It’s coming right down to the wire in the eCPL Home To Play Tournament. Week 3 of the four-week competition kicks off this Friday, April 17, with all eight CPL clubs taking each other on in FIFA 20, in the two-legged knockout bracket.
Atlético Ottawa and Forge FC have already punched their tickets to next week’s four-team finals (in Week 1 and 2 respectively), and two more clubs are looking to join them. The winner of Week 3’s tournament, plus a wild-card team with the best combined record from three weeks of play, will compete for the ultimate crown on April 24.
Of course, should Ottawa or Forge win again this week, it’ll be the losing finalist that advances alongside the wildcard team.
As it stands, FC Edmonton and HFX Wanderers FC look like they could be in the mix for the wild card spot, although Pacific FC and Valour FC are very much alive in that sense, as well.
It’d be tougher for York9 FC or Cavalry FC to get through based on overall record, though, so they’ll likely both need to win Week 3 outright to qualify for the finals.
Here’s how things stand heading into Week 3:
“I think everybody involved is enjoying it at the moment,” Valour FC representative Dylan Carreiro told CanPL.ca.
Carreiro’s side has just one win from the two weeks, beating Forge in Week 1 but falling at the hands of Pacific FC in the first round of Week 2. That wasn’t for lack of effort on Carreiro’s part, however; although his matchup with Pacific wasn’t streamed last week, he assured CanPL.ca that it was a heated one, especially the second leg between himself and former Valour teammate Marco Bustos.
“I went into the second leg down 6-1 against Marco,” Carreiro said, explaining that it was his esports teammate, Doxy6ix, who faltered in the tie. “I ended up beating (Bustos) 4-1, just couldn’t get a couple more goals into the series.”
He added: “There’s a lot of competition between the players, especially myself and Marco, just because before the tournament even happened we would play on a weekly basis.”
Bustos didn’t divulge during the stream of his semifinal against Forge that he’d lost to Carreiro, which made the latter laugh.
“He didn’t want to mention that, but at the end he asked the right question and that was if I was in the next round; obviously I wasn’t,” Carreiro said. “His teammate’s done a job for him.”
Carreiro also revealed that he plans on playing as the Netherlands for the second week in a row, preferring to stray away from players’ usual (read: boring) choice of France.
On the other side of the bracket, Cavalry FC representative (and goalkeeper) Niko Giantsopoulos is looking for his first win of the competition, having lost to Atlético Ottawa in Week 1 and FC Edmonton in Week 2.
“I didn’t know how I’d size up against other players,” Giantsopoulos admitted. “I guess I found out pretty early when I played Malyk (Hamilton, Atlético Ottawa) that my skill probably wasn’t the best, but I had a lot of fun.
“And then I got my butt kicked the first game,” he added, recounting his 5-1 loss to the eventual Week 1 champion. “Second week I tried bouncing back, did a bit more practicing leading up to it. I thought I was the better played (against FCE’s Erik Zetterberg.”
Even still, Giantsopoulos is wary of some of the more experienced players.
“I’m not trying to go up against (Christian) Oxner,” he quipped. “That guy has a whole room dedicated to video games.”
This time around, Giantsopoulos and Cavalry take on Forge FC, and their CPLer Kwame Awuah. The latter has admitted that he’s not as experienced as some of the other players, although his pro teammate GoalMachine took him to the Week 2 title.
“I like to imagine we’re on a level playing field,” Giantsopoulos said. “I’m more concerned that I at least score a goal this week, that’s my goal. Then if I get the win that’d be extra.”
He’s pretty sure he can handle Awuah, but he’ll need his teammate Stopde’s help.
“My pro’s gotta step it up, this guy’s struggling for me.”
As usual, Friday’s event features CPLers facing off against each other, with FIFA 20 pros playing as well in the two-legged ties.