Midfielder Marky Delgado showed off his video game skills Sunday, helping lead Toronto FC to a 4-0 aggregate win over the Vancouver Whitecaps in the eMLS Tournament Special.
But the esports celebrations were short-lived as a late goal by Josef Martinez ended TFC’s run in a 3-2 Atlanta United aggregate win over two games. It was a measure of virtual revenge for Atlanta, which lost 2-1 to visiting Toronto in the 2019 Eastern Conference final.
Delgado tied Atlanta’s Argentine defender Franco Escobar 1-1 in their opening matchup. But TFC pro gamer Phil (PhilB94) Balke lost 2-1 to 17-year-old Brazilian Paulo Neto, his Atlanta counterpart, on Martinez’s 84th-minute strike.
WATCH | Atlanta eliminates TFC in eMLS quarters with late strike from Josef Martinez:
Atlanta dispatched Orlando City SC 4-0 on aggregate earlier Sunday to set up the Toronto showdown.
Atlanta advances to face New York City FC on March 17 in one semifinal. Los Angeles FC plays Sporting Kansas City in the other semifinal.
TFC’s Delgado defeats Godoy’s Whitecaps
The eMLS Tournament Special started April 19 with 16 teams, each fielding a player and esports representative. All the matches have been played remotely with the MLS and eMLS players competing from home.
With Delgado at the controls, the virtual Delgado scored as Toronto blanked Vancouver 3-0 with Whitecaps defender Erik Godoy at the helm in the esports matchup using EA Sports’ FIFA game.
WATCH | Marky Delgado scores an ‘own goal’:
Balke then edged Alex (Exraa) Gonzalez-Aldana, his Vancouver counterpart, 1-0 to complete the 4-0 aggregate victory.
“He’s talented. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Balke said of Delgado.
MLS Works, the league’s social responsibility platform, and Fox Sports are making donations to Feeding America, with MLS also supporting Food Banks Canada as part of the tournament.