The first day of eMLS League Series One is in the books and while we'll see a few familiar faces in tomorrow's live stream, one thing is clear: the new faces in the league aren't messing around.
Of the eight qualifiers for the final stage of the tournament, which fans can watch right here on MLSsoccer.com starting at 7 pm ET on Friday, five are newcomers to the eMLS circuit, even as two of the top three finishers were returning players (full standings).
The top spot in the regular season, however, was reserved for a familiar face, NYCFC's Didychrislito, who was the lone eMLS player to qualify for last year's edition of competitive FIFA's most prestigious event, the eWorld Cup.
Vancouver's exraa was the highest-ranked newcomer after the regular season, finishing in a three-way tie on points for first with a 9-2-1 record (29 points), missing out on first place by two goals. The New York Red Bulls' GAdamou also made a big mark, finishing in fourth place at 8-2-2 (26 points) in his eMLS regular season debut.
One of the most anticipated newcomers, Brazilian phenom Paulo Neto (ranked No. 4 globally among PS4 players), will get the chance to show his skills in front of the cameras. After a slow start, the Atlanta United player rebounded to finish sixth at 8-1-3 (25 points). RemiMartinn, making his and LAFC's debut in eMLS play, secured the final result-based qualification spot, finishing seventh with a 7-4-1 record after a hot start to the day.
It was, however, a rough day out for the most high-profile addition to the eMLS roster, though, as NFL running back Jay Ajayi, repping the Philadelphia Union, dropped all of his 12 games in his pro debut. However, he will have a chance to rebound Friday with the host team automatically qualifying for the live stream.
As far as other returning players were concerned, reigning eMLS champ doolsta, now representing Nashville after moving from the Union, will aim to make it four straight titles after he finished in fifth place in the regular season. The other returning player to make the live stream portion of the event was FC Cincinnati's FCCFiddle, an unsurprising development after his consistent play in 2019.