eSports facebook eSports twitter

FIFA eMLS Cup set to kick-off

16 March 2018 12:01

The inaugural eMLS Cup kicks off at PAX East 2018 in Boston on Thursday 5th April, with the winner and runner-up both earning an automatic place at the EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series Play-offs in June.

The Format

PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) is an annual gaming culture festival widely regarded as one of the biggest gaming events in the world, with nine events a year held in the USA and Australia.

The eMLS Cup is a part of the wider FIFA 18 Global Series, and there will be qualifying rounds for the first two days in Boston, where teams are split into two ten and nine-team conferences.

The top eight players from each conference will then progress to the seeded knock-out rounds on the penultimate day, before the conference championships and grand final are held on the Sunday. There is a prize pool up for grabs, but full details are yet to be announced.

The Teams

There will be at least 19 MLS (Major League Soccer) clubs competing over the four-day event, although more could be added before the tournament gets underway

The 19 teams who will do battle in Boston are Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew SC, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, Minnesota United FC, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

The Players

There are undoubtedly some players who could shine with a console in hand at PAX East, including 17-year-old Erfan Hosseini, the youngest competitor in Boston. Representing the Vancover Whitecaps, the gamer nicknamed “Skill Shack” won the Whitecaps FC live FIFA 17 Tournament last year to take his place in the line-up and is one to watch.

Montreal Impact’s Algerian-born Lyes Ould-Ramoul, known as LyesMTL, is another player to keep your eye on, after coming 4th in the hotly-contested 2015 FIFA eWorld Cup. There can only be one professional gamer in each team alongside amateur players, and each team have been left to their own devices to choose a professional FIFA player to represent them.

The Philadelphia Union held an open tournament to find two amateur players last month, inviting players to come and showcase their talents in a bid to make their team for the eMLS Cup, and other teams have done similar.

FIFA’s eSports development

This is an exciting time for the development of FIFA as an esport, with the FIFA eWorld Cup 18 also taking place later this year in August. FIFA has always been a mainstay on traditional game consoles such as Playstation and Xbox, and the popular franchise appears to have made a positive transition over to the competitive eSports market, particularly with the younger generation of football-mad gamers.

The partnership between MLS and EA Sports to produce the eMLS Cup appears to have hit the back of the net, with 19 of the 23 professional MLS clubs signing gamers to represent them at eSports tournaments, such as the eMLS Cup. With the likes of West Ham United and Manchester City signing professional FIFA players for their eSports teams over in the UK last year, all this footballing fanfare can only be a positive step for the development of FIFA within eSports, and it’ll be fascinating to see how the eMLS Cup unfolds.

Published on: 2018-03-16

Previous Next