eMLS Cup: PhilB94 finishes 2nd, advances to playoffs

Philb94 at eMLS Cup

Boston – The inaugural eMLS cup is underway at PAX East in Boston and Toronto FC’s Phillip “Philb94” Balke is competing for the coveted title of eMLS Champion.

eMLS is a four-day FIFA 18 tournament featuring athletes representing 19 MLS clubs. The 19 players were divided into the Eastern and Western Conference. They compete in a “regular season” consisting of 16 matches in the East and 18 matches in the West. Players played their conference foes twice. The top eight teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs.

Phil was signed as Toronto FC’s first ever eSports player back in February. The 23-year-old from Woodbridge was a finalist at the 2017 FIFA Interactive World Cup as Canada’s representative.

Putting 🖊 to 📃

Toronto FC sign @PhilB94_ as our #eMLS athlete.

Welcome Phil! pic.twitter.com/5E2pCTKnr1

— Toronto FC (@torontofc) February 13, 2018

Phil started his eMLS Cup journey on Thursday with a slate of six matches. He played Orlando, Columbus, and Chicago. Phil came out of day one with a 1-2-3 record and six points.

“The [regular season] was tough for me the first day, “ said Balke on Friday, “I came in with two draws and two losses. I started kind of nervous but being a good player you know you have to overcome the nerves."

Phil hit his grove on day two as he opened up with a pair of victories over the player from the New England Revolution. He then split his two games with the New York Red Bull’s player. He played to a pair of draws against the Montreal Impact representative.

90th minute WINNER!! ☝️

2 wins to start the day for @PhilB94_ 💪💪#eMLSCuppic.twitter.com/PZMSfIvGAe

— Toronto FC (@torontofc) April 6, 2018

Working his way back up the standings, Phil’s penultimate matchup was against one of the tournament favourites Chris Holly from NYCFC. Phil took it to “didychrislito” winning both games by scores of 3-2 and 3-1.

With his confidence, riding high Phil closed out the day with a win and a draw against the Philadelphia Union. All and all Phil finished up the regular season with a 7-3-6 record finishing in second place in the Eastern Conference.

Sebaaaaa! ☝️

Jusssst over the line.@PhilB94_ splits his two matches vs. NYRB at #eMLSCuppic.twitter.com/QpMTPcbPZF

— Toronto FC (@torontofc) April 6, 2018

“Today was big. I picked up six wins and that put me into second place in the Eastern Conference so I have that place locked down heading into the knockout rounds,” explained Balke.

The playoffs begin tomorrow with things getting underway at 1:00 PM on Twitch.TV. Phil will take on Mike LaBelle from the New York Red Bulls. The two split their matches on Friday with LaBelle winning the first game 2-1 and Phil taking the second 6-2.

The playoffs are a single elimination knockout format. The winners of the Eastern and Western conference will battle it out to be crowned eMLS Champion on Sunday afternoon.

Moving on.

👀 on the 🏆

Tomorrow at 1:00 PM on https://t.co/7RyCS7351Kpic.twitter.com/Z7NbMzgNOP

— Toronto FC (@torontofc) April 6, 2018

The competition will also shift to the PAX Stage with matches being played in front of a crowd of upwards of 500 people.

“I’ve been on big stages before, like in London at the World Cup and for me its just another event,” said Balke, “but this time I want to win it all and bring the eMLS Cup back home to Toronto.”