In anticipation of what I expect to be another pretty uneventful week for United news with the team training in San Antonio, I thought we might take this opportunity to look at another aspect to the sport that is critical to the ongoing development of the league, as well as to the confidence of each and every player in it. Ah but of course I am talking about FIFA08, the latest installment in EA Sports' FIFA series.
Unfortunately, I only own the stripped down version of the game for the Wii, which eliminated the franchise mode that makes most EA Sports games so rewarding. Although they almost make up for it by adding the Table Football mini game. Anyway, regardless of which system you're playing it on, there are some player ratings that surprised me.
Starting with DC United... Gomez at 78, Moreno at 76, Fred and Boswell at 71, Olsen and Emilio at 69. Obviously you need to take into account that this game was released back in October, and developed much sooner. But Moreno is 7 points higher than Emilio? That's got to be a mistake. But I have an even bigger problem with the so-called reserves. Nolly at 59, North at 56, and Arguez at 56 seem way too high when you look further down and see Burch at 55 and McTavish at 53. Where is the love for the defense!?
And this disparity becomes even more obvious when you look at the league as a whole. The top 13 players in MLS are Beckham at 84, Angel at 82, Donovan at 80, Gomez, Blanco, and Ruiz at 78, Schelotto and Johnson at 77, Moreno, De Rosario, Reyna, Twellman, and Cunningham at 76. There are a few in there (cough Reyna and Cunningham cough) that I certainly don't think belong, and I disagree with the order somewhat, but for the most part, that's not a bad list of the top players in MLS. Except when you consider that once again there is no defense at the top. Where is Michael Parkhurst on this list?
Then I guess we should at the highest rated defensemen. The top defenders in MLS are Conrad and Xavier at 73, Boswell at 71, Hejduk and Pope at 69, Curtin, Suarez, Bornstein, and Barrett at 68, and Parkhurst and Marshall at 67. Chad Marshall? That dude doesn't even start for the Crew anymore. Jim Curtin? Wasn't he just traded for a draft pick not in 2009, but in 2010? Do the people who come up with the player ratings even watch the MLS?
So here's the question then... Is the game wrong to have MLS defenders rated so much lower than the forwards and CAMs? Or does the defense in MLS really suck that much?