ACL Week 6 Preview

Homestretch. The last full week of ACL games begins tonight at 10:00pm ET and the playoff picture is solidifying. Only 1 team is mathematically eliminated but, essentially we are down to just 14 teams with realistic expectations of postseason play. Anything is possible, and almost anything will happen with just 4 official days left in the regular season of ACL X.

Week 6 sees many of the Top 8 hopefuls battling it out for position, and 2 teams could find their spots in the postseason locked in by Wednesday night. Both Viva Futbol and FC Serenity will want to clear that hurdle, and spend the next couple days preparing for whoever may come in the playoffs.

 

ACL-Featured-Matchup

fh(Home) v. ucf (Away) – Both teams currently are on the outside of the Top 4 and are looking to climb before the final night of the season. While FIFA Harmony have a tough road if they wish to do so, it is still possible for them to finish the season high up the mountain of success. Unleashed have a much simpler road, they have 2 games in hand over 4th place Elusive and are only 3 points back.

Viva Reyes continues storming towards a potential Golden Boot sitting just 2 goals behind current pack leader, Gringo ST 7. He will need to plug in a few here for FH if they want to bring home all 3 points against Unleashed CF. Someone else needs to step up to help Viva Reyes handle the scoring load if this team wants to be more than an ACL Quarterfinalist. Harmony has one of the better defensive units in the league and will need to act like it, against another Golden Boot challenger in eXo Cavani.

Unleashed will look for the same kind of scoring from their manager and star player eXo Cavani, also sitting 2 goals back in the Golden Boot race. Unleashed’s manager is a competitor of the highest caliber and will look to push his team all the way until the end of the season. They have allowed the 3rd fewest goals in Division 1, and that is no fluke. This team has a sound defensive unit. The young veteran Skrillex l 1 l is an animal in net, but rumors of a dodgy availability could spell trouble against tougher opponents.

viv (Home) v. nufc (Away) – A potential quarterfinals matchup here, between the current league leaders, Viva Futbol, and 8th place hopefuls, Never Unlucky. This matchup is an intriguing one that offers a lot of appeal. Both sides are veteran clubs, one however is on the ascendency while the other is merely trying to keep its stars of yesteryear around for just one more go-round.

With goals coming out of the ears, eyes and mouth, Viva has returned to top form. They have put ACL 9 behind them and have ran the tables all season long. They have not 1, but 3 or 4 potential Golden Boot winners in Gringo ST 7, Omar l 1 l, Draxler x10, and Viva Suarez. Each has put up double digit goal totals. Their defense is no slouch either, led by Viva Pep and Viva Pony, they have surrendered only 21 goals over 27 games. While Viva enters this game as big favorites, they should not expect a walk through or risk ending Tuesday on a sour note.

While the label ‘stars of yesteryear’ may be a bit harsh, it is something I stand by. Manager Lovelady09 is doing everything he can to piece together a winning squad, and has returned many star players from FIFA past. The returns of Ill Cut You Up, and EagleEyeFoley have added reinforcements to a side that has been together over multiple seasons and FIFAs. Unlucky Diggs was putting up a potential Golden Boot-type campaign early on, but has faded into the background a bit. Without their best goal scorer this team may struggle against a defense like Viva.

nufc (Home) v. 0bc51375f7df6cfe47c495d8eab0066b (Away) – The boys at NUFC have a tough week waiting for them. They continue their tilt against the “Ring of Fire” and need to find some points to hold onto their 8th place spot, as Arrechos SC is just 4 points behind them. Divine are holding strong in 3rd place, right about where you would expect to find them. But the team will look to end the season strong, and maybe catch FC Serenity or Viva Futbol sleeping to nab a spot in the Top 2.

Never Unlucky must come out swinging here. Offensively they need to push forward and try and overwhelm the Divine defense before they can settle in. The team should move to a more offense-heavy formation to the 3-5-2 or 4-3-3 to put pressure on Divine’s defensive unit. The entire game hinges on Never Unlucky’s performance on offense. Without the ability to outscore Divine, their defense will collapse.

Divine Footwork has had an attack-by-committee for much of the season with multiple players helping out in the final third. It has worked for them so far, though I would still like to see a leader emerge, someone they can count on to plug in goals in the clutch. The last couple weeks have seen streets1014 bring his attacking A-game powering, 8 goals over the 2 week span. This is a tremendous improvement that will help the team down the stretch.

viv (Home) v. fhz (Away) – Another potential playoff bound team is dropped into the “Ring of Fire” this week, as FiFa HoLiCz look to improve upon their 1 point effort against those teams in Week 1. Viva punished FHz the last time these squads met, and will believe they definitely can do it again.

Viva will enter this Wednesday night clash hoping to secure their place in the postseason with a win, and that should provide all the motivation this team needs to get the maximum 3 points. Goalkeeper, Viva Tracy continues to chase down That Bottleface of Divine Footwork in an effort to win himself a pair of Golden Gloves and will need a supreme effort to earn a clean sheet against this strong FHz side.

Mexican star x0 Re1uK Xx looks to outdo counterpart Gringo ST 7 and put his name on top of the Golden Boot charts. It will be a difficult task as Gringo has been uncatchable since Week 2 of ACL 10. The rest of FiFa HoLiCz will need to step up on defense, or another 3-0 whacking may be in the works.

fhz (Home) v. 0bc51375f7df6cfe47c495d8eab0066b (Away) – The “Ring of Fire” ends Thursday night for FiFa HoLiCz and they could be in rough shape by the end of it all. Divine has a good week laid out in front of them that could see them enter Thursday night with an 11 game unbeaten streak barring them having another reschedule tossed their way.

The keys to the game against Divine are to play a strong game in the midfield. FHz has plenty of talent here and needs to show that they can compete against the Top 4 or they are simply looking to be someone’s Quarterfinal doormat. They have shown themselves capable of beating up on inferior teams, but have yet to prove they can take multiple games of the teams around them or above them, thus far.

Divine could build a ton of momentum heading into the last official league night on Tuesday, with a strong week here. Streets1014 needs to continue his hot streak and find the back of the net a couple more times for Divine. They need to find a standout goal scorer before the playoffs, someone they can depend on and I think streets1014 may be that player.

 

Games of the Week

fh (Home) v. ucf (Away) – A battle between teams next to each other in the standings is always exciting. The last time these teams faced off it ended in a 1-1 draw and it could end the same way. Both sides appear relatively even on paper, strong defenses, veteran strikers having great seasons, decent midfields capable of providing excellent scoring chances, and all-star keepers that can put attacks on ice singlehandedly. Prediction: 1-1, Draw

viv (Home) v. fhz (Away) – FHz enter this game tremendous underdogs. Their shaky defense, and track record against the big teams makes me question if this game has Game of the Week potential. But FHz have the belief they can turn it around and flip the script on the Top 4 sides in ACL. A reversal of fortunes is certainly required if they want to make a serious claim that they can win a Division 1 title. Prediction: 3-1, Viva Futbol

 

Power Rankings

  1. viv – Still top dog, still the best. I am running out of things to say about this team that does not sound like I am just rehashing old statements. Maybe they will stumble a little bit to give us some drama at the top. They have played like a team on a mission and that mission seems to be nearing completion. Last Week: 1st
  2. ser – Maybe the only team that can reliably challenge Viva Futbol for ACL supremacy this season. They still have yet to play their 2nd game against the 1st place side and that matchup should be shown league wide as an example of what top level Pro Clubs play looks like in North America. Last Week: 2nd
  3. 0bc51375f7df6cfe47c495d8eab0066b – The emergence of streets1014 over the last 2 weeks makes me wonder if Divine could make a strong challenge at 1st place in the final games of the season. They have a quality side overall, and if they final have all their stars playing like stars, well then I see them moving up in the world. But not just yet. Last Week: 3rd
  4. ucf – They have been behind Elusive for a couple weeks now, but with multiple games in hand, and just 3 points back, I believe this team is just waiting to pop back into the 4-spot that’s rightfully theirs. While they likely are not destined for finals glory like last season, a semifinal showing is the least this squad should be hoping for to end FIFA 15. Last Week: 4th
  5. d238ad188edae89bc52bb0353a914fa7 – While I am all aboard the Elusive-hype-train I do not see them legitimately challenging for a place in the semifinals just yet. Give me a week to think on it, and see how this team performs under additional pressure. For now, they have earned their ranking on this list and should at least hold here for the remainder of ACL X. Last Week: 5th

 

Golden Boot

  1. Gringo ST 7 – Viva Futbol – 18
  2. Seven Players Tied – Various Teams – 16

Golden Gloves

  1. That Bottleface – Divine Footwork – 12
  2. Viva Tracy – Viva Futbol – 10
  3. CAMBALACHE11 – Arrechos SC – 8 (tied for 3rd)
  4. Sir l Zapata 00 – Elusive SC – 8 (tied for 3rd)

 

I am ready for another exciting week of action, and I cannot wait to see the results when the dust settles on Thursday night.