eMLS 2022 Championship

Atlanta United's Paulo Neto advances to the FIFAe World Cup Qualifiers

It was no easy task, but Paulo got it done.

Representing Atlanta United, Paulo Neto, the current eMLS Cup champion, has qualified to the final rounds of the FIFA Global Series (FGS) Playoffs.

Some of the top 128 FIFA gamers around the world got together Thursday in London, England, to compete in the FGS Playoffs, the first worldwide 1v1 event since the Covid-19 pandemic started. Although half of them left the competition early, the other 64 have advanced to the final rounds where they will compete for a spot in the FIFAe World Cup, which will take place later this month.

Paulo Neto and Vini Leiva, Atlanta United's Brazilian eSports team presented by Perficient, were among the 128 gamers, seven of which were representing an MLS club. Neto managed to win three of his five match ups which was enough to go through to the final rounds.

On Round 1, Neto had a convincing win 5-0 over German gamer DullenMIKE from team NEO, and then went on to lose in dramatic fashion by a score of 6-5 against Danish TeamHajj01. However, Paulo recovered his form and defeated another player from Denmark, Blazek who represents Danish soccer club Brøndby, by 4-3.

For the third round, Neto faced Kuromame from Japan, a gamer with CYCLOPS athlete gaming. The first leg was heavily contested and the Brazilian won 4-3 with a last minute goal, but in the second leg he was more composed and beat Kuromame by 4-1, securing his place in the final rounds that will be played between Saturday and Sunday.

Even though they were both already qualified, Neto faced fellow Brazilian Edson28 from CM E-Sports looking for a fourth win which would help in the seeding for the final rounds. With a first leg tied 2-2, Paulo forced an extra time in the second leg but unfortunately fell 5-4, for a 7-6 aggregate, to cap up the night.

Paulo will now play again on Sunday against the other 63 best gamers in the world, looking for a spot in the FIFAe World Cup, the most prestigious FIFA tournament in the world, where only the top 32 will participate. The Qualifiers will consist on a double elimination format, and Neto was seeded on Group 3 where he will first face Pinna97 who plays for Belgian soccer club Genk, in a sort of Round of 16 match-up.

On the other hand the other gamer representing Atlanta United, Vini Leiva, fell in three of his four match ups, preventing him from advancing to the final rounds on the weekend. Vini only won one match and because of that could only play a fifth match and was eliminated from the competition.

If Paulo finishes in the top 32 over the weekend, he will qualify to the FIFAe World Cup representing Atlanta United, a first for both him and the club. Tune in to Atlanta United's Twitch channel and follow all the action on our social media accounts.

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