ACL Finals Preview

It has arrived! The final match of ACL X. Nothing left but blue skies, and golfing greens for these players after tonight. Only two teams remain, one will have its name etched in virtual glory, the other a forgotten memory like so many other runner-ups.

Will FC Serenity successfully defend their title? Which Divine Footwork will show up? The one we saw Tuesday night against FIFA Harmony, or the one we saw last night against Elusive SC? Only after the games will we be able to know the answers. It should be an exciting set of games, and I cannot wait to see the outcome.

 

Semifinal Recaps

viv (1) v. ser (4) –

GAME 1: A throw-in taken by tgpdtp in the 9th minute is won by Viva Pony, but he clears it to tgpdtp, who finds LickMyBalotelli. The Serenity owner sends a ball through to l Marvinho l, he fires a shot but it is rebounded to FHz Ozil 11. He hits a volley into the net for the first goal of the match, giving Serenity a 1-0 lead.

An FHz Vallejos touch is taken away by AWSEMOUSPRIME, he finds l Marvinho l who passes to Air Japes. Air Japes is free in the Viva 6 yard box and he toe pokes it past Viva Tracy into the lower left corner to give Serenity their second goal and a 2-0 lead.

Viva Futbol has been unable to generate much offense as FC Serenity has been overwhelming in their defensive third.

On the eve of halftime, Viva has a corner. It is taken by Viva Suarez who sends a great cross to the back post aiming for Viva Pep, who connects. The flick is off the mark though as he cannot find a teammate and Serenity clears it away.

HALFTIME SCORE – 2-0 FC SERENITY

A great 3 minutes of possession for Viva falls to nothing as they fall to put the ball into the attacking third and create a scoring chance. FC Serenity’s defense has done a tremendous job to keep Viva quiet this game.

In the 84th minute, a bad clearance by Aztecas l 8 l falls to Viva Suarez who heads it down to defensive mid, FHz Vallejos 8. He knocks it wide to Gotzinhoo x, who dribbles but hits a wayward pass directly to Serenity’s fullback, Gordon23 x. He is unable to corral the ball and it is picked up by Gringo ST 7, he cuts back to find FHz Vallejos 8. The Viva midfielder delivers a good ball to Viva Suarez, but the ball is tackled away but right to the feet of Gringo ST 7. A missile near post on Serenity’s keeper, B1rgerking goes in, as he was unable to make the save on the surprise shot. Good bit of luck in favor of Viva closes the gap! 2-1 for FC Serenity.

FINAL SCORE – 2-1 FC SERENITY

GAME 2: In the 15th minute, a free kick at midfield taken by Rodriguez finds gold. Viva playing a high line to force the ball to be delivered perfectly in front of an oncoming player on the set piece. A great ball in, and Viva Pony fails to respect the speed of l Marvinho l’s virtual pro as he races in front of the Viva centerback and pulls the ball down. A volley off his right foot low towards the left post finds its way home and Serenity is up 1-0!

A set piece is taken by Viva Suarez in the 19th minute in Serenity territory. The delivery is a high one towards the middle, as he looks for his co-manager Viva Pep, but the ball is won by Aztecas l 8 l and cleared away. FC Serenity has done a great job to keep Viva Pep largely irrelevant on these set plays.

HALFTIME SCORE – 1-0 FC SERENITY

In the 59th minute, Serenity centerback Aztecas l 8 l launches a header forward finding striker Air Japes, who dribbles himself free of his marker. His pass to a teammate is deflected but miraculously falls back to his feet as he cuts towards the 6, floating a great ball in. It finds the head of l Marvinho l, who sends it home for a Serenity 2-0 lead.

Viva finally start looking capable of putting together some offense, but it looks to be too little, too late. They need 3 goals in a very short window of time and Serenity is still threatening to pad its lead.

Ramani x receives a wayward ball near midfield in the 77th minute, and he puts it up high to Gringo ST 7, he passes it wide to Gotzinhoo x. Gotzinhoo x plays it inside to Viva Suarez, who tees up and puts a rocket on goal. It is saved by Serenity’s keeper, but deflects right to Viva Pony who gets an easy volley into the net. Serenity still leads at this point 2-1, but Viva is finally in the game.

A 90th minute free kick is right on the 18 for Viva. While Serenity is probably headed to the finals, a goal here would be good for Viva pride. Serenity puts defenders on both posts, as Viva Suarez steps up and the ball sails wide and high over the goal!

In injury time, Viva Tracy starts what will be the last attack of the series and the season for Viva as he boots it forward. It is won by tgpdtp, who passes to AWSEMOUSPRIME, but his pocket is picked by Rewind l 7 l. He passes to Viva Pep, who sends it towards FHz Vallejos 8. The defensive mid plays Viva Suarez through and he fires off a ground cross, and it is in Serenity’s net off Serenity’s own FHz Ozil 11 for an own goal!

FINAL SCORE – 2-2 TIE

FC Serenity kept Viva Pep in check all night on set pieces, and that was huge in stopping what is one of Viva’s best offensive weapons. Their ability to outplay, and pick apart Viva’s backline was a huge reason why they scored so many goals. Viva’s inability to breakdown an incredible Serenity backline was the difference maker. Both teams were relatively even all game when battling in the midfield, but Viva’s inability to stop key Serenity attacks, and answer with goals of their own decided this series.

AGGREGATE SCORE – 4-3 FC SERENITY

d238ad188edae89bc52bb0353a914fa7 (2) v. 0bc51375f7df6cfe47c495d8eab0066b (3) –

GAME 1: Both teams registered some good chances, but nothing threatening until injury time of the first half when l Sir Marcus l surged forward from right back. A soft pass was taken by MAC l 42 l, but he turns without control and DTG x Snubnoze wins it right back for Divine in Elusive territory. He passes inside to streets1014, who finds Cheeky Vision inside the arc. Cheeky Vision sends it wide left to Trii Anarchy, who crosses it from just inside the 18, to the edge of the 6, where a waiting Luka Lockup whips his head into the oncoming cross to put Divine up 1-0 right at halftime.

KEVINHHO, the Elusive keeper, had poor positioning, and it may have cost him there. He seemed to expect a shot from Trii Anarchy, even though the winger was in no position to attack the ball.

On the ensuing kickoff, here comes Elusive. They want an equalizer before halftime badly. Icyjunior receives the ball as Elusive’s forwards move up, a pass to Rav l 10 l is a beauty. With plenty of space he is able to pick out a teammate down the left wing. He finds Cpt Juizo, who cuts inside and plays a ball to the Golden Boot winner, Hype razor. The striker sees his partner making a run, and chips it through to him. Rav l 10 l blasts a shot, but right at veteran net minder, That Bottleface. The ball rebounds to an Elusive player but he is thwarted as the Divine keeper comes up HUGE AGAIN!

HALFTIME SCORE – 1-0 DIVINE FOOTWORK

In the 69th minute Divine is pouring it on, looking to add to their 1-goal advantage. The ball is played into streets1014, who cuts to the middle and lays it off for Trii Anarchy, and at point blank range he cannot put it on net and sends it over the bar.

ZPK v2 working the ball down the wing to Trii Anarchy. Trii Anarchy finds Cheeky Vision, who turns and races towards the touchline. He delivers a great pass to Divine forward DTG x Snubnoze, who cuts it back to the middle for streets1014 to slot it home with a left-footed shot into a wide open net, finding the bottom right corner. It is Divine 2-0.

FINAL SCORE – 2-0 DIVINE FOOTWORK

GAME 2: A long throw-in by Elusive is won by Dirty l 6 l, who flicks it backwards to his left back ZPK v2. The left back turns to send the ball upfield, finding Trii Anarchy. He quickly turns and sends a pass wide to co-manager streets1014. The Divine co-manager finds his striking partner DTG x Snubnoze for a short ground pass. DTG x Snubnoze takes on Elusive’s defenders and beats 2 players easily, before playing a pass back to streets1014, who threads the needle to find Luka Lockup. The shot on goal is blasted directly at KEVINHHO, but a rebound falls to the foot of Divine’s left mid on the right side of the net. Trii Anarchy curls it around the post with a beautiful side-footed shot. Divine goes up 1-0 in the 32nd minute.

Divine has won a penalty in the 39th minute, after a diving save by the Elusive keeper struck Divine’s Luka Lockup. While the penalty may be a rough call, it is still a good chance for Divine to pad their lead. A conversion by Luka Lock almost guarantees an Elusive elimination from the Semifinal Round.

Luka Lockup steps up and curls a ball to the left, and just over the head of Elusive’s keeper. He dove the right way, the ball was just too high for him to make a save on the 40th minute shot.

HALFTIME SCORE – 2-0 DIVINE FOOTWORK

In the 74th minute, Cheeky Vision prepares to take a corner for Divine. He plays it short to Trii Anarchy, who turns after receiving the ball. He plays a back post cross to the head of Luka Lockup. The Divine midfielder flicks the ball right into the 6, and it falls perfectly to the right-foot of streets1014, who sends it into the lower right corner for a 3-0 Divine lead.

With only 15 minutes remaining in the series and down 5 goals, Elusive is effectively eliminated but they could still salvage some pride with a goal or two against a very good opponent.

Chaos in the Divine box, as they cannot clear the ball decisively. A shot by Cpt Juizo is deflected to Kid Mescudii, who sends a header back across goal to find Fiddleton. The Elusive centerback smashes it into the side netting with a right-footed blast to ruin Divine’s clean sheet.

In injury time, again a dramatic set of events in Divine’s penalty area, and Elusive are throwing men into the attack with reckless abandon trying to earn a miracle finish.

Hype razor receives a throw-in from his teammates, turns and looks to dribble in for something, anything good. He flips a cross into the middle where it is headed by a teammate, and the ball deflects off the head of Elegant Pique, who sends it away from That Bottleface into the left-side of the net for Elusive’s second goal of the game. The initial header was sent straight at Divine’s keeper, but the deflection provided them with a bit of luck for a much need goal.

FINAL SCORE – 3-2 DIVINE FOOTWORK

Elusive gave it their best, but they ran headlong into a good Divine team. Divine was able to rally from a poor Tuesday night to show why they are one of the top teams in this league. The key for Divine was world class play by That Bottleface who kept out many of the rebound saves that Elusive converted against other opponents. Divine on the attack was flawless, and sliced through Elusive’s defense regularly to create chances all series long.

AGGREGATE SCORE – 5-2 DIVINE FOOTWORK

 

The Final Matchup

0bc51375f7df6cfe47c495d8eab0066b (3) v. ser (4) –

A title defense is on-the-line here for FC Serenity. They are playing in back-to-back finals, having won ACL 9 and now playing for another title in ACL X. Both sides have had their ups and downs all season, but played their best football of the season to make it to the final Thursday of the year. Their regular season matchups leaned towards Divine, with Dirty l 6 l’s team winning the Week 3 class 1-0, and the return trip 2-1.

Divine Footwork had a great Wednesday night, they played solid up and down the field. Their star keeper did everything he could to keep a clean sheet until the last 15 minutes of the second game. They need to return to that same level of play tonight. FC Serenity is a better team than FIFA Harmony, and Divine could find itself down early multiple goals, if they are lacking on defense. Their attack needs to continue the good run of form they had against Elusive, with multiple players contributing in assists and goals. Luka Lockup played one of the best series I have ever seen him play, he could be the difference maker for Divine again.

FC Serenity pulled out a good upset against Viva Futbol on Wednesday night. Winning the series 4-3, but the score made it look closer than it actually was. Viva were outperformed all game long, and only a final 15 minute burst of goals made this series close. FC Serenity has a chance to get revenge for their regular season losses, and prove they are the best team on FIFA 15. Back-to-back championships would be a truly great feat and put FC Serenity in the history book of ACL as one of the best teams ever. The solid defensive play they had against Viva will be necessary against Divine, and the attacking edge that they had up top could take advantage of a defense that is not as strong as Viva’s.

Prediction: Both teams turn up with their best, and that means only good things as the world gets a great pair of games. I cannot imagine 2 games being enough to decide this series, Golden Goal looks like a real possibility. 1-1 Draw, 1-1 Draw, 1-0 FC Serenity: FC Serenity wins in Golden Goal.

 

My Semifinal Predictions

viv (1) v. ser (4): 1-0 Viva, 1-0 Viva: Viva Futbol advances on aggregate 2-0.

d238ad188edae89bc52bb0353a914fa7 (2) v. 0bc51375f7df6cfe47c495d8eab0066b (3): 2-1 Divine, 2-0 Divine: Divine Footwork advances on aggregate 4-1.

HOW I DID: I went 1-1 overall, I did not quite hit the mark, and ended up somewhere out over the ocean on the Viva/Serenity game. FC Serenity was the better team throughout much of the series. In both games they were up 2-0 before Viva found some rhythm, and in the second game they found it WAY too late to change their fates. For Elusive/Divine it did far better, while I was off a goal for each side, this series turned out as expected. Elusive were overmatched and underwhelming against a better team, and Divine played the football they were capable of and dominated from the jump.

 

Tonight we see two of the very best clubs compete for the American Clubs League title. This 10th edition of the league has been one of the best ever and is surely one of the best ways to end FIFA 15. With FIFA 16 only weeks away, the wait for more North American Pro Clubs competition is just around the corner. But for now, we all hold our breath as the fat lady is warming up her pipes.