eMLS pros discuss tricks of the trade in building a competitive team

Imagine players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Josef Martinez, Lionel Messi, and Diego Valeri all on the same pitch and same team. It might sound a little farfetched, but not in eMLS.

eMLS competitions take place on the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) game mode which allows you to create squads that feature players from across the world. With eMLS League Series Two approaching this Sunday in Dallas, each eMLS player has been tasked with creating a squad. Each squad must contain a total of three MLS players, with two of those MLS players being from the eMLS player's team.

If you choose to tune into League Series Two this weekend, you’ll see a variety of different squads based on these requirements. You’ll more than likely see Ronaldo and Messi in every squad, but what make eMLS unique is that each player must use MLS players. Many players have different methods and strategies as to which MLS players they’ll have on their squads and where they’ll put them in their formation.

Creating a team isn't as easy as choosing your players and putting them in, as there are a few elements eMLS players take into account. The first is the chemistry and the second is formation. Chemistry means everything when creating a team on Ultimate team, and you need to link up players based on club, league, and nationality. Your team can have an overall max of 100 chemistry and each player can have a max of 10 chemistry. If your team has the max 100 chemistry your players will get a small upgrade in stats, if your team has less than 100 chemistry there will be no overall stat increase, and potentially a downgrade in stats. Same goes for players – if you have a player with max chemistry they will receive an upgrade and if they have less than 5 they will receive a downgrade. 

“My biggest difficulty building my team was trying to get the chemistry right while having the best players available,” said Vancouver Whitecaps eMLS player Skill Shack.

You can see where the difficulty comes in with the squad building requirements of using MLS players. Players have a hard time trying to link players like Ronaldo with players from MLS because the chemistry element gives players from the same league or country an advantage in that department. So few Portuguese players in MLS mean there aren't a ton of opportunities to build that chemistry with that particular superstar. 

Even with these squad-building requirements, eMLS players enjoy the challenge of building their teams.

“What I like most about the eMLS is that you have to be creative when you make your team,” said Toronto FC eMLS player PhilB94, ” unlike the FUT Champion Cups [FIFA eWorld Cup Qualifiers] where you usually see the same teams every game which doesn’t get the attention from viewers that are watching online, in my opinion.”

One tactic that many eMLS players use when building their squads is playing certain players out of position and then switching the players around in their formation right as the game begins. For example, Skill Shack starts out playing a normal 4-3-3 with Ronaldo and Messi in the midfield and Romain Alessandrini on the wing. When he gets into each game he pauses immediately, switches his formation to 4-2-3-1, moves Ronaldo to striker and Messi to central attacking midfield, and then substitutes Josef Martinez on for Alessandrini. The reason this tactic is so effective and widely used is because once you are in the game chemistry is set, so putting players in different position via position modifying cards makes it easier to get the chemistry needed. 

Skill Shack's switcheroo maneuver.

“Overall I have an MLS player in each category of my team. One defender, one midfielder, and one forward to make sure everything is spread out and I'm not giving up on a category completely,” said Skill Shack. 

We’ll find out this Sunday if Skill Shack’s tactics pay off for him in eMLS League Series Two. From Cristiano Ronaldo to Greg Garza to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, you’re sure to see a little bit of everything from the eMLS players in Dallas. 

Jake Barford is the eMLS Correspondent for FC Cincinnati, leading the ideation and creation of all eMLS content for FC Cincinnati. The Cincinnati native is also the owner and operator of the popular YouTube channel, BFordLancer48 ,that creates daily EA Sports FIFA content. Over the course of three years he’s gained over 200,000 subscribers and 50,000,000 views. Barford is also a member of the EA Game Changer program in which he assists the game development process for the FIFA video game franchise.