Championship Weekend Preview (PS4)
After seven weeks of virtual competition, the semifinals and finals of the 2020 Lower League eCup are set! Championship weekend features the semifinals and finals of all three divisions (Playstation, Xbox, and PC), beginning on Friday, May 22nd and concluding with the PS4 and PC Championship matches on Wednesday, May 27th.
Below is our preview for the PS4 Division. For the Xbox Division preview, click here, and for the PC preview, click here.
PS4 Semifinal #1: FC Motown (NPSL) vs. Oxnard Guerreros (NPSL)
Sunday, May 24th, 8:00pm Eastern
FC Motown (7-1-0) vs. Oxnard Guerreros (8-0)
The first PS4 Semifinal has the feeling of a Championship match. Motown and Oxnard have been the two frontrunners in this tournament from the first match, and have experience at high levels of competitive gaming to back up their eCup results. It’s hard to see the winner of this match not taking the title home on Wednesday night.
Deiver Lopez is not only a lifelong supporter and reserve team player for FC Motown, but he’s also ranked in the top 5 of all FIFA players in the US. A player that has clearly been a level above his amateur competition, Lopez comes into the semifinals with an undefeated record. A surprise draw in the group stage against Inocentes FC (UPSL) has shown that he’s vulnerable to upsets, but after scoring 12 unanswered goals in his two-legged Quarterfinal, there’s little doubt he has the highest ceiling of any player in the tournament. Whether or not Motown can take down the Guerreros will likely come down to whether or not Lopez can find his groove early, and put together a consistent stretch of 180 minutes. FC Motown reached the semifinals with wins over Fall River Marksmen FC (9-1), Riverside City (8-1), and Inocentes FC (14-6).
On the other hand, Oxnard Guerreros supporter Harold Mendoza has previous experience competing in eMLS tournaments, and has been the most consistent player in the PS4 tournament to this point. Mendoza comes into the match with 86 goals scored in his five group stage matches and three, two-leg knockout stage matchups. A favorable draw in the knockout stage has allowed Oxnard to cruise into the semifinals, but it all will be put to the test on Sunday night. Oxnard recorded knockout stage aggregate victories over AC Miracle Hill (16-4), LSA Atletico Lanier (12-4), and Greenspoint Gunners (13-6) to reach the semifinals.
PS4 Semifinal #2: Providence City FC (USASA) vs. Houston Hotshots (UPSL)
Sunday, May 24th, 9:00pm Eastern
Providence City (7-1-1) vs. Oxnard Guerreros (5-3-0)
There aren’t too many brands in lower league soccer that are more recognizable than the Rogues of Providence City FC, and the tournament Cinderella’s will face a relatively new club to the UPSL scene in the second PS4 semifinal. With a showdown between Motown and Oxnard on the other side of the bracket, both clubs have a golden opportunity to advance to a final, where neither club will have much to lose.
Simply put, Providence City FC goalkeeper Chris Moura’s run to the semifinals has been nothing short of a Cinderella run. After finishing 3rd in his group (and 36th in the overall standings), Moura has reeled off four upset victories in a row to reach Championship Weekend. The only club across all 3 divisions to advance to the semifinals without a first-round bye, Providence City defeated Hoboken FC 1912 (6-2) in the play-in round, before three straight wins in two-legged aggregate matchups over Miami Soccer Academy (7-4), Milwaukee Bavarians (11-3), and Tulsa Athletic (6-5).
On the other hand, Edgar Olivares, a first team player for the Houston Hotshots, has squeaked into the semifinals with an undefeated record (including three ties). A favorable draw and a few upsets in the Hotshots section of the bracket have paved the way for the UPSL side to make a semifinal appearance. Knockout stage wins in two-leg aggregate matchups over NY International FC (9-8), Elmwood Elite SG (5-2), and Asheville City SC (8-4) have earned Olivares and the Hotshots a spot in the semifinals.
National Final: Wednesday, May 27th at 9:00pm Eastern
Staff Consensus Predictions
Semifinal #1: FC Motown over Oxnard Guerreros
Semifinal #2: Providence City over Houston Hotshots
Final: FC Motown over Providence City