It all comes down to this. The eCPL Home To Play tournament has reached its final stage, with four Canadian Premier League clubs left to fight for the competition’s ultimate championship.
Since they can’t compete on the football pitch due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CPL teams have taken to their video game consoles to duke it out in FIFA 20. Each team is represented by a real-life CPL player and one of Canada’s top FIFA gamers in the eCPL Home To Play Finals. This Friday, top seed Atlético Ottawa faces Forge FC in one semifinal, while the other semifinal features HFX Wanderers FC vs. FC Edmonton.
Atlético and Forge qualified for the finals by winning individual weeks (Ottawa won both Week 1 and Week 3), while HFX Wanderers and FC Edmonton advanced as wild card teams due to their strong records throughout the competition.
The favourite to come out of the tournament with the crown has to be Atlético Ottawa, who has lost just once over the course of the tournament (a close 3-2 result in extra time in the Week 2 semifinals). They’re represented by Malyk Hamilton and pro FIFA player Agitpower, both of whom have done well against their opposite numbers throughout.
“To be honest, I didn’t know this at the time but I found out that Agit’s one of the top players in Canada, so I would say the majority of the props goes to him,” Hamilton told CanPL.ca.
“But I haven’t lost yet in the tournament, I think I’m the only player who hasn’t lost yet. … If he can just get a win, I don’t think I’m that bad to the point that someone will absolutely smash me.”
ROAD TO THE eCPL HOME TO PLAY FINALS: Week 1 recap || Week 2 recap || Week 3 recap
Indeed, Ottawa’s only loss came when Agit fell 2-0 to Edmonton’s FIFA pro, SibWolf, after Hamilton had earned a 2-1 lead in Leg 1 vs. FCE’s Erik Zetterberg.
Hamilton still leans on his teammate for advice, though, having picked his brain for tips on several occasions.
“Agit knows what he’s doing,” Hamilton said. “Funny story though, one time I actually did listen to the tactics he gave me and I actually implemented them, it was against (HFX goalkeeper Christian Oxner) in the final the first week.
“He told me to change my formation from what I’d been using, and change the tactics up a bit, and I was actually down 2-1 at halftime because of that. I changed back to what I was doing and I ended up winning the game 3-2.”
RELATED READING: eCPL Home To Play Finals: Hosts rate CPLers’ skills, dissect storylines
So, perhaps Hamilton need not tinker too much with what’s been working for him.
This week’s tournament will be the last installment of eCPL Home To Play. Hamilton, for one, will be sad to see it end, saying it’s been a good way to keep in touch with fellow CPLers from other clubs.
“We get to play everyone, build connections throughout the league,” he said. “There’s some guys that I never would’ve probably spoken to from other teams without this; I look forward to it every Friday.”
Hamilton and Atlético Ottawa fans will be hoping that, at the very least, they emerge from the final week with the title.
The eCPL Home To Play Finals will be broadcast live on Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube, through the Canadian Premier League’s official platforms. It’ll be hosted, as always, by FIFA personalities Mike Labelle and Chu ‘ChuBoi’ Mora, and it kicks off at 6 p.m. ET on Friday, April 24.