He got everything he could handle in a wild, back-and-forth Grand Final, but New York City FC's Didychrislito is the champion of the 2021 eMLS Cup presented by Coca-Cola after a 6-4 aggregate victory over the New York Red Bulls' Adamou. The win makes Didychrislito the second-ever eMLS competitor to win a treble coming off his victories in eMLS League Series One and League Series Two, finishing off a blistering campaign that saw him emerge as the most dominant player on the circuit.
The Grand Final tied off an entertaining second day of competition that saw the Hudson River Derby final take shape for a second straight year despite some valiant efforts from the other players. The
LA Galaxy's Godfather pulled off an upset of League Series Two finalist KingCJO of D.C. United, while Austin FC's xbLeU also acquitted himself well with a quarterfinal victory over Sporting Kansas City's Alekzandur and a near-upset of Didychrislito in the semifinals. In the end, however, Didychrislito's red-hot form proved to be too much for anyone to overcome, even the reigning eMLS Cup champion in Adamou.
Check out the full recap and highlights of all Sunday's action below.
Didychrislito (NYCFC) 6, Adamou (New York Red Bulls) 4
On a day with plenty of entertaining, back-and-forth action, the all-New York final lived up to its billing as a clash between two of the best competitors in the game.
It couldn't have gotten off to a much better start for Adamou, as the RBNY man jumped on top with the opening goal in the 11th minute. It seemed primed to be a short-lived advantage, as Didychrislito won a penalty kick just minutes later to give himself a look at the equalizer from the spot, only to see it saved allowing Adamou to retain the 1-0 advantage. The floodgates opened in the 70th minute, as the sides swapped four more goals before the end of the contest. Didychrislito scored clutch goals to deadlock the contest twice, first at 1-1 in the 70th minute, then at 2-2 in the 87th. But Adamou managed to strike for a huge 90th-minute go-ahead finish, allowing him to take a 3-2 aggregate lead into Leg 2.
The theatrics continued into Leg 2, as the sides swapped two more goals in the opening 11 minutes. Didy went first, leveling it at 3-3 in just the fourth minute, only to see Adamou jump ahead again with a finish of his own in the 11th. Adamou couldn't make it to halftime with the lead, though, as Didychrislito equalized yet again in the 35th minute and then snatched the lead with a massive go-ahead tally in the 56th. That set the stage for the dagger, which Didychrislito bagged in the 67th minute to take the 6-4 aggregate advantage and seal the eMLS Cup title.
Godfather (LA Galaxy) 3, KingCJO (D.C. United) 2
The first quarterfinal match of the day ended in a victory for Godfather, who advanced through to the semis courtesy of a vintage performance that saw him play his usual suffocating defense and take his chances clinically.
The Galaxy man found the only goal of Leg 1 in the 26th minute to take a 1-0 aggregate lead into the second leg, adding a crucial second in the 19th minute of Leg 2. King CJO would fight back and make it interesting with his first goal of the series as the second leg approached halftime, but Godfather struck for his third on the other end just minutes later to take a 3-1 aggregate lead he wouldn't relinquish, despite a 72nd-minute tally from KingCJO that made Godfather sweat it out at the end.
xbLeU (Austin FC) 3, Alekzandur (Sporting Kansas City) 2
Coming off his explosive seven-goal performance that propelled to victory over FC Cincinnati's Fiddle in the Knockout Round, Alekzandur couldn't quite keep the magic going against one of the tournament favorites as xbLeu took a hard-fought 3-2 aggregate victory.
The Austin FC man struck first in the 23rd minute of another tense and defensive first leg, and would hold that lead all the way until the 65th minute, when Alekzandur found a huge equalizer that left the aggregate score at a 1-1 deadlock headed into Leg 2. XbLeU would find an all-important go-ahead goal in the 18th minute of the second leg, and then capitalize on the turning point of the match in the 49th minute, when Alekzandur was called for a penalty kick that XbLeU converted to push the lead to 3-1. Alekzandur hacked the deficit to 3-2 with a crucial tally off an inexplicable defensive giveaway in the 77th minute, but xbLeU managed to hold him off the scoresheet the rest of the way and punch his semifinals ticket.
Adamou (New York Red Bulls) 3, Godfather (LA Galaxy) 2
In search of what would have been a big upset over the reigning eMLS Cup champion, Godfather couldn't quite pull it off after conceding a pair of late goals, one of which stood as the series-winner that sent Adamou through to his second straight Grand Final.
It was always going to be a chess match between two of the savviest competitors in the bracket, as the series neared halftime of the first leg with neither player finding a goal. Adamou who found the breakthrough, cashing home the opener in the 43rd minute. That seemed to be the spark that Godfather needed, though, as the Galaxy rep managed to strike back and equalize just shy of the hour mark. Godfather nearly jumped in front just before the final whistle, but had a golden chance thwarted by a diving save on the last play of the match.
Godfather would find a go-ahead goal in Leg 2 in the 19th minute, rifling home a finish that sent him to a 2-1 aggregate advantage. But Adamou showed why he's the defending champion, striking back for a pair of huge goals late in the second half to take a 3-2 lead that sent him through to the Grand Final.
Didychrislito (NYCFC) 4, xbLeU (Austin FC) 1
He got a run for his money from a formidable adversary, but in the end Didychrislito wound up cruising to a 4-1 aggregate victory in his series against Austin FC's xbLeU that set up the rematch with Adamou.
After a scoreless first half, Didychrislito broke through with the opener just after second-half kickoff, which wound up as the only goal scored in Leg 1 in another cagey and defensive affair. But in a bit of an unexpected twist, it was xbLeU who jumped right back in it in the second leg with a massive 31st-minute equalizer.
The deadlock wouldn't last for long, though. Didychrislito embarked on one of his patented tears, striking for a second in the 48th minute to take a 2-1 aggregate lead, then immediately adding another in the 50th. The NYCFC man then notched the dagger with a 75th-minute finish that sealed the relatively comfortable 4-1 final.