Powers are also on my radar as my own club are interested in real life. Disappointed that Emeghara hasn't set MLS alight, but hopefully he won't waste his talent over there. Your guide (so far) is really good, congrats.

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Not sure about the licensing issues, but has anyone found Jordan Morris (Stanford University) in FM16? He is young but has gotten a few call ups to the USMNT and is regular for the U23 squad

Unfortunately he is not. There is a chance he ends up in the game at some point though, either via official update or one of the many unofficial transfer updates. He's likely to sign for a team after he finishes at Stanford (his last game is tomorrow night).

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Great thread. I've been following MLS from the UK this year - there's been some great matches.

Orlando City are the team I've followed, having taken in a game there whilst on holiday last year (USL before they joined MLS this year). Keen to try an FM game managing in MLS, but have always been "put off" by all the roster rules. Definitely going to give it a go though. Will follow this thread with interest.

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my beta save was the Timbers and I still play it on occasion (I'm at 2021), Alvas Powell turns into a fantastic fullback.

Some recommendations for players that have American citizenship in Europe/S. America that you can usually get; Rogelio Funes Mori from Monterrey is a pretty good DP level striker (I even got his brother in 2020 because Everton got relegated just because I could), Derrick Williams from Bristol City, Caleb Stanko from Freiburg, Joel Sonora from Boca, Bryan Olivera from... uh, some Argentinian team, and by god get Erik Palmer Brown if you can. He's amazing, he has 15 acceleration and pace as a centerback. I eventually sold him to Europe (I think it was Derby?) for like $10m.

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Matt Miazga (NYRB) is a decent mid-tier Prem DC for anyone interested (in case you couldn't snap up Balanta)

had some scouts like the look of Carducci in the beta too, but the lack of a permit (or Canada's ranking) really lets him down

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Nice one :) Actually have a Timber save running that i am now returning to (after my save in Brazil went crashing down to some scheduling errors ...)

Actually have yet to win the MLS cup or the Supporters Shield in 2018, so i see some decent challenge yet even though my team is beginning to look really good. Have found a way to make the draft better for myself using a 3rd party tool to edit the entrants ...

From the original players, Melano and Valeri have been amazing.

I 2nd the recommendation of Caleb Stanko, Miazga played also really great for New York until he went to Mexico.

2 players i brought over from Europe, both young and with potential:

Florian Trinks (Greuther Fürth) - Very dynamic and technically sound AM (all 3 positions) whose main defect is his relative injury proness.

Alexander Sorloth (Rosenborg) - Got him for free for the 2017 season but could have been bought for manageable amount earlier. Very complete Forward who is both a scorer as well as an asset in terms of participating in play. Teamplayer and high work ethic as well.

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Great thread. I've got two questions:

1. How is Josh Doughty in the line of call-ups?

2. Were did you find the photos of the Canadian national team players, looked great for a Facepack I'm working on atm?

1. He isn't, at least not right now. The younger players are based off of their Potential Ability number and others are ahead of him.

His Potential Ability is a -6, which means anywhere between 90-120, so your mileage may vary.

2. These pictures came from the official Canadian National Team website.

http://www.canadasoccer.com/

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Having played through a season with Philadelphia and after winning the supporters shield and the MLS Cup these are a few people that I think you should keep an eye on:

GK: Andre Blake (Was Goalkeeper of the Year)

RB/LB: Ray Gaddis (2nd in Defender of the Year)

RB: Desevio Payne (Loan from FC Groningen - Improved a lot during his season, tough to get him back for a 2nd season if you have Holland as an active league)

CB: Jevrem Kosnic (Free Transfer)

CB/DM/CM: Amobi Okugo (Very versatile. Keep an eye out - I got him for just a 4th round draft pick from Sporting Kansas City)

CM: Vincent Nogueira (Good chance that he will be sold by the AI - 2nd place MVP)

AMR: C.J. Sapong

ST: Quincy Amarikwa (Good Backup who is often on the transfer list at San Jose)

Other less well known players from around the league to keep a eye on:

DC/DR: Kevin Ellis - Sporting Kansas City | (Averaged 7.24 - Also had 9 assists)

DM: Fatai Alashe - San Jose Earthquakes | (Averaged 7.21 in his first season in the MLS)

M/AMR: Ethan Finley - Columbus Crew | (Averaged 7.28 - 16 Assists & 8 Goals)

AM R/L: Cedrick Mabwati - Columbus Crew (Averaged 7.36 - 16 Goals & 8 Assists)

AM L: Juan Ramirez - Colorado Rapids | (Averaged 7.32 in his first season. Had 7 Assists - Has 7 Assists in 8 games in 2nd Season)

AM LC: Matias Perez Garcia - San Jose Earthquakes | (Was the MVP with an average rating of 8.04! - 4 Goals and 14 Assists in 38 appearances)

ST: Dom Dwyer - Sporting Kansas City | (Golden Boot Winner with 21 in 31)

Of the big name players these were the stand outs:

Erick Torres (Houston Dynamo), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Andrea Pirlo (New York City), Tranquillo Barnetta (Philadelphia Union), Obafemi Martins & Clint Dempsey (Seattle), Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore & Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)

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I just had a save as Toronto FC and Canada, was really fun as you get regens in your academy as soon as you start a game. Another great thing about being a Canadian team is that it only takes 3 season to gain citizenship. I recommend loaning American youngsters from overseas like Julian Green etc. Another great tip is to sell your draft picks for allocation funds, you can usually get like 350k for your 1st round pick, the players in the draft are rubbish and are usually too old (19-21). You can read more about my time with Toronto on my blog, my results with Giovinco were amazing. https://theaustralianfootballmanager.wordpress.com/2015/12/09/toronto-fc-a-new-beginning/

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How does the game reflect bringing in the marqee players?

Can you sign some of the bigger names in the game, or is it more the 2nd tier and below foreign players that can be signed?

Im not expecting superstars in their prime, but id like to see teams be able to bring in players that the league does IRL. (including AI teams being active and doing the same thing)

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