Saint Louis FC and the New York Red Bulls II will square off in the Final of the Week 1 Division A bracket after a dramatic night of action in the USL eCup: FIFA20 Edition, with the New England Revolution II and Sacramento Republic FC set to meet in the Division B Final on Friday night.
1. The theme of the day was Golden Goals, with three of the five games going to extra time including both games in the Semifinals of Division A. Capping off the night was a remarkable clash that Hartford Athletic’s Kamer Nuhiu and Scotland appeared to have wrapped up with a go-ahead goal five minutes from full time, only for Saint Louis FC’s Kyle Morton and France to force an equalizer in the 90th minute before winning the game 3-2 eight minutes into the extra session. It was tough on Hartford, which battled well, but Saint Louis is moving on to face fellow extra time winner the New York Red Bulls II on Friday night for this week’s Division A title.
2. Sacramento Republic FC has shifted players so far in the USL eCup: FIFA20 Edition, but in Juan Barahona it might have found someone that can carry Mexico a decent way. El Tri’s 3-2 victory against the Charleston Battery’s Rennico Clarke and Greece on Thursday night sealed Republic FC’s place in the Division B Final, and the talented full back showed he’s got some solid digital chops as well as being an El Salvador international. Sacramento is going to be in Division A next week, and I’m curious to see how Barahona might fare against the best the tournament has to offer.
3. If there’s one thing that’s clear from the past couple of days, New England Revolution II player John Oliveira has a little bit of a flair for the dramatic. After nailing a last-minute winner on Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Union II, he claimed a 2-1 victory with Russia on a Golden Goal against El Paso Locomotive FC and Argentina on Thursday night to advance to this week’s Division B Final. Who knows how the matchup against Sacramento Republic FC is going to go, but you’d should stay until the final whistle regardless.
- One of the interesting questions for the moment we reached the sharp end of week’s tournament was whether a great digital team and an average player could get past an average digital team and a great player. In the Division A Semifinals, we kinda got our answer, and it’s that the club with the better player on the sticks in these situations is probably the favorite.
- The New York Red Bulls II’s Mike LaBelle dominated much of the play with Chile against OKC Energy FC’s Josh Snodgrass and Portugal, but still needed a Golden Goal to win 3-2 in extra time after the two players finished level after regulation. Energy FC didn’t get many looks on goal but didn’t need to for its two goals thanks to Portugal’s talent, and Snodgrass even pulled off a penalty save in the extra session to keep the game alive. The Red Bulls II moved on, however, as LaBelle’s eMLS talents came through for him.
- You can go from highs to lows pretty quickly in this game, and a day after racking up seven goals in a victory, Charleston’s Rennico Clarke found himself on the wrong end of the result on Thursday. There’s still promotion and the potential for 300 points in the bank to be played for tomorrow, though, so let’s see how the Battery respond.
- FC Tucson’s Jonathan Caparelli ended the week on a high note, taking a 6-2 victory with the Czech Republic against Birmingham Legion FC and Ireland to claim third place in Division C and 150 points in the overall standings.
- Caparelli’s victory was impressive – Tucson racket up 13 shots on goal overall – and the question will now be whether it can find something similar next week in Division B as it looks to at least solidify a place in the middle tier, if not shoot for promotion.
New York Red Bulls II (Chile) 3, OKC Energy FC (Portugal) 2 AET
Saint Louis FC (France) 3, Hartford Athletic (Scotland) 2
New England Revolution II (Russia) 2, El Paso Locomotive FC (Argentina) 1 AET
Sacramento Republic FC (Mexico) 3, Charleston Battery (Greece) 2
FC Tucson (Czech Republic) 6, Birmingham Legion FC (Ireland) 2