The 2020 eMLS season kicks off this week when some of the top EA Sports FIFA players in North America gather in Philadelphia for League Series One presented by PlayStation. If you're new to the eMLS or competitive gaming scenes, or you just want the latest information on how to watch and attend the event, we've got you covered.
What is League Series One and how does it work?
League Series One is the first of three eMLS tournaments that will take place in 2020, followed by League Series Two in February and eMLS Cup in March. Players from 25 MLS teams (including 2021 expansion side Austin FC) will compete to be crowned League Series One champion as well as for points in the 2020 eMLS standings. The League Series One winner will also receive a $7,500 cash prize.
All 25 players played 12 games during the regular-season portion of the event, which took place on Thursday. The top eight overall players (regardless of conference) qualified for the live-stream portion of the event on Friday (7 pm–10:30 pm ET), with the host club (in this case the Philadelphia Union) guaranteed a place on the live stream no matter their player's result.
Who qualified and what are the matchups?
Of the eight qualifiers who will take part in Friday's event, five are newcomers to eMLS in 2020. Representative for the Vancouver Whitecaps, exraa was the top-performing newcomer, only missing out on top spot on goal differential. The New York Red Bulls' G_Adamou, LAFC's RemiMartinn and Orlando City's highly anticipated Brazilian arrival Paulo Neto also made it through to Friday's live-streamed event behind first-placed Didychrislito. The most talked-about newcomer to eMLS will also take part on Friday, although it was a tough first outing for Superbowl-winning quarterback and Philadelphia Union representative Jay Ajayi.
You can the full bracket of matchups for Friday below.
Can I attend?
Yes! If you happen to be in Philly, you can still sign up to attend the event on Friday evening, which will take place at Union Transfer:
Doors open at 6 pm ET, and the event will run until approximately 10:30 pm ET.
In addition to being able to catch some elite FIFA esports and cheer on your team of choice, those in attendance will also be able to mingle with special guests from the Philadelphia Union, receive exclusive eMLS x Philadelphia Union merchandise, design customized eMLS apparel and play FIFA 20 at open-play stations.
How to watch and follow?
If you can't make it to Union Transfer, fear not. The entirety of Friday's event will be live streamed on Twitch and Twitter, as well as right here on MLSsoccer.com and the MLS mobile app.
In addition to the live stream, fans can follow the results of their team's player and get up-to-date standings for both Thursday's non-streamed games (10 am–5 pm ET) and Friday's main event. Be sure to bookmark these pages if you want the latest on how your preferred player is doing:
Who's playing and what to watch for?
Twenty four teams so far have signed players for the 2020 eMLS season, and you can get the full list right here.
There have been plenty of intriguing player moves since the 2019 season, the most notable of which is reigning champion Cormac Dooley (AKA doolsta) going from Philadelphia to Nashville SC. You can find out more about doolsta's decision here, but safe to say it makes Nashville immediate contenders in their first season of eMLS competition. Doolsta won all three events in 2019, completing a sweep of League Series One and Two, as well as eMLS Cup.
Doolsta will face some of his stiffest competition yet in 2020 though, in large part thanks to some new signings that highlight MLS teams' ambitions in the esports arena. Atlanta United made perhaps the biggest splash in the offseason, bringing in 16-year-old Brazilian phenom Paulo Neto, currently ranked No. 4 in the world on PlayStation 4. Don't sleep on the New York Red Bulls' George Adamou (GAdamou10), currently tied for No. 16 among PS4 players.
Of the returning players, watch out for FC Cincinnati's Gordon Thornsberry (FCCFiddle), who is currently tied with doolsta at No. 29 in the world rankings, as well as the lone eMLS representative to qualify for competitive FIFA's top prize, the FIFA eWorld Cup, New York City FC's Chris Holly (Didychrislito). The eMLS Cup champion in 2018 and runner-up to doolsta in 2019, Guillermo Trevino (kid m3mito) of the Houston Dynamo, will also be back with payback on his mind.