FC Cincinnati’s Gordon “Fiddle” Thornsberry won two matches on penalty kicks, then beat the New York Red Bulls’ George “Adamou” Adamou 3-1 in the final of eMLS League Series One on Friday in Philadelphia.
The event featured a $7,500 first prize plus 2020 eMLS standings points for all competitors.
“Coming into the weekend, everyone can say they want to win, and I mean it,” Fiddle said in a postmatch interview. “I tried to show it today. Resiliency, I came back twice in one game, won two (penalty) shootouts. Could have gone really wrong, but I guess it went really right.”
Fiddle expressed relief over winning his first eMLS trophy.
“I can’t lie, I think about it a lot,” he said. “There was three chances last year. I think I underperformed, so coming into this year, I put everything into this tournament. I’m glad to see it actually pay off.”
As for how he will spend his prize money, Fiddle said, “I’m probably going to splash on some more McDonald’s than usual, maybe get myself a frappe. Who knows?”
In the first semifinal, Fiddle erased a two-goal, extra-time deficit and beat the Vancouver Whitecaps’s Alex “Exraa” Gonzalez 4-3 on penalty kicks after a 4-4 tie.
Adamou got a goal in the 42nd second minute of the second semifinal and held on for a 1-0 win over New York City FC’s Chris “Didychrislito” Holly.
In the quarterfinals, Adamou knocked out defending champion Cormac “doolsta” Dooley of Nashville SC 2-1, and Exraa edged LAFC’s Martin “RemiMartinn” Oregel 2-1
Fiddle topped Atlanta United’s Paulo Neto 2-0 in a shootout after they played to a 1-1 draw. Neto is a 16-year-old Brazilian. The other quarterfinal match saw Didychrislito rout the Philadelphia Union’s representative, former Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi.
The event was the first of the season’s three eMLS tournaments, with League Series Two to come next month at Portland, Ore., and eMLS Cup in March at Austin, Texas.
—Field Level Media