Rookie Niklas “NR7” Raseck of St. Louis City defeated Paulo “Paulo Neto” Roberto Xavier de Brito Neto of Atlanta United in the final to claim the eMLS Cup crown 9-6 on Sunday in Austin, Texas.
After the teams tied in the first leg 4-4, fourth-seeded NR7 dominated the second leg 5-2 to win the title in his first season. Paulo Neto was the second seed.
The final was played in two legs, while all other games were in a single leg. After the top 11 teams were determined in two qualifying series, the other teams took part in the Last Chance Qualifier on Saturday to decide the 12th entrant.
NR7 reached the final by defeating the top seed, Ehsan “Lamps” Zakeri of Minnesota United, 1-0 (3-3, 3-2) in the semifinal. Paulo Neto dominated the sixth seed, Alix “LOUX11” Largerie of CF Montreal, in the other semifinal, winning 2-0 (4-2, 2-1).
“I really wanted to win that game,” NR7 said on Sunday in a video interview posted on the eMLS Twitter account. “I was really nervous before this game. I was playing really bad at the beginning. I was down really quickly and then luckily it bounced back so I’m really happy.”
Paulo Neto and NR7 each won their quarterfinal matches 2-0. Paulo Neto disposed of 10th-seeded John “xVerde” Bitsoe Garcia of Austin FC, while NR7 eliminated No. 5 Mohamed “KingCJ0” Alioune Diop of D.C. United.
Lamps defeated rookie Luis “VillaMore3” Fernando Villaneuva of the LA Galaxy, the eighth seed, and LOUX11 knocked off third-seeded Joksan “Joksan” Redona of Nashville SC in the other quarterfinal 1-0.
In Sunday’s first round, LOUX11 finished off the 11th seed, Alan “AlanAvi” Avila of FC Dallas 3-1; xVerde defeated seventh-seeded Nawid “Goal Machine” Noorzai of Toronto FC 3-1; VillaMore3 edged ninth-seeded George “GAdamou10” Adamou of the Seattle Sounders 2-1; and KingCJ10 emerged with a 2-1 victory over Thiago “ThiagoCapo12” Vazquez of the Philadelphia, who won Saturday’s Last Chance Qualifier to enter as the No. 12 seed.
–Field Level Media