Cappelletti and Harrison near knockout round qualification
The Lower League eCup shifts into high gear this Friday, April 24th as Lane United FC’s representatives enter their final two matches of the group stage.
The Lower League eCup is a virtual soccer competition that uses EA Sports’ FIFA 20 game to pit 120 lower league soccer clubs against each other across PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One platforms.
Lane United Head Coach Conner Cappelletti competes in the Xbox portion of the event, while Equipment Manager August Harrison is in the PS4 competition. Both LUFC players compete using Nottingham Forest, as drawn by tournament organizers.
Results So Far
As of Thursday night, Cappelletti holds the third position out of five Group J teams in the Xbox competition with a 1-2-0 record. (The top four teams from each Xbox group will advance to the knockout stage.) After winning the first match by forfeit, the Reds’ skipper has narrowly lost his last two.
“Unfortunately I have lost the two games I actually got to play,” said Cappelletti. “But they were entertaining given I was able to really pad my stats with loads of possession and shots each game.”
As far as FIFA matches go, few were more entertaining than Coach Capp’s back-and-forth battle against Dallas Soccer Alliance last Saturday. Despite the 4-3 loss, Cappelletti is “confident moving forward,” having dominated the stat sheet in all areas but one.
Harrison has fared slightly better in the early going. His first two matches were both wins, including a 10-2 thrashing in the opener. “I would say my first match was a lot of fun,” said Harrison. “I was up by 4 goals in the first 10 minutes so it took a lot of pressure off and I was able to just play my way.”
Despite falling 4-2 to group leaders Milwaukee Bavarians SC last Thursday, Harrison is currently seated in the second spot out of six in the PS4 Group I. (The top three teams from each PS4 group will advance to the knockout round.) He also scored one of the tournament’s most impressive goals in the second half.
To view the full updated standings for the Lower League eCup, be sure to visit lowerleagueecup.soccershift.com.
August has already qualified and Conner is listed as being “On Track” to make the knockout stages in the Lower League eCup’s latest Bracketology update. After the group stage, each competition goes to a straight 48-team knockout.
Both competitors have expressed their enthusiasm about representing Lane United on the virtual pitch. As Cappelletti put it, “There’s definitely some pride at stake in regards to representing Lane United FC in this tourney,” also citing fan engagement as another major motivator for his performance: “I think [LUFC fans] definitely enjoy seeing the games and following the tourney... while they know it’s just a video game, there is an aspect of this that connects us all.”
“[The competition] really means a lot to me,” added Harrison. “After working for Lane United last year, I really felt a sense of pride for the Reds and being able to actually represent them is a whole other level.”
The fans are taking notice as well. At a time when most fans are stuck inside with no live traditional sports to root for, the eCup provides an outlet for interaction between clubs and their supporters.
“Lane United’s been doing a lot of stuff to keep spirits high and keep people active, particularly as the season’s been suspended,” said Max Foxman—an avid Reds fan and game studies professor at the University of Oregon. “There’s something really great about being able to watch a game on a Saturday like I normally would...and the competition has been really good,” said Foxman, who added that watching the eCup actually inspired him to buy FIFA himself.
August’s next group stage match is on Friday, April 24th at 7pm PT against San Antonio Runners SC. He will immediately be followed by Conner at 7:30pm, who faces TCA FC Lionhearts SG. Both matches are crucial, as each player will finish the group stage on Friday, May 1st.
All Lower League eCup matches are broadcast on Twitch. Follow @LaneUnitedFC on Twitter to get notified with links to each LUFC match as they happen.
- Charlie Folkestad