With the MLS Cup coming up this weekend, don't forget to participate in our Football Manager 2013 giveaway. The big question is, of course, who is going to win it all on Saturday, Houston or LA? Follow us on Twitter @operationsports and tweet us your pick along with the hashtag #FootballManager2013, for your chance at winning a copy of the game.
In the meantime, the game's developer, Sports Interactive, simulated the final with FM 2013 (ten times, actually, just to be thorough.) As you will see below, there are some interesting results. The only certainty seems to be that it's going to be very tight match, as five games went into overtime and four went into penalties.
MLS Cup 2012
Because of the unpredictability of soccer, the Football Manager match engine does not represent an accurate simulation over what would happen in a single 90 minute match. However, by repeating a single fixture multiple times it is possible to achieve an accurate result. We have used this technique to simulate the forthcoming MLS Cup match between LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo.
Game 1: LA Galaxy 2-2 Houston (Houston win 5-4 on penalties)
Game 2: LA Galaxy 2-2 Houston (Houston win 5-3 on penalties)
Game 3: LA Galaxy 2-0 Houston
Game 4: LA Galaxy 2-1 Houston
Game 5: LA Galaxy 0-2 Houston
Game 6: LA Galaxy 1-1 Houston (LA Galaxy win 3-0 on penalties)
Game 7: LA Galaxy 3-0 Houston
Game 8: LA Galaxy 1-2 Houston (After extra-time)
Game 9: LA Galaxy 1-1 (Houston win 5-3 on penalties)
Game 10: LA Galaxy 2-1 Houston
Simulation was carried out using the same tactics and formations for every game in order to maintain accuracy.
LA Galaxy: Saunders, Franklin, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Dunivant, Walker, Beckham, Wilhelmsson, Donavan, Buddle, Keane
Houston: Hall, Sarkodie, Boswell, Taylor, Hainault, R Clark, Boniek Garcia, C Clark, Davis, Kandji, Bruin
The stats below back up most of the previews of the game and suggest that LA Galaxy have a slight advantage going into Saturday’s final. They not only scored more goals than Houston across the 10 games, had a slight home advantage and won more games in regular time than Houston. Houston look unlikely to win the game inside 90 minutes but they had a superior record against LA Galaxy when the game went to a penalty shootout. Therefore, the trend seems to be that LA Galaxy look far more likely to win the game inside 90 minutes but that Houston have to be considered favourites if the game goes into overtime.
We cannot simulate the ‘Beckham factor’ i.e the effect that this being his last game could have. It is worth noting this when dealing with the simulation results.
- The simulation showed that a penalty shootout is fairly likely (the game went to penalties 40% of the time).
- Houston and LA Galaxy won 5/10 games each, which suggests that LA Galaxy’s home advantage will be only slight on Saturday.
- A draw after 90 minutes was the most common result; occurring 50% of the time, followed by an LA Galaxy win (40%).
- Galaxy scored 16 goals over the 10 games while Houston managed to score 12.