There was a great idea that I had a few months ago while searching for a new laptop - buy some capture equipment for a game console and start simulating soccer games on FIFA. Particularly New England Revolution games in 2014, but I thought a test run for the the MLS Cup Final would be a nice start.
Well, the capturing thing didn't go all that well, but we still simulated the MLS Cup final between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake anyway. And today we'll find out who's smarting at predicting games, man or machine.
FIFA 14 / XBOX 360 - Sporting KC 1, Real Salt Lake 0 (FT)
In the simulation I used 6 minute halves on Professional difficulty using the most recent downloaded squads which featured no lineup changes for either team from the second legs of their respective Conference Finals.
I'd like to say that it was a brilliantly simulated match that was entertaining to watch, but I'd be lying. RSL managed exactly one decent chance inside the box, a headed effort from Robbie Findley in the first half following a corner. For most of the game RSL seemed content to fire haphazard long range shots from the top of the area, rarely testing Jimmy Nielsen.
SKC on the other hand dominated the wings, sending in countless crosses into the box that were usually claimed easily by Nick Rimando. But on the stroke of halftime, Graham Zusi would send it a brilliant cross to the near post that froze the digital keeper and allowed Paulo Nagamura to head home from close range and the 1-0 final scoreline.
JAKE: Real Salt Lake 2, Sporting KC 1 (FT)
This is strictly an anti-SKC pick. I don't want them to win and I will be openly rooting for RSL. With that being said I think this will be a great final for soccer fans in general with two contrasting formations that have different attacking styles, stingy defenses and solid keepers. I think Rimando has the edge if it gets to penalties, but I'll take RSL in regulation on goals by Javier Morales and Robbie Findley with Dom Dwyer on target for SKC.
COREY: Real Salt Lake 3, Sporting KC 2 (FT)
I honestly think this will be anyone's game and that it will come down to the wire, but I'd really like to see Jason Kreis end his RSL saga with a win--he deserves that much. SKC isn't nearly as cohesive of a team as they were last season, at least not on the attack. I think that RSL will capitalize on SKC's mistakes, however few they may be. I'll say goals from Morales (2) and Gil. SKC goals from C.J. Sapong and Aurelien Collin.
Leave your predictions in the comments and vote in the poll. Don't forget to watch the 2013 MLS Cup this afternoon. Let's see if we're smarter than my XBOX 360.
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