The first stage of 2020 eMLS competition is done and dusted. But what did we learn from it all? Here are three takeaways in the aftermath of eMLS League Series One, contested this weekend in Philadelphia.
The Newbies are here to stay
The first competition of the eMLS calendar saw 12 new competitors from the 25 competing clubs. Of those 12 new competitors, five were able to make it to the knockout stage of League Series One.
With big shoes to fill, Extraa took the place of Skill Shack from Vancouver and did not disappoint, taking down Remi Martinn of LAFC in the quarterfinals with one of the tournament's best performances, only to face Fiddle of FC Cincinnati in the semifinals in what may have been the tournament's best game. Extraa took a 4-2 lead over Fiddle, only to blow the lead and lose on a penalty shootout.
What to take from these results? Don’t get used to seeing the same faces and players in the upcoming knockout rounds of each tournament. eMLS veterans such as PhilB94, RCTID Thiago, and Kid M3mito are no longer going to stroll though the knockout rounds.
Doolsta, the raining treble winner and newly transferred player, had his first taste of defeat.
Coming in, there was more pressure than ever riding on the shoulders of the youngster from Galway, Ireland, after his three victories last season. With a record of 8-1-3 in the regular season, Doolsta was able to secure the 5th overall seed heading into the knockout stage, but two quick, unanswered goals from Adamou was all it took to end Doolsta's run in the quarterfinals.
Only time will tell whether if Doolsta can return to his winning ways, but it’s looking like the days of Doolsta running the show in the eMLS on his own could be over.
New format helps crown new champion
Last season we saw the Eastern Conference battle it out against the Western Conference in each competition. To even the playing field this year, conferences were erased, leading to fairer group play, with the top seven finishers joining host Philadelphia Union in the knockout stage as the No. 8 seed.
How did this help a new champion to be crown? For starters, the champion Fiddle was spared facing Doolsta or DidyChrislito, who were both his kryptonite last season, instead taking on three new eMLS contenders en route to the title. Two wins on penalty shootouts and a tough match in the final saw Fiddle raise the trophy.