The quarterfinals are set in the first eMLS event of the year, as qualifiers have set the stage for eMLS League Series One presented by Coca-Cola on Saturday and Sunday. The tournament features some of the top EA Sports FIFA players in the world competing for a title, as well as a cash prize. Here's everything you need to know as the eMLS race heats up.
Who made the final round?
Eight players from across eMLS are vying for the League Series 1 title this weekend, with the field determined after 14 qualifying matches.
The No. 1 seed belongs to Austin FC player xbLeU, putting the expansion club in a great position to bring home some hardware. The field is capped by Sporting Kansas City player Alekzandur, who earned the No. 8 seed. Those two clubs have both made this stage for the first time.
There's plenty of offensive firepower on display, with Philadelphia Union player cisseSZN scoring 48 goals in the qualifiers. That gave him a +24 goal differential, one of the highest totals heading into the quarterfinals.
- Match 1: KingCJ0 (D.C. United) vs. PhilB94_ (Toronto FC)
- Match 2: xbleu7 (Austin FC) vs. Alekzandur (Sporting Kansas City)
- Match 3: GAdamou10 (New York Red Bulls) vs. Skills_Shack (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
- Match 4: cisseSZN (Philadelphia Union) vs. didychrislito (NYCFC)
Depending on how the quarterfinals unfold, there's the potential for a New York Derby if New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls both win their sides of the bracket. GAdamou10, the reigning eMLS Cup champion could be favored after going undefeated through all 14 qualifiers.
Another angle is D.C. United and Philadelphia's players are brothers competing from the same house. They could face off if they both make the finals.
Vancouver also already have a FIFA 21 champion in Exraa, who won the NA Qualifiers 1 for Xbox this past weekend. If Skills_Shack wins, the Whitecaps would have two champion players several weeks into 2021.
What is League Series One and how does it work?
League Series One is the first of three eMLS tournaments taking place in 2021. The season will feature a $70,000 prize pool and will be headlined by eMLS Cup presented by Coca-Cola on March 20-21. Matches will be played on EA SPORTS FIFA 21, exclusively on PlayStation 4.
Each club will be represented by a professional FIFA player in all eMLS competitions who's seeking to be crowned the best FIFA 21 player in North America. Some clubs are retaining their FIFA player from last season, while other clubs are signing new players. The full 2021 eMLS roster can be found in MLSsoccer.com's preseason power rankings.
League Series One is the first of three live-streamed tournaments that each occur over two days and comprise the eMLS season. The season will continue in February with eMLS League Two presented by Coca-Cola and conclude in March with eMLS Cup presented by Coca-Cola.
Each player competed in a slate of 14 single-leg qualifying matches, which were held January 5-6 and 12-13. Competitors earn three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a loss, with the top eight players advancing to the two-leg League Series One Tournament on January 16-17. The prize pool for League Series One is $15,000.
How to watch and follow
The entirety of the 2021 competitive eMLS season will be streamed online. Fans can watch League Series One on Jan. 16 and Jan. 17 from 3 pm on the official MLS Twitch and Twitter pages, as well as MLSsoccer.com and the free MLS app. Fans can also find updated results and standings on MLSsoccer.com.
The full schedule for the League Series One qualifying matches and final tournament can be found here.