Preparing To Fend Off The Chill

With the MLS off-season coming in just a few short weeks, it's only fitting that we should be casting about for something to fill the long, cold, and dark hours until the SuperDraft gets the blood boiling for 2009. Fortunately, the good folks at Sports Interactive have heard our cries and timed the release of Football Manger / Worldwide Soccer Manager 2009 pretty much perfectly.

If you've never partaken in the goodness that is Football Manager (and was Championship Manager), then you owe it to yourself to check out the demo that was released this past weekend. I've yet to run my grubby fingers over it, but word around the intarwebs says that SI directed a lot of attention to MLS, devoting more code to the league than to any other in the game. That's unsurprising, given the Frankenstein-style bolting on of rules and regulations as well as the complicated salary structure and drafts.

Sadly, only MLS is represented amongst American leagues, and there is no inclusion of the upcoming expansion sides. That said, I'll be eager to see how MLS plays this time around. Previous incarnations were hampered by an incomplete rules implementation, stupid AI managers (waiving--not trading--their best players and assembling journeyman rosters to fit under the cap), a lack of quality young players available via the draft, and a trading system that overvalued draft picks and never felt particularly realistic.

When the icy hand of the offseason does finally draw the curtain closed on MLS Cup 2008, you can be certain that a full review, or possibly a series of reviews, will be on the way--with particular emphasis on MLS gameplay. Of course, if you're like me and just can't wait for the November 18th US release, you can always do the pre order dance. I have a feeling you won't regret it, though your job, spouse, kids, pets, or anything else that values your time and attention probably will.

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