JUST when you think you’ve cracked it or the game’s simply too easy, the dreaded ‘Second Season Syndrome’ rears its ugly head.
My first season with Real Salt Lake in MLS was so easy I wondered if Sports Interactive had dumbed down the game to appeal to the casual gamer.
We had a 23-match unbeaten run and very little thought went in to preparing for games. I just picked the players who were playing best and told them before each game I had faith in them and asked them to show me what they could do.
We won the domestic double (not sure what happened to the North American Champions League as it simply didn’t happen – please enlighten me), scored plenty of goals, it was easy like I said.
Results comparison 2014/15 & 2015/16
At the moment I don’t have the patience to go over every little aspect of how we play, each individual player and every statistic, etc, I’ve accepted this season as a chance to give game time to my young players, to get a year closer to our new stadium which is being built, and to become completely familiar with all of the rules and intricacies of MLS.
Having said that I do want to find out why we are doing so much worse this season and I have a few theories.
One theory is something I see suggested often when FM’ers go from glory to gory is other teams have worked out how to play against you, they take you more seriously.
While I’ve been struggling I visited the SI forum to read other players’ problems and make myself feel better.
I found this thread where someone is complaining about ‘unrealistic’ runs of wins and runs of losses. Hunter, a forum moderator, comes up with some interesting suggestions as to why the complainant might go from winning again and again to a morale-hitting losing streak. See it here .
Another theory is that I’ve let too much experience go, I’ve let too many important players leave, and I think this is key.
Looking at the results from the first season the vast majority of players who scored goals for us have left. We had goals from all over the pitch and defenders would often chip in.
Alvaro Saborio, who is now at Sturm Graz, was allowed to leave due to his greedy wage demands. He scored 17 goals last season though and made 12 assists.
Another striker who contributed 11 goals and three assists in our first season (he was injured a lot) and started the 2014/15 season in scintillating form with ten goals in ten games was Sebastian Jaime was let go due to his relatively high wages and ‘international’ status.
It seems mad to have let these two go but MLS squad registration rules are restrictive to say the least and I’m trying to build my own team with young talent while keeping wage expenditure to a safe level.
And due to strict registration rules I have to sign Americans whether I want to or not and it’s not easy finding great players here.
Building a squad in MLS seems as painstaking as building a model ship inside a bottle.
And at the same time, because I’ve let problems on the pitch spiral it feels like I have an out-of-control pet gorilla. Rather than keeping on top of all of the aspects of managing a club on FM from the start I’ve given up even trying to juggle every plate and one by one, everything has come crashing down and it seems impossible to get everything turning again.
I lose so I make a stupid change, I lose again so I criticize my players, they lose morale, we lose again, etc etc.
We lack height too. I’m desperate to sign a big, hard defensive midfielder, but finding him and signing him won’t be easy with all the restrictions MLS has to offer.
I nearly burst a blood vessel when my striker did this http://gyazo.com/4ec4bc0f76c85fdc5ea104d0143f1ee5
Nothing pisses me off like Football Manager.