The quarterfinals of eMLS League Series One presented by Coca-Cola were marked by some dramatic finishes and dominant individual performers, as the New York Red Bulls' Amadou and New York City FC's Didychrislito each posted convincing victories to punch their ticket to Sunday's semifinals.
PhilB and D.C. United's KingCJO played perhaps the most entertaining series of the day, as PhilB completed a remarkable, frantic comeback to come out on top by an aggregate score of 7-6. Amadou, the defending eMLS Cup champion, had the most convincing result, cruising to a 11-2 rout over Vancouver's Skill Shack, while Didychrislito also coasted to a comfortable win with his 8-0 aggregate triumph over Philadelphia's Cissezn.
Check out the full recap of the day's action below and be sure to tune in Sunday for the semifinals and Grand Final, which will be broadcast on MLSsoccer.com and Twitch starting at 3 pm ET.
eMLS League Series One presented by Coca Cola Semifinals Bracket
PHILB94 (Toronto FC) 7, KINGCJO (D.C. United) 6
The day got off to a roaring start as DC's KingCJO and Toronto's PhilB94 combined for 13 goals. KingCJO jumped on top in the first leg with with a first-half onslaught that saw him take a 3-0 lead into the halftime break. But PhilB would put on a furious rally, getting his first of the day just after the second-half restart to cut the deficit to 3-1. After another goal from KingCJO, PhilB cut the lead to 4-3 with a pair of finishes in the 61st and 68th minutes to set up a nervy final stretch for KingCJO. PhilB would then find the dramatic equalizer just moments from full-time make it 4-4.
That set up another thriller in the second leg, which saw the teams tied at 2-2 and 6-6 on aggregate going into the final 15 minutes of the series. In the end, it was PhilB who sent Toronto through to the semifinals with a series-winning goal in the 78th minute for the 7-6 aggregate victory.
XBLEU (Austin FC) 4, ALEKZANDUR (Sporting Kansas City) 3
The next quarterfinal matchup between xbLeU of Austin FC and Sporting KC's Alekzandur featured some more late drama. xbLeU scored the only goal of the first leg in the 36th minute, giving him a one-goal lead headed into Leg 2. But Aleksandur found two separate equalizers in the second leg to make the aggregate 2-2 going into the final half-hour, only to see xbLeU find a huge go-ahead finish in the 76th minute to put himself in the driver's seat. It wouldn't last long, though, as Aleksandur made use of LAFC superstar Carlos Vela to fight back for yet another equalizer to tie it back up at 3-3. But xbLeU struck for yet another go-ahead goal on the last kick of the game to seal his spot in the semifinals in heart-pounding fashion.
ADAMOU (New York Red Bulls) 11, SKILLSHACK (Vancouver Whitecaps) 2
The most dominant individual effort of the day came from the defending eMLS Cup champion, as RBNY's Adamou exploded for 11 goals against Vancouver's Skill Shack. It was an inauspicious start in the quarterfinals for Adamou, as he yielded an early goal to fall into a 1-0 deficit. The RBNY man would bounce back emphatically, though, rattling off three unanswered goals before the end of the first half to take a 3-1 lead into the halftime break. Skill Shack put up a good fight, cutting the deficit to 3-2 just after the second-half restart, but Adamou would show his championship quality, ripping off four more goals to take the first leg 7-2 on aggregate.
The second leg was just a formality after that, as Adamou added four more to take the series 11-2 and move through for the Semifinal matchup with PhilB.
DIDYCHRISLITO (New York City FC) 8, CISSESZN (Philadelphia Union) 0
It was another one-sided affair in the matchup between the Union and NYCFC as Didychrislito raced out to a 4-0 lead in the first leg, aided by a missed penalty kick by Cissezn in the second half. Didychrislito continued to pour it on, extending the lead to 6-0 heading into the second leg and all but putting the series to bed.
Didychrislito would add two more goals in the second half to round out the dominating 8-0 aggregate final and punch his ticket to the semifinals.