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Strategy Guide
Beating A Premiere European Team in FIFA with an MLS Squad
Soccer just isn't as popular here in the States. But for the few who love the sport, and prefer MLS over most, FIFA can get frustrating. In any game, you want to beat the best of the best with your team So how are you supposed to beat Man City with the Vancouver Whitecaps? Bo McCready knows:

Play on the Floor
 
The long ball is a very viable strategy when you’re either bigger or faster than your opponents. But if you’re using an MLS team against one of the best sides in the game, you’ll be neither. Instead, focus on short, controlled ground passes to move the ball from one end of the field to the other. Don’t get cute and try to dribble past defenders, and don’t bomb the ball down the field – just keep it simple. Crosses and lobbed through balls shouldn’t even cross your mind until you’re around your opponents’ defensive box.
 
The “play on the floor” strategy applies to a lot of goal kicks and free kicks as well. An excessively powerful goal kick will fall right to an opposing defender, setting up a counterattack. It’s the same with free kicks from your own half of the field, which are even more risky because a lot of your players will be pulled forward, leaving gaps in your defense. Look for a clear passing angle, play the ball short, and set up your attack from there.

Concede the Midfield
 
Let’s be honest – midfield play in FIFA 12 is a joke. You can’t stop the CPU before their attack gets close to your box, and vice versa. Instead, focus on playing well around the boxes. A suicidal tackling run by one of your defenders into the midfield won’t work, and your back line will be one man thinner when the CPU advances the ball. On the other hand, CPU players do things that your players never will unless you take manual control, like intercepting passes and making effective tackles.
 
When playing against a better team, it’s all about the risk/reward ratio, and attempting to control the midfield is a risk that isn’t worth taking. The only exception to this rule is if you manually use of your strikers to harass opposing midfielders. That way, you can attempt to spark a counter-attack while allowing your midfielders and defenders to maintain their shape.
 

The premiere european teams are bigger, stronger, and faster -- and better than your MLS team. Good luck.
 
Find your Strengths
 
MLS teams don’t stack up with premiere squads from Europe. But that’s not to say that there aren’t useful MLS players that can change a game. David Beckham’s free kick ability can snag you some low-effort goals. Speedsters like Colorado’s Marvel Wynne can create space and pull defenders out wide, leaving room for your attackers to cut inside. Even lower-rated players often excel in one category, and it’s your job to pick through your squad (including the substitutes and reserves) to find skills that you can exploit. This isn’t NCAA Football, so look beyond categories like speed and acceleration. Strong players can hold up the ball and maintain balance in the box. Players with excellent crossing can whip balls into the center of the field to created headed goals or lucky deflections.
 
More than any other EA game, FIFA allows multiple styles of player to be effective when used properly. If you know how to use each of your players, you’ll have a much better time.
 

You may feel like Gene Hackman out of Hoosiers when your MLS squad faces a European juggernaut.
 
Attack, attack, attack
 
If you’re tied or behind, there’s no reason to have your team set to play any style more conservative than “Attacking.” Because most MLS teams don’t have great playmakers up front, it’s likely that you will need some support when you’re attacking. If you’re using “Balanced” or “Defending” approaches, your midfielders won’t come forward to support your attack as much as they should. That lack of support will be painful when there’s a rebound sitting there in the box waiting to be tapped in and nobody’s there to take the shot. You also should always have at least three attacking-type players on the field.
 
Whether it’s three strikers, two strikers and an attacking midfielder, or one striker and two wingers, having that third player joining every attack will make sure your strikers don’t get overwhelmed. Also, don’t be afraid to send shots into a crowded penalty area. A goal scored on a lucky bounce is still a goal, and if you’ve set the game to allow penalties for hand balls (which you should), you might have the good fortune to draw a couple of penalties as well.

Have a Sense of Humor
 
The best teams in FIFA 12 have players that can create goals from out of nowhere. You could play a nearly-perfect game, only to watch Sergio Aguero sprint past your entire team in the 90th minute and score a ridiculous goal with two defenders hanging on him. It’s frustrating, but it happens. The best thing you can do is laugh about it and give the game another go. And when you pull off a huge upset, feel good about it. You didn’t win by shooting 70 times with LeBron James, running Hail Mary every play with Oregon, or scrambling 30 times with Michael Vick. You won because you played a great game.

OS readers, what are your favorite strategies for beating a great team? And who's excited for a great weekend of soccer ahead (Come on you Irons!)?

FIFA Soccer 12 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 BostonsDaBest @ 05/18/12 12:01 PM
I like using Sporting KC becuase of their athletic trio of CJ Sapong, Kei Kamara, and Teal Bunbury. All three of them are able to score from most places in the box, and the free form style of KC allows even defenders to get into the play sometimes.
 
# 2 mb625 @ 05/18/12 01:13 PM
My latest CM project has been taking the LA Galaxy, moving them to England (to the Championship, b/c those were the teams whose levels they were on, and trying to make them a Premier League power. I have pretty much totally rehauled the roster, but the first year (I'm in my second) I took out teams like Fulham and Sunderland out of the cup tournaments. I didn't get a chance to go head to head with the elite, but I do like my chances. But as for which team I use in exhibitions when trying to take out an elite English team? I like Colorado Rapids because of players like Wynne, Joseph Johnson and Syanna Nyassi (sp?). My game is very dependent on speed and I try to find as much of it as possible on the outsides and the attacking third with Conor Casey is very talented.
 
# 3 NaturalSelected @ 05/18/12 03:06 PM
Nice post, these tips also apply to playing higher rated teams online for mostly the same reasons.
 
# 4 RamzaLugria @ 05/19/12 11:30 AM
Interesting post, but it's a myth that soccer isn't popular here. Just look at the average attendance for all the major team sports. The media doesn't like it because there are no breaks for commercials.
 
# 5 orion523 @ 05/19/12 03:42 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RamzaLugria
Interesting post, but it's a myth that soccer isn't popular here. Just look at the average attendance for all the major team sports. The media doesn't like it because there are no breaks for commercials.
Its not the media, it's the networks. Although I'm not a huge fan of MLS, the Union are drawing very well here despite playing in the ugly cesspool that is Chester, Pa.
 
# 6 sjp2469 @ 05/19/12 11:33 PM
I have a better way of beating premier European clubs with an MLS team (or an A-League team from Australia). In the edit clubs menu, transfer the entire world eleven to your desired club! Challenging,no. Fun, yes!
 
# 7 acarrero @ 05/20/12 05:46 PM
I've had a great time with my career mode. It's made this my game of the year, in any genre, by far. I play in the MLS, with "expansion" team PR Islanders, a created/downloaded team who replaced the NE Revolution (rated about the same as NE). My first season was a losing season, but by year 2 I had picked up a striker from the Mexican league, Omar Arellano, and he really thrived in my system, one year leading the MLS in goals. But the NY Red Bulls had my number and eliminated me a couple of times in the playoffs. Henry had some sick goals on us. I also missed the playoffs once despite having a good squad, almost made me quit. Finally, in my 4th year, after putting together a solid lineup made up of created Islander players and some pick ups from different leagues, mostly rated in low 70's, I made one more fun, matched up vs nemesis Red Bulls in first round and won home-away in penalty kicks after a 1-1 aggregate. Then scored late to make the finals. In the finals I was scored on in the 16th minute, and looked like a 1-0 cup title win for Dallas FC, but Arellano himself found a through pass in the 90th minute and scored a dramatic goal to extend the game. A sub I used then made a great run in the second extra time and found Islanders' real life striker Nicholas Addlery for the game winner. Quite a playoff run for my first title. Very exciting. Anyway, I like how they match me up vs some european teams in pre-season friendlies. Just lost 1-0 to Bordeaux (sic) from French league. I played Manchester City the previous season and drew them. Ball control and field position are two keys to playing superior teams.
 

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