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FIFA 20: FC Dallas prepares to take on EPL and UEFA Champions League

FC Dallas makes some serious roster moves, and prepares for the UEFA Champions League, and the start of the EPL season. Welcome to Season 4, Episode 1!

Welcome to Season 4: Episode 1 of the FC Dallas FIFA 20 play through.

In this episode, we are going to have a long serious talk about the team roster (with some serious signings), and dive right into the preseason preparations for the up coming EPL regular season, and UEFA Champions League play.

Manager Objectives

The manager objectives are very achievable for this season. These are the easiest ones:

  • Within two seasons, increase the club worth of your club by 20% - We’ll have this achieved by the end of the first transfer window.
  • Sign one Crucial 1st team player assigned to the forward position - We’ll just make sure our first big signing is an attacker, easy peasy.
  • FA Cup, reach the round of 16 stage - This one is easy as well.
  • Premier League, finish mid table - Again, this should be no problem

Now the tough one, and the one that forces us to take a hard look at our roster:

  • UEFA Champions League, reach the quarterfinal - This means that our main priority is to make a good showing in the Champions League. Let me tell you, our current roster is not good enough to do that. So let’s take a look at our roster.

Roster Decisions

Let’s take a good look at the roster that secured a Treble last season (FA Cup, English Championship, and UEFA Europa League). We rotated starting line ups regularly, with our top 11 focused on winning UEFA Europa League and the FA Cup. We called this team the Tournament Team:

Here is a look at our second 11, which focused on winning the English Championship and our key reserves. We called this team the Championship Team:

Let me tell you that this roster is not good enough to reach the UEFA Champions League Quarterfinal. It may actually be good enough to finish top 10 - top 5 in the EPL, but not to make a serious run in the Champions League.

Note: I know this from experience, having competed in UEFA Champions League during a prior play through with a very similar line up. That team failed to make it out of the Group stage. The mistake then was that we waited until the summer transfer window to aggressively improve the team, but by that time the team was eliminated from Champions League.

So the decision is to make some aggressive signings now and the only way to do that is by selling many players from our second lineup (Championship Team), including at least three to four players on our top 11.

In anticipation of the need for mass selling, I actually signed four players at the end of last season (in June) to contract expiry deals (I had $2 million left in the Transfer Budget). All four players are 23 to 25 years old, arrive with a player rating of 76+, and all four players agreed to Rotation Contracts that will make sure they are no more than key reserves. Those players are Sarpreet Singh (CAM), Guga Rodriguez (CM), Tete Morente (RM), and Diogo Goncalves (LM).

Tips & Tricks #1 - You should wait until the month of June to sign contract expiry players. The reason for this is that your roster (a young roster in particular) will likely have a higher overall average rating at the end of the season. The higher your overall team rating is, the more likely the players you sign to contract expiry deals will accept less playing time. You can’t go around offering every player an Important or Crucial Contract, because it will lead to a very unhappy roster. It is also worth mentioning that players signed to Rotation Contracts are more willing to take less pay, so you will be doing your budget a huge favor.

The game plan is to make a serious run in the UEFA Champions League and to stay near the top of the EPL early, with the idea of making a late run at the EPL title. To make this possible, the plan is to make sure every player in our top 11 is rated 81+ by the start of the EPL season. A quick look at our top 11, shows that we need to add five players with a minimum 81 rating, with one or two of them preferably in the 85 rating range. Our transfer budget is $70 million and we will try to generate another $100 million (or more) through player sales. For the kind of players that we want, my guess would be that it will take $150-$200 million to sign those players (plus salary and bonuses). We also have to re-sign several of our returning players, which will require $10-$20 million.

Not all of our second 11 will be sold. If any player agrees to less playing time (a Rotation Contract), then they will remain with the team. I won’t make those contract offers until I’ve signed a couple of high level players.

We could sign several big name near retirement veterans to the team like Alexis Sanchez, or even Messi (both in the 88+ rating range), that would offer instant impact and would actually be within our budget (around $50 million each). I chose not to go the veteran route, because I want players that will continue to improve and will help the team become dominant for years to come.

Transfer Window

After winning the preseason tournament, FC Dallas has $80 million in the transfer budget. It’s time to make the first big signing of the season:

Rodrygo is signed for $56.2 million. He is a super star in the making and will slot in at either wing spot, which actually makes Rabi Matondo expendable (he is transfer listed). Matondo started against Lazio last season (UEFA Europa League Final) and was invisible for 60+ minutes, forcing me to sit him and move Jesus Ferreira to the left wing in that match. A couple of minutes after Jesus moved to left wing, he broke down the defense with his combination of speed and ball skills, getting the assist on what would be the match winning goal. That sealed Matondo’s fate, and will see Jesus slot in as the teams starter on the left wing this season.

Jesse Gonzalez and his back up (Jurado) are both sold for a combined $26 million. Jesse had to go, even though he dominated last season and would have been a solid starter. The reason Jesse was sold has a story to it.

In our very 1st season, we signed our very first Academy product (a home grown player). He was signed because one of our Manager Objectives was to sign an academy player and grow him by 10 rating points.

Alfonso Campos was heavily trained all year round and grew the 10+ rating points. Campos was sold for $5 million in Season 2, Episode 1. We sold him because his stats were inflated, and he was damaged goods (in my opinion at that time).

Fast forward two seasons later, and Alfonso Campos is actually a broken player (a player who is overpowered), who we sign back (LOL) by paying his release clause of $12 million (first verifying that all of his stats are better than Jesse Gonzalez):

Campos has grown 25 rating points in a three-year span and will likely hit a rating of 86+ before the season is over, and a 90+ rating by next season! Did I mention he is a Homegrown player?

Jhon Arias, who lead the team with 22 assists last year is sold for $36 million. With our pockets replenished, it’s time to make another big signing:

Dayot Upamecano is a beast of a defender, one of those aggressive charge down the midfield and blow up attacking player types, and he is twice as wide (and strong) as any FIFA player I’ve ever seen (not kidding). It only takes FC Dallas paying a release clause of $37 million to acquire his services. Dayot’s signing makes starting center back Juan Komar expendable.

Next to be sold are key starters from last seasons run, Hekeem Harper ($54 million) and starting left back Perreira ($23.5 million). It’s now time to make another big signing, and I know a player who has speed that kills at a position of need and is from North America!

Alphonso is signed for $38.7 million + Juan Komar, arriving with a pace of 99(!!!) and solid stamina (82 rating). Reggie Cannon has a pace of 98, so my full backs will terrorize defenses, while having amazing recovery speed...and both are still extremely young.

FA Community Shield & UEFA Super Cup

FC Dallas has two major preseason matches to contest before the start of the regular season. The first is the FA Community Shield which pits the winner of the FA Cup (FC Dallas) against the winner of the Carabao Cup (Manchester City). The second match is the UEFA Super Cup, which pits the winner of the UEFA Europa League (FC Dallas) against the winner of the UEFA Champions League (Manchester City).

That’s right, back to back matches against Manchester City. I make sure that I play both matches at World Class difficulty (with full starting line up rotation), so that I may get a better feel for where my team is. The FA Community Shield is up first and FC Dallas controls the match through out, cruising to a 2-0 win. Camavinga and Bozenik scored the two goals, and FC Dallas collects its first hardware of the year:

Next is the UEFA Super Cup, and this time Manchester City plays a stronger line up. It doesn’t take long for the star of FCD’s UEFA Europa League run to make a big play:

It’s a good thing Jesus scored because there was little to separate the teams after that, and the match went down to the wire. Still, FCD did just enough to bag their second trophy of the year.

Despite the win, FC Dallas really struggled to maintain possession in the midfield and there was no separation between the teams. That’s a problem for me, as I intend to play an aggressive up tempo style, where the attack controls possession in the attacking third for the majority of the match. The decision is that an upgrade in the attacking mid, is necessary.

Rabi Matondo is the next starter to be sold, going for $45 million. Yup, it’s time to make another big addition. We sold off our two best attacking mids from last season (Arias & Harper), so it’s time to replace them both with one big signing.

Dani Olmo will key our attack and has a skill set that should make him a star on the team. Dani is also just entering his prime and has room to grow into a super star.

Reserve striker Nunez is sold for $21.2 million. Christian Ferreira, who started many games last season, is loaned out to Vitora Guimaraes (Portugal). Christian will be recalled before the transfer window and will be transfer listed at that time.

Key reserve Sep Van Den Berg (center back) is sold for $18.9 million. Reserve left back Zagre, is sold for $21 million.

The next signing is towards the near future, as I intend to sell Bozenik (our 3rd stiker) during the summer transfer window (cause he refused to take a Rotation Contract). Here is Bozenik’s near future replacement.

Jann-Fiete Arp is acquired by paying his measly $4.3 million release clause and agrees to a Rotation Contract which means he will be a super sub for at least a couple of seasons.

We still have over $50 million in the transfer budget, so we make two big additions:

Jan Bednarek is signed for $21.2 million + Diogo Goncalves (Contract Expiry signing), and agreed to an Important Contract. Upamecano will be our every game starter (Crucial Contract), so Bednarek will rotate starts with Saliba. Saliba was an every game starter last season but agreed to an Important Contract this season, which will allow the rotating starts. This team will have a dominant back line!

Edson Alvarez is acquired by paying his $17.6 million release clause and will be slotted in as our single Defensive Mid. Alvarez is a big D Mid, and will give us a formidable rotation at that spot with Sambi Lokonga (81 rating) and Camavinga (80 rating).

Several reserves are sold (including Chris Richards, who Matt Hedges replaces as our emergency CB) for a combined $20 million. We are happy with the line up as it is and will save that money for the transfer window. Players who received new contracts with an average wage increase of $40k and bonuses that averaged around $2 million are Jesus Fereira, Paxton Pomykal, Josh Sargent, Reggie Cannon, Sambi Lokonga, and William Saliba. All of them agreed to Important Contracts, which will allow me to rotate their starts.

Players who were on Important Contracts last season and have agreed to Rotation Contracts for this season are Ait Nouri (79 rating), Camavinga (80 rating), and Bafode Diakate (78 rating). Camavinga had 10 goals and 11 assists last season while playing mostly at defensive mid, so his signing to become a super sub is a huge win. Ait Nouri is young and has a higher market value than Cannon, but his stamina is crap. Diakate can play anywhere in the back line, so he is a perfect super sub there. Tanner Tessman and Edwin Cerrillo both also received big raises on their Rotation Contracts.

Final Roster

Once again I will employ two rotating starting line ups, with the best 11 being called the Champions League Team:

This team will flat out dominate some teams (Pace! Pace! Pace!), and should be able to go toe-to-toe with any of the big name clubs. Their primary focus will be the UEFA Champions League, and any major Cup match (Carabao Cup & FA Cup).

Here is our second team, which will be called the EPL Team:

This team will focus on the EPL regular season. You can see that our Crucial Players (Olmo, Rodrygo, Davis, Upamecano, Cannon, and Campos) are included here, because they will start as many games as possible through out the year. Still, you can see that the substitutes are legit starter level players, who will step in whenever our Crucial players need a rest. This team will focus on keeping the team near the top of the EPL Table, until we can add further reinforcements during the Summer Transfer window, and make a push at the out right EPL Title.

By the way, Cespedes (78 rating) was a Free Agent signing! He has solid over all stats (80 pace, 82 stamina). He was signed on an Important Contract and will likely be included in a player swap deal (can’t be transfer listed) during the transfer window (unless he grows significantly).

Let us know your thoughts, comments, criticisms, questions on this play through. Feel free to add any tips and tricks I failed to mention within the discussed portion of this episode.

See you next week for Season 4, Episode 2: FCD vs. UEFA Champions League & The EPL