Later today the Major League Soccer Cup Finals will be decided in Kansas City, KS, when Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City face off. In anticipation of the game, we decided to use Electronic Arts’ FIFA 14 to simulate the championship bout. In a 2-1 battle that was decided by a last minute goal, Sporting Kansas City was crowned the 2013 MLS champions.
Throughout the NFL season we’ve been simulating the weekly football results using EA’s Madden 25, and we used that same methodology to recreate the MLS Finals. We set the conditions to mimic the real game as closely as we could (there is no Sporting Park venue in FIFA 14, unfortunately), cranked up the difficulty, and let the AI play it out.
In the final stats, Real Salt Lake dominated the time of possession 64-percent to 36, but Sporting Kansas City had 14 shots compared to RSL’s 8. Real Salt Lake also had five fouls to SKC’s 1, and both teams recorded a single yellow card.
Our own results coincide with EA’s, which issued a press release claiming Sporting Kansas City as the champion following a 3-2 simulated victory. In EA’s sim, Real Salt Lake held a 2-1 lead until the 82nd minute, when Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi scored the equalizer. Seven minutes later as regulation time counted down, Dom Dwyer scored the go ahead goal, giving Sporting Kansas City the win.
Our own sim was remarkably similar, although not as high scoring. Our recreation ended with the first half in a 1-1 stalemate, following goals from Real Salt Lake’s Ned Grabavoy and the equalizer coming from Dwyer. Then with five minutes to go in regulation, Sporting Kansas City’s Benny Feilhaber scored the winning goal to go on to digital glory, sending the faux crowd into simulated ecstasy.
The MLS Cup Finals begin at 1pm PST.