As expected eMLS League Series Two featured a little bit of everything. We saw doolsta raise the trophy for a second tournament in a row, we saw a lot of emotion from players up on the stage, and we saw a huge shakeup in the Western Conference. After a very exciting weekend, here are three biggest lessons we took from eMLS League Series Two:
1. Doolsta domination continues
Many were surprised to see the 18-year-old high school student beat the previously undefeated Kid Me3mito of Houston Dynamo in the final of eMLS League Series One. After that win last month no one was surprised to see him raise the trophy again this past weekend. Although doolsta took a few tough loses to strong opponents such as PhilB94 from Toronto FC and FCC Fiddle from FC Cincinnati in the regular season, he battled back to beat both of them in the knockout rounds. It’s almost as if doolsta takes his game up a notch when he plays on the stage.
When asked about coming back and beating PhilB in he semi-finals Doolsta said, “Yeah, he did beat me earlier 2-1, but it’s something about playing up on the stage – I think I play better. I didn’t really change too much, but my focus was there and I had a great game.”
With doolsta playing the way he is right now there isn’t going to be a single eMLS player who is going to want to face him come eMLS Cup in March.
2. Anyone can be beaten in eMLS
Coming into League Series Two we knew the Eastern Conference was wide open for the taking, but no one could've predicted what went down in the West. Kid M3mito, who was once thought to be unbeatable, struggled to make it out of his group. He came out of the West as the last of the four seeds and ended up losing his first knockout game to RCTID_Thiago of the Portland Timbers.
Thiago ended up being another one of those players that surprised us all. In eMLS Cup last season he went out early and last month in eMLS League Series One he finished sixth in the Western Conference. No one was talking about Thiago at all until now. Thiago managed a 5-1-3 record in the regular season and those 18 points were enough for him to top the table. Thiago made it all the way to the final match only to lose to doolsta.
Moving over to the Eastern Conference, things were just as wild. With two games left in the regular season, there were eight teams vying for the final four spots. In the end we saw former number one seed NYC_Chris of NYCFC finish seventh, we saw LyesMTL of the Montreal Impact finish second after not qualifying in League Series One, and we saw FIFA_Abe of Orlando City draw his final match which knocked him out and put Fiddle through.
3. There’s no place like home
One of the highlight moments of the event was watching AlanAvi of FC Dallas take the stage in front of his hometown fans. AlanAvi came in as one of the favorites in the Western Conference and didn’t disappoint. He finished third place in his group during the regular season and then took the stage in from of a packed house at the Soccer Hall of Fame.
In his quarterfinal game, Alan took on GGGodfather of the LA Galaxy where he scored two goals in extra time to advance to the semifinals with his family in attendance. After scoring the second goal Alan jumped out of his chair screaming while hyping up the crowd.
Unfortunately, Alan lost his semifinal match, but overall his performance showed us that there is truly no place like home and the future remains bright for eMLS.
Cincinnati native Jake Barford is the eMLS correspondent for FC Cincinnati. He's also the owner and operator of the popular YouTube channel, BFordLancer48, creating daily EA Sports FIFA content. Over the course of three years he’s gained over 200,000 subscribers and 50,000,000 views. Barford is also a member of the EA Game Changer program in which he assists the game development process for the FIFA video game franchise.