Your early preview of eMLS Cup: How does it work and who's the favorite?

League Series One and Two are now in the books, and it’s time to look ahead to the crowning event of the eMLS season. The 2019 eMLS Cup will take place March 30 in Boston at PAX East, and there's plenty to look out for as 22 gamers vie for for the title.

Similar to the first two League Series, there will be a regular-season portion before the live-streamed knockout round where players will be given one final opportunity to gain points to boost themselves up in the standings. In this regular-season portion in Boston, players will take on each member of the opposing conference for the first time.

The top five players from each conference (based on results from both League Series and the eMLS Cup regular season) will then advance to the knockout rounds, and the top two players will receive a first-round bye. There will also be a ‘Last Chance Qualifier’ where each player outside the top five in each conference will play in a single elimination tournament with the winner being given that conference's sixth seed for the knockout rounds of eMLS Cup.

Here are the eMLS standings heading into eMLS Cup:

First let's take a look at the Eastern Conference where we have a clear and obvious favorite: doolsta. The Philadelphia Union gamer has won back-to-back trophies at both eMLS League Series events and doesn’t look to be letting up anytime soon. With a 12-point lead on the second place player, PhilB94 of Toronto FC, it’s likely no player will pass him. The only question that’s left to be answered now is how will the field line up behind him?

There is a four-point gap between PhilB, who sits in second place, and FCC Fiddle of FC Cincinnati, who sits in fifth place. If League Series One and Two gave us any indication as to how things will play out it’s anyones guess as to who will finish where. Here are a few things to look out for in the East:

  • PhilB is one of the best defensive players in all of eMLS and will definitely be pushing for that second spot.
  • NYC_Chris of NYCFC needs to forget about Series Two where he finished seventh and re-evaluate his game (and potentially his team).
  • Finally, the current players in the 2-5 positions need to watch out for Renatogz05 of D.C. United and FIFA Abe of Orlando City who sit in the No. 6 and 7 portions and will be pushing to knock some guys out of the top 5.

Moving over to the Western Conference – from what we have seen in the previous League Series, the top five looks to be set. We all know how crazy FIFA can be but with the way things look now, there probably won't not be too much shakeup. Although it is unlikely any team outside the top five will move into the top five, what we do need to lookout for is who will finish where inside that top five.

The favorite is still Kid M3mito of the Houston Dynamo, even though he struggled to get out of the group in Series Two. Kid M3mito has done too well in the past to write him off as the favorite for one bad tournament. Another player in the West we should watch out for is RCTID_Thiago of the Portland Timbers. He shocked everyone in League Series Two by coming out as the best player in the West so it will be interesting to see whether or not he can continue his good form.

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.

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