E-League 2020 is almost upon and – for the first time – 22 gamers representing 11 Hyundai A-League clubs will clash in the pursuit of glory, silverware and precious FIFA 20 Global Series points.
In what is a season of firsts, three pulsating events of non-stop FIFA 20 action will determine the winners, losers, Premiers and Champions – starting with the much-anticipated Match Day 1 at ESL Studios in Sydney on Saturday, 15 February.
Six rounds of E-League action will play out in the Harbour City to shape the standings for the final assault on the Finals Series on Saturday, 7 March – and these are the five most mouth-watering fixtures to look out for in a bumper, kick-off extravaganza.
Round 1 - Perth Glory v Melbourne City
Melbourne City’s esports stars have had a long time to dwell on their losing effort in the E-League 2019 Grand Final and Marcus Gomes and Saisanas will be hell bent on returning to winning ways fast in 2020.
The sticking point may be that Australia’s first professional gamer Gomes will come up against an opponent in Round 1 that knows his Xbox style inside out – his own younger brother Dillion Henriques-Gomes, aka FUTWIZ Dillon.
Hailed as one of Australia’s brightest young gamers, the 18-year-old makes his E-League debut and attempts to step out of the shadow of the older sibling that jetted to the FIFA Global Series Grand Final in London last year and represented his nation in the FIFA eWorld Cup 2019.
Round 1 – Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix
Behold the Honey Badger. The Kiwi Playstation sensation that took the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 by storm – finishing fifth – makes his return down under in the E-League 2020.
Tundra Sports' Harry Blakemore is highly accomplished in the esports world and pulls on the jersey of Wellington Phoenix alongside fellow countryman Airbrn_ with the aim of taking the E-League title back across the ditch.
That quest begins against the Brisbane Roar, and NaylorAU, in Round 1 where Honey Badger will no doubt be determined to send a message of intent to all of his Australian rivals around the E-League.
Round 2 – Western Sydney Wanderers v Western United
Before Western United kicked off their first ever Hyundai A-League match, fans of opponents Wellington Phoenix unveiled a banner which read ‘1 thief, 3 traitors’ in reference to the coach and players that jumped ship to the competition’s newest club.
Kiwi fans may need to update the number on that banner as former Phoenix gamer N8_Cenk takes his bow as a foundation player for the new Western United E-League side.
Sponsored by N8 Esports Organisation, the Green and Black are fielding a strong tandem for their inaugural E-League season. Omer Cenk and 16-year-old prodigy NB Dylan, Dylan Campbell, will seek to make history in Western United’s first ever E-League match against Western Sydney Wanderers after their Round 1 bye.
Round 3 – Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory
Melbourne Victory livewire Mouad Zwed electrified the E-League in Round 4 of 2019 when he scored the E-League’s quickest ever ‘El Tornado’ goal within 10 seconds in a 9-4 win against against Brisbane Roar.
It would be impressive to see Mouad pull of an outrageous trick like that on a gamer of the calibre of Perth Glory’s Xbox supremo SARGE - considered one of the competition’s best defenders – who will no doubt serve up a big test of the Victory stalwart’s versatility in Round 3.
The 2019 E-League Premiership winner has played the previous two E-League seasons on the PS4 for Victory so three rounds should be a strong gauge of how equipped the ‘virtual Leigh Broxham’ is to compete for silverware following a console switch in 2020.
Round 4 – Sydney FC v Melbourne City
It’s the skirmish we have all been waiting for – the Grand Final rematch from 2019 that will pit two of the E-League’s leading contenders head-to-head to lay down a marker of dominance in 2020.
The two-time Champions bolstered their ranks in the Xbox One department for this season, recruiting FUTWIZ Jamie to pull on the Sky Blue jersey. The brother of crosstown rivals Western Sydney Wanderers’ midfielder Jamie will be desperate to make a name in his new colours against established global superstar Marcus Gomes.
Over on the PS4, FUTWIZ Marko aka Marko Brijeski – the man who lifted the E-League 2019 trophy – will not relent in his pursuit for greatness. The Penrith native, recently ranked second in the Rest of the World region, repped the Green and Gold for Australia at the FIFA eWorld Cup 2019 and will aim to set the benchmark once again in a crunch clash against Saisanas.