COMMENTARY | The New York Red Bulls entered FIFA 14 release week atop the real life overall Major League Soccer standings. RBNY designated player Tim Cahill has played a big part in New York's success this season, and he also been all over FIFA 14 marketing. He defeated Drake at the FIFA 14 release party in New York City, and he is the star of this commercial that you're going to want to watch over and over again.
Cahill is also, as you would probably expect, one of his team's best players in FIFA 14.
Note: All stats mentioned below are from after the latest Xbox 360 FIFA 14 roster downloads as of September 26, 2013.
Rating New York Red Bulls in FIFA 14: Vs. MLS
Art imitates life in overall FIFA 14 MLS team ratings. Seattle Sounders, sitting atop the league's Points Per Game table as of the posting of this piece, are the league's highest-rated squad. They are the only 3.5 star MLS team in FIFA 14. New York, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City, Vancouver Whitecaps, Chicago Fire, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo and defending league champs LA Galaxy all come in at three stars.
Seattle are rated at 71 in attack, 71 in midfield and 65 in defense. The best player in the Sounders team is CAM Clint Dempsey, who is an 81 overall. New York, by comparison, is at 70 in attack, 67 in midfield and 66 in defense. RBNY captain Thierry Henry is unsurprisingly New York's best player in FIFA 14, rated 78 overall. The previously mentioned Cahill is a 75.
Rating New York Red Bulls in FIFA 14: Who was robbed?
Goalkeeper Luis Robles, more than anybody else in the New York team, was slighted in this year's edition of FIFA. Robles, who struggled at the beginning of the 2013 MLS campaign but has since emerged as a Goalkeeper of the Year candidate, is a 66 overall. That puts him behind Seattle's Michael Gspurning (74 overall), Portland's Donovan Ricketts (67 ), RSL's Nick Rimando (71), KC's Jimmy Nielsen (72), Chivas USA starter Dan Kennedy (70), Columbus Crew 'keeper Andy Gruenebaum (68), DC United starter Bill Hamid, Raul Fernandez (69) of FC Dallas, Tally Hall from Houston Dynamo (67), and Montreal Impact starting 'keeper Troy Perkins (68). Several others are, like Robles, also rated 66 overall.
No disrespect to any of the players mentioned in the first paragraph of this section, but there is zero way that Robles is in the bottom half of 'keepers playing in MLS in 2013. Robles' poor rating is almost as offensive as is commentators still saying "Henn-Ree!" when referring to Thierry Henry.
Rating New York Red Bulls in FIFA 14: Lineup
The first recommended change regardless of what formation you are using while playing as the Red Bulls is to replace Fabian Espindola with Bradley Wright-Phillips. BWP gives you an injection of speed up top that you'd otherwise be lacking, and his jumping attribute is a 90. He is, in video game form if not on the actual pitch, a better forward than is Espindola in every way.
Heath Pearce is out for the rest of the 2013 due to injury, but that doesn't mean you can't use him in FIFA 14. Listed as a LB/CB and a 67 overall, Pearce is a better option than is RBNY starting LB Roy Miller or starting CB Markus Holgersson. Due to Holgersson being a CB/RB, you could move the big Swede over to the right and give your team a back line of Holgersson (66 overall), Pearce, Jamison Olave (71) and Miller (65). RB Brandon Barklage, also a 65, does not match Miller in acceleration, speed or size. CB Ibrahim Sekagya, a 66 overall, also features nicely in central defense alongside Olave and with Pearce and Holgersson out on the wings.
Regardless of formation, Eric Alexander, a 64 overall, should probably be relegated to sub duties. Striker Péguy Luyindula (68), Espindola (67), and Lloyd Sam (65) are all decent starters. Which you select depends on your team formation.
Rating New York Red Bulls in FIFA 14: Overall
What you see with the Red Bulls on MLS weekends is what you get from the club in FIFA 14. Henry is, at times, overpowered in running down through balls and slotting home goals, Cahill wins nearly every header inside the box, and Olave is good enough to be the cornerstone of any back line in the league. A decent FIFA player should be able to win the MLS Cup with New York in his first season.
Zac has been covering the USMNT, Holland, Tottenham Hotspur, New York Red Bulls, Major League Soccer and other soccer leagues for Yahoo Sports since 2010.
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- Luis Robles