Matched up with some of the finest FIFA players in the world, the eMLS representatives at the 2019 eChampions League more than held their own in the two-day tournament that took place on Friday and Saturday in Manchester, England.
Four eMLSers — eMLS treble winner doolsta (Philadelphia Union), NYC_Chris (NYCFC), AlanAvi (FC Dallas) and FCC_Fiddle (FC Cincinnati) — entered the tournament, one of the premier competitive FIFA 19 events on the calendar.
Of those four, three made the knockout stages of the tournament and two — NYC_Chris and AlanAvi (pictured above) — won their first two knockout games, ensuring their places in the final 8 of the eChampions League, which is set to take place on May 31 in Madrid ahead of the UEFA Champions League final in the same city on June 1.
The 8 competitors who qualified for the eChampions League Finals in Madrid on May 31! #eCL @AlanAvi_ @night_watch_96 @Zezinho23xX @JoksanRedona@Vitality_Rafsou @didychrislito @Marcuzo45 & @xLevVinken pic.twitter.com/3DKgByriOU— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) April 27, 2019
Just for reaching the last eight, all the players will earn $15,000 and 150 FIFA Global Series points, with even more — all the way up to $100,000 and 850 Global Series Points for the winner — up for grabs in Madrid. Global Series Points will be essential for players hoping to make the Global Series Playoffs in June, which in turn provide a pathway to the competitive FIFA season's marquee event, the eWorld Cup, in July and August.
The tournament's group stage took place in a Swiss format, with all players playing games against up to seven of the 64 competitors that entered the tournament. All players who won four games in the group stage earned a place in the last 32 of the tournament. Three of the eMLSers did just that, with only doolsta failing to advance, dropping his final game after going 3-3 through his first six.
NYC_Chris nearly suffered the same fate, dropping three straight after jumping out to a 3-0 record, but he won his final game to advance. There were no such issues for FCC_Fiddle or AlanAvi, who hit the four-win mark with games to spare.
Moving over to the knockout rounds, AlanAvi took a pair of narrow victories, topping Turkish gamer isopowerr 5-4 before beating France's Mence. That set up a tantalizing quarterfinal matchup in Madrid against DrNightWatch, the Bulgarian competitor who caused one of the upsets of the tournament by topping the No. 1 seed (and Xbox world No. 1) F2Tekkz in the round of 16.
NYC_Chris had a somewhat easier path to the quarterfinals, dispatching the well-regarded Roma Damie, 4-1, in his first knockout round match before topping frontaleFIFA in the round of 16, 3-2.
FCC Fiddle had no such luck, though, falling at the first hurdle of the knockout round to France's Vitality Rafsou in a 4-2 decision. In a twist of fate, though, NYC_Chris will have the opportunity to avenge his fellow eMLSer, having been matched up with Rafsou in the quarterfinals when the tournament resumes at the end of May.