Atlanta United advances to the Lower Bracket Semifinal in the FGS TOTS Cup

LONDON – Atlanta United came into Championship Sunday of the FIFA Global Series (FGS) Team of the Season Cup (TOTS) as the only eSports team from a football-soccer organization still alive in the competition. Fellow MLS club Houston Dynamo was eliminated in Round 1 of the Lower Bracket on Saturday, same as Dutch club AFC Ajax, while CF Montréal lost in Round 1 of the Upper Bracket; Italian Inter eSports, from Inter Milan, were eliminated on Friday in the Group Stage.

Paulo Neto and Vini Leiva, ATL UTD gamer duo, made Sunday’s final day of the competition via the Upper Bracket by defeating favorites Excel eSports, from England, 1-0, and Argentinians Krü eSports by 3-0.

Only six teams out of 32 made it to Championship Sunday, four in the Upper Bracket semifinals and two in the Lower Bracket semifinals. The winers of the Upper Bracket matches will go on to the final, while the other two teams will fill the remaining spots in the Lower Bracket semifinal match-ups to later have two finals, one in each bracket. The winners of each final play the Grand Final for a chance to earn a direct spot in the FIFAe Club World Cup and $100 thousand.

The Upper Bracket, nicknamed the “winners’ bracket”, includes teams who topped their corresponding group in the first stage of the competition played on Friday. The Lower Bracket included the teams that finished third in their groups and has been added the teams that lose their matches in the Upper Bracket since the knockout-rounds started on Saturday.

Semifinals – Upper Bracket

Atlanta United faced Mkers Sweden in the semifinals of the Upper Bracket, the team that had scored the most amount of goals throughout the competition. It was a match that it all from beginning to end in both legs.

Paulo and Vini scored first surprising their opponents in the 23th minute of the first leg, by combining their players very well inside the box. A few minutes later, however, luck did not favor ATL UTD as a pass back to the goalkeeper ended up with an own goal.

The game continued to be extremely two-sided as both teams tried to score to take an advantage for the second leg, but were not successful until the 90th minute, when Mkers managed to score a late winner due to some space left in the back by ATLUTD. Mkers Sweden won the first leg 2-1.

Confidence did not die down on Paulo and Vini and they came into the second leg fired up to tie the series. A goal in the 10th minute gave ATL UTD a boost of energy needed to continue their path into the Upper Bracket.

Mkers tied the game a few minutes later after another mistake from ATL UTD in the back, but just before halftime Paulo and Vini tied the series once more time with once again great coordination in their rivals’ box. After Mkers scored another goal in the second half to take the lead 4-3 in the series, Atlanta went full on attack mode and had five clear chances that were either shut down by Mkers’ goalkeeper or lacked shooting power to score, including three consecutive corner kicks in added time.

With the result, Mkers Sweden advances to the Final of the Upper Bracket, while Atlanta United gets sent to the Lower Bracket where they will face DUX Gaming from Spain.

Quarterfinals – Lower Bracket

Atlanta United continued to their promising run in the FGS TOTS Cup against DUX Gaming from Spain, one of the top 5 teams in the world.

The first half of the first leg was a possession game, just as if we were witnessing a live-action match between the best national team versions of Spain and Brazil. Different to their real-life counterparts, however, DUX Gaming and ATL UTD did not produce any high impact chances in the first period of the match.

Atlanta reacted quickly in the second half and scored the first goal from an open play finding a player near the top of the box through the left in the 52nd minute.

Since then, Paulo and Vini dominated the match and in the 58th minute a one-two between the virtual version of Pelé and Kylian Mbappé found the back of the net for the second goal of the match. Just when things seemed to be over with a 2-0 lead in the first leg, Atlanta took advantage of a free kick in added time to score a third after a scramble inside the box by DUX.

The momentum continued into the second leg and luck struck in Atlanta United’s favor when a long-range shot from outside the box bounced off the post and fell into an ATL UTD player for an easy tap-in. The match continued on with Atlanta controlling the possession and generating a few more chance than DUX who tried to make formation changes with thirty (virtual) minutes to go before the final whistle.

Paulo and Vini reacted to DUX’s arrangements and quickly found the back of the net once more in the 64th minute, killing off a counter attack by their opponent. DUX could not recover from that goal and close to the end of the match, Atlanta scored a sixth goal to wrap up the series where they were far more superior than their opponent.

Atlanta United won 6-0 on aggregate and now advances to the Lower Bracket Semifinal where they will play New Zealand’s Dire Wolves, and secures a top 4 finish in the tournament.

The winner of the Lower Bracket Semifinal will play the losing team of the Upper Bracket Final (Mkers Sweden and Team Heretics), for a chance to qualify to the FGS TOTS Cup Grand Final, the trophy and $100 thousand.

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