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Toronto FC professional FIFA player ‘PhilB94’ feeling good ahead of 2020 eMLS Cup

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After qualifying for the final 12, the TFC pro gamer will rely heavily on his Alejandro Pozuelo card Sunday in order to navigate through a difficult field to the Cup.

Toronto FC professional FIFA 20 player Phil “PhilB94” Balke competes at the eMLS League Series Two in Portland.
(Ryan Griffin/MLSE Esports)

TORONTO, Canada—The 2020 eMLS Cup concludes on Sunday and Toronto FC professional FIFA player PhilB94 is feeling confident heading into the final event of the season.

One of 12 competitors remaining in the 25-team tournament, the local Toronto-native automatically earned a spot in Sunday’s final bracket thanks to a strong 2020 season, which included two top-eight finishes.

“I’m feeling good heading into the eMLS Cup,” PhilB94 told Waking the Red. “I’ve been playing a bunch of scrimmages against other pro players. Obviously, I would’ve loved to play the event in-person, on a LAN connection, but due to COVID-19, we’ll have to play it online.”

Originally scheduled to take place on March 15 in Austin, Texas, players will instead compete remotely this weekend for a shot at the 2020 eMLS Cup and $20,000 USD.

Toronto FC’s PhilB94, who is considered by many to be a dark horse to potentially win the whole tournament, will need to overcome a difficult draw if he wants to capture the crown.

In his first matchup, the TFC gamer will face Doolsta, Nashville SC’s pro FIFA 20 player who completed “the treble” last season by winning all three eMLS tournaments while representing the Philadelphia Union. Doolsta hasn’t found the same type of success with his new side, finishing just 17th in the League Series Two.

Awaiting the winner of Doolsta and PhilB94 will be Atlanta United’s Paulo Neto, the highest globally-ranked FIFA player in the league. Fans may remember Paulo Neto from the eMLS Tournament Special, which aired at the beginning of May on TSN.

Teaming up with midfielder Marky Delgado to represent Toronto FC in a 16-team tournament, PhilB94 would once again make it to the final eight of the competition, where he’d find himself in a heated, toe-to-toe match with the Atlanta United pro. With TFC leading by one goal, Paulo Neto would stage a late comeback to put him and his partner (Franco Escobar) through to the semifinals, where they’d eventually go on to win the tournament.

Paulo Neto also ousted the TFC gamer in the quarter-finals of League Series Two, so we know it won’t be an easy path to reach the final. However, PhilB94 is hoping that a rule tweak—and his secret weapon—will help propel him to victory on Sunday.

New to the eMLS Cup in 2020, competitors will only be able to use MLS players, as opposed to their selection of legends and stars from all over the world.

“I’m excited to be using a full MLS team, instead of the old way which involved the typical (Lionel) Messi/(Cristiano) Ronaldo-type teams,” said PhilB94. “This format provides a unique watching experience for the viewers, and I hope Alejandro Pozuelo, who I will be using as my striker, takes me to the promise land!”

It’s worth noting that FC Cincinnati’s Fiddle will be going for “the treble” on Sunday after winning the two previous events this season. He is on the other side of the bracket with the other Canadian in the tournament, Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Exraa.

Fans can tune in to the tournament starting at 1 p.m. EST on the league’s Twitch channel, as a winner will be crowned on Sunday. Will it be the TFC pro gamer?