With chants of “Orlando City” ringing at the MLS Digital Headquarters at ACE Cafe in downtown Orlando, the home team came through to claim the second annual eMLS All-Star Challenge presented by Wells Fargo.
The Orlando City team comprised of OCSC’s eMLS player FIFA Abe (Abraham Valbuena) and AnthFifa (Anthony Medina), who won the 64-person open qualifier earlier in the day, mowed down the competition in all three rounds of the single-elimination 2-v-2 tournament. But they needed penalty kicks to do it in the final.
Orlando ‘keeper Brian Rowe came up with two saves in the shootout and Danilo Acosta scored the clincher as Orlando won 3-1 on PKs after Nani and the USMNT’s Jozy Altidore exchanged goals during regulation. The FC Cincinnati team (eMLS player Fiddle and The F2 freestyler Billy Wingrove) played with the US national team given FC Cincinnati will be introduced as a new team in EA FIFA19 in the upcoming edition.
For winning the final, a $5,000 donation made by Wells Fargo to a charity designated by Orlando City.
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Road to the Final
The team of FIFA Abe and AnthFifa, both of Venezuelan descent, turned out to be a perfect pairing throughout the tournament and both admitted as much after the event.
After narrowly emerging from the quarterfinals by a 2-1 score, the Orlando team faced a huge test in the semis. But goals by Dom Dwyer and Nani helped FIFA Abe and AnthFifa shut out the Union team comprised of the star-studded due of reigning eMLS Cup champion doolsta (Cormac Dooley) and six-time MLS Cup champion Landon Donovan.
With Atletico Madrid’s Alvaro Morata in the crowd, Orlando then went on to claim a hard-fought final win over the FC Cincinnati duo of Fiddle (Gordon Thornsberry) and The F2 freestyler Billy Wingrove, who entertained the crowd throughout the night as they played with the US national team, powered by Jozy Altidore.
There was a twist to the eMLS All-Star Challenge: Each match started out with a skills challenge and the losing team was forced to play the first 15 seconds of the match with their controller turned upside down.
2019 eMLS All-Star Challenge Bracket
|eMLS Gamer||Celebrity Partner|
|AlanAvi (DAL)||Diego Forlan|
|Doolsta (PHI)||Landon Donovan|
|FCC Fiddle||Billy (The F2)|
|BuckArmy||Jeremy (The F2)|
|Mike LaBelle||Christian Polanco (Cooligans)|
|JKO1707||Neo (Open Qualifier)|
|FIFA Abe||AnthFifa (Open Qualifier)|