2021 eCup - Knockout Stage Draw Procedure

by Joe Meyer

The draw for the 2021 Lower League eCup Presented by Offside Marketing was held behind closed doors on the night of Monday, February 1st. 

The draw was not streamed live due to accommodate postponed matches that were rescheduled to Monday, as well as technical and network issues that would have prevented a high-quality presentation from taking place.

With the bracket release scheduled for today, the eCup had released the draw procedure for the 2021 eCup knockout stage in the interest of transparency.

PlayStation Premier Division

The PlayStation Premier Division draw was divided into two halves, an Eastern and Western Conference. The primary reason behind the decision to split geographically was to accommodate time zone differences between players and personal schedules.

The top two finishers from each of the five “Western” groups (Groups H-L), as well as Group A, were placed into Pot A. Also, the top two finishers from Groups B-G were placed into the “Eastern” side of the bracket (Pots B). Furthermore, the eight third-place finishers to qualify for the knockout stage were randomly assigned to the Eastern or Western side of the bracket regardless of group.

The process above led to seventeen teams being assigned to the Eastern side of the bracket, and only fifteen teams being assigned to the Western side of the bracket. To evenly distribute teams, one “Eastern team'' (Providence City FC) was selected at random to join the “Western” side of the bracket, creating an even distribution of sixteen teams per section.

For the draw, group winners could not be drawn against each other in the first round. If two group winners were drawn against each other, the second group winner drawn was placed in the next match in the bracket.

Xbox Premier Division

The Xbox Premier Division draw was not divided geographically due to a geographical imbalance of teams and players.

The top eight group winners were placed into Pot A and received a first-round bye. The sole remaining and lowest-ranked group winner (Oxnard Guerreros), as well as the remaining fifteen qualifiers, were placed into Pot B.

During the draw, teams from Pot B were paired against each other in the order that they were drawn (ex. 1st vs. 2nd, 3rd vs. 4th, 5th vs. 6th, etc.). After all eight first-round matchups were drawn from Pot B, one team from Pot A was randomly selected to play the winner of one of the eight first-round matchups.

PC Premier Division

With only seven clubs participating in the knockout stage, teams in the PC Premier Division were placed into three separate pots. Pot A consisted of group winners, Pot B consisted of group runner-ups, and Pot C consisted of the remaining three teams.

Firstly, the three teams from Pot C were drawn into the bracket. The first two clubs drawn were paired against each other in a play-in round match, while the third club drawn received a bye to the quarterfinals due to the withdrawal of one club from the knockout stage.

After Pot C was drawn, the two teams in Pot B were drawn into one of two quarterfinal matchups, with one club going to the upper half of the bracket, and the other being placed in the lower half. Finally, after Pot B was drawn the two teams from Pot A were drawn into one of two semifinal matchups, with one club going to the upper half of the bracket, and the other being placed in the lower half.

PlayStation and Xbox SmallWorld Second Division

The eight players in both knockout stage brackets were divided into two pots of four teams each. Pot A was reserved for group winners, while Pot B consists of group runner-ups.

Each team from Pot A was randomly drawn to be paired with a team from Pot B.