After close to two months without soccer, fans will get the chance to see FC Dallas in competitive action on a national broadcast in Sunday’s eMLS Tournament Special on FS1.
eMLS is in its third season. A league-operated series of competitions surrounding EA Sports’ FIFA 20. Each club is represented by a leading player typically played in the game’s FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) mode. FUT involves building a roster through earning or purchasing coins and card packs. eMLS tournaments typically include a quota of players from within MLS as well as the team the player is representing.
The eMLS Tournament Special is centered entirely around the existing rosters as FC Dallas’ eMLS player, Ihab “i9Ibbs” Abualneel.
Ihab and FC Dallas winger Fafa Picault take control of the FC Dallas roster in a virtual Texas Derby. Picault will play Houston’s Memo Rodriguez before i9Ibbs takes on the Dynamo’s eMLS player, Kid M3mito. Should the aggregate score be tied after the two legs, the MLS pros will play to a golden goal.
Week three of the eMLS Tournament Special pits New York Red Bulls against New York City before FC Dallas takes on Houston Dynamo. The winners of the two rivalry games will then face off in the quarter final stage to finish off the two-hour program.
FC Dallas’ MLS practices have been derailed by the novel Coronavirus since MLS shut down on March 12, but i9Ibbs and Picault have been able to practice through online play with the former Philadelphia Union player impressing FCD’s FIFA pro.
“He was doing some stuff that I wouldn’t expect someone to be doing unless they were elite caliber,” said Abualneel. “I’m very excited about him being my teammate. I feel like me and him can definitely go far.”
The first two weeks saw LAFC and Sporting Kansas City advance to the semi-finals. SKC demolished Minnesota United 6-0 and DC United 5-0. LAFC won a virtual El Trafico in their first game as Adama Diomande beat Chicharito Hernandez in a battle of LA’s strikers.
The Black and Gold coasted past Chicago Fire in the final. The Fire had earlier surprised FC Cincinnati with their two-time eMLS event winner FCC Fiddle, as well as Kendall Waston who famously prepared for the 2018 FIFA World Cup by playing it on FIFA 18.
While Luchi Gonzalez employs more of a possession-based style with FC Dallas, i9Ibbs is planning to hark back to the Oscar Pareja era using a counter attack built on speedy wing play against the winner of the first eMLS Cup.
“I try to keep my pace on the outside with [Michael] Barrios and Fafa [Picault], and then [Jesus] Ferreira up top because he has the four-star weak foot,” explained Abualneel. “I feel like weak foot is very important because if you have three-star or below, your opponent is going to know ‘Okay, he’s not really going to want to go to his weak foot’. With four-star and above you’re very unpredictable.”
While you’re getting ready for Sunday’s event at 6pm on FS1, you can watch i9Ibbs warm up with his chosen striker, Jesus Ferreira, on a Twitch broadcast.Watch CO-OP SEASONS WITH Jesus Ferreira! from i9Ibbs on www.twitch.tv