eMLS Cup 2021 preview: The Favorite, One to Watch & Dark Horse

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The 2021 field for eMLS Cup is stacked with exciting talents and former champions, but who will come out on top? We’ve picked three players you simply can’t ignore when it kicks off on March 20. 

A dozen of North America’s best FIFA 21 players will square off in the hopes of claiming the final bit of glory of the eMLS season as eMLS Cup 2021 is up for grabs. 

The final spot on the season calendar offers up a $40,000, an impressive gold trophy, and immortality in the eMLS history books. 

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The bracket is littered with past champions and hungry upstarts, each as talented as the other. But, who is the favorite destined to win it all? Who is the one you need to keep an eye on? And who could slip under the radar but still knock off the big dogs? Well, we’ve picked three players you need to be watching this weekend. 

Our Favorite: Didychrislito

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Didychrislito is our favorite for eMLS Cup 2021.

Despite finishing fourth in the eMLS regular season, Chris ‘Didychrislito’ Holly is arguably in the best form of his life. The New York City FC representative has bagged wins in both eMLS League Series One and Series Two finals, dispatching everyone in his path with relative ease. 

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In the Series Two finals, he only conceded four goals prior to the grand finals while scoring 15 of his own. The grand final wasn’t as easy, as DC United’s KingCJO proved to be a tough nut to crack, but Chris ultimately came out on top with a 5-4 victory. 

Winning eMLS Cup 2021 would be the crowning achievement of the year for the NYC FC man, and with his attacking prowess, it’s hard to see past him completing his own personal treble in dominant fashion. He’s certainly our favorite to take the crown from defending champion George Adamou, who represents New York Red Bulls. 

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Hear more about his story below. 

One to watch: ⁠xbLeU

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xbLeU is our One to Watch heading into eMLS Cup.

Austin FC’s John ‘xbLeU’ Garcia finished atop the eMLS regular-season standings, though it’s tournament play that has been his downfall. The 25-year-old finished the regular season with a whopping positive 45 goal difference, but he’s failed to make it happen when it matters most. 

Each time he’s stepped into bracket play, he’s failed to go further than the semi-finals, losing in heavy defeats to Didychrislito each time.

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He is, though, a force to be reckoned with. As Series Two showed, Austin FC’s pro can cut through defenses with stunning through balls, but he can just as easily shop on the other end, too. John will have a chance if he can break his semi-finals hoodoo. 

Hear more about his story below. 

The Dark Horse: Doolsta

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Doolsta is our Dark Horse for eMLS Cup.

Longtime eMLS fans know Cormac ‘Doolsta’ Dooley’s talent – he won eMLS Cup 2019 after all – but he’s a dark horse this year. Why? Well, he’s got to overcome two of the best in the game before even getting to the semi-finals.

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If the Irish star, who is representing Nashville SC this time around, can get past Chicago Fire’s Kid M3Mito in the relegation round, he’d move on to play reigning champion G_Adamou. It’s a gauntlet, to say the very least. 

Though, if he does overcome it, he’ll be riding a wave of momentum that could propel him to glory. Should a final be reached, Dooley will be able to use that winning experience of two years ago to help, but it’s a tough road to walk before he even gets close. That’s why we’ve named him the dark horse. 

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Hear more about his story below. 

All three players will be in action during eMLS Cup’s later stages, given they’ve already qualified thanks to their regular season performances. They didn’t have to compete in the Last Chance Qualifier. 

Their games will begin on Saturday, March 20, and you can follow along with all the action through our dedicated hub, here and across social media – @UltimateTeamUK, @FutWatch, @eMLS.

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