The Upgrade: The MLSer youth movement continues this week in 'FIFA 17'

Welcome to this edition of the Upgrade, a series tracking MLS players in EA SPORTS FIFA 17. You can check out the previous installment here. This week, we’re rounding up some exciting prospects who got rewarded for their good play. 

Last weekend’s MLS action featured an absolute ton of goals of all shapes and sizes. Surprise, surprise, some came courtesy of what is perhaps the most fun crop of young attackers to grace MLS pitches in recent memory. 

Anthony Jackson-Hamel

One of those players is the Montrea Impact’s Anthony Jackson-Hamel, whose deft flick earned his side a last-minute win, as well as AT&T MLS Goal of the Week honors. For his troubles, he was rewarded in FIFA 17 with a nice little upgrade in composure, finishing, and reactions. It looks as if it means to say, “Alright, Anthony, we see you. Show us it wasn’t a fluke.”

Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla

Meanwhile, one of Jackson-Hamel’s fellow hyphenated teammates is starting to prove he’s the real deal. Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla, at age 18, has been a constant threat for Montreal early this season, and his composure and production have started to catch the attention of EA. They've bumped him up to a 65 OVA this week after an upgrade last week which resulted in a 4-point OVA boost.

This week, he got boosts in some skill areas, including a 27-point curve increase, a 21-point free kick accuracy increase, and a dribbling increase which brings him up to a 74 in that category. Combined with four-star skill moves, 90 agility, and 83 balance, this kid is an absolute force. 

Jack Harrison

South of the border, NYCFC’s Jack Harrison finally got an upgrade after sitting on a 66 OVA for what feels like forever. After a breakout year last season, Harrison has started this campaign with two goals and an assist in six starts, and has been one of the Pigeons’ most consistent attacking threats.

Alongside B-52 bomber David Villa and veteran Rodney Wallace, Harrison has led NYCFC to their best start yet. It feels like Jack has shed the "prospect" tag and moved into "legit" territory. It seems like his head coach Patrick Vieira thinks so too, after recently saying that Jack “absolutely” has the talent to play in the Premier League.

So what did EA do? They gave him a nice bump in the dribbling, finishing, long shots, agility, ball control, and reactions categories, which knocked him up to a 68 OVA and an 82 POT. Pretty nice. 

Tyler Adams

Last but not least, the New York Red Bulls' Tyler Adams is at it again, folks. Much like Ballou-Tabla, Adams is on his second upgrade in a row. It took Adams just four matches and 345 minutes to work his way from a 57 OVA to a 65 OVA, and this latest upgrade is a nice rounding-off of a hefty period of progress.

Boosts in aggression, vision, composure, dribbling, ball control, reactions, and balance are always good. His current mental attribute ratings also reflect maturity and an ability to read the game far beyond what his age might suggest. 

Big things could certainly be coming down the pipe for Adams, Harrison, and Ballou-Tabla, who have been must-watch players throughout the start of this MLS season. As teams start to find their true identities during the lead-up to the summer slog, the legitimacy of this group will be tested big-time. If they keep their consistency up and keep pace with some of the top players in the league— which they’re doing right now — we’ve got a real special bunch on our hands, both in FIFA 17 and on the real-life pitch.

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