It was an all-New York matchup in the Grand Final of eMLS League Series One presented by Coca-Cola on Sunday, with New York City FC's Didychrislito emerging as the champion after a 4-2 aggregate triumph over the New York Red Bulls' Adamou.
Didychrislito got everything he could handle from Austin FC's xbLeU in the semifinals, but eventually took a 7-4 victory after a dominant second half. Adamou, meanwhile, rode his customary strong defense to a 3-1 triumph over Toronto FC's PhilB94 in the semifinals to set up the Hudson River Derby in the final.
But it was Didychrislito taking home the League Series One crown with a massive performance in the high-stakes final between the two strongest competitors left. Adamou was the favorite coming into the tournament as the defending eMLS Cup champion, but wasn't able to overcome some clutch finishing from his New York counterpart, as well as a late red card.
Check out the full recap and highlights of all the action below.
Didychrislito (NYCFC) 4, Adamou (RBNY) 2
The Final got off to a back-and-forth start, culminating with a penalty kick won by Adamou inside the first 10 minutes. But Didychrislito proved to up to the moment, saving the penalty and then striking for the opener on the other end just seconds later in a sequence that may well have changed the whole trajectory of the match. Adamou would bounce back, though, firing home an equalizer in the 34th minute to level it at 1-1. It looked like the series might get to the second leg at 1-1 as the match turned into a more defensive affair, but Didychrislito jumped on top again with a finish from inside the area in the 71st minute.
Didychrislito would get the all-important first goal of the second leg, lashing home a finish inside 20 minutes that extended the aggregate lead to 3-1. Adamou made sure it wasn't a coast to the finish, however, cashing home a point-blank finish with just 16 minutes to go to set up the dramatic final push. Adamou would be dealt a crucial blow in the 82nd minute, when he had defender Ike Opara sent off for denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, forcing him to play down a man the rest of the match. That set up the series-clinching goal, which Didychrislito scorched home on another breakaway attempt with French superstar Kylian Mbappe, sealing off the 4-2 aggregate final and cementing himself as the eMLS League Series One champion.
Didychrislito (New York City FC) 7, xbLeU (Austin FC) 4
He had to make a frantic comeback to do it, but Didychrislito got the job done in a dramatic semifinals matchup with Austin FC's xbLeU, taking a 7-4 aggregate victory thanks to a red-hot stretch of five unanswered goals to close out the second leg.
It was looking good for xbLeU after the Austin FC man got a spectacular highlight-reel free-kick golazo and managed a 2-2 draw in the first leg, before striking for two goals in the first 15 minutes of Leg 2 to take a 4-2 aggregate lead. But Didychrislito would explode to start the second half, racking up three goals in the first 15 minutes to complete the comeback and take the lead. He would cap it off in style with one of the best goals of the tournament in his own right, a perfectly lofted volley over the goalkeeper that officially punched his ticket to the Final.
Check out the free-kick goal from xbLeU and the last volley from Didychrislito below, as they were two of the best highlights of the whole tournament.
It was business as usual for Adamou in the first leg, as the defending eMLS Cup champion RBNY representative rode a pair of clinical finishes and a stalwart defensive effort to a 2-0 victory in the first leg. He then gutted out a 1-1 draw against a resilient opponent in PhilB in Leg 2 that clinched him a 3-1 aggregate triumph and a spot in another final.
After falling 2-0 in Leg 1, PhilB wouldn't go down without a fight, battling through a defensive and scoreless first half of Leg 2 to cut the lead in half with his first goal of the series with just over 20 minutes to go in regulation time. Adamou would find the dagger, however, courtesy of a 78th-minute breakaway finish off a perfectly weighted ball over the top, giving him the 3-1 aggregate lead that stood as the final.