Paulo Neto gets third straight title, wins eMLS Series 2

Two weeks after Atlanta United’s Paulo “Paulo Neto” Neto beat Ehsan “Lamps” Zakeri of Minnesota United to win an eMLS series championship, he did it again on Sunday, edging Lamps 6-5 on aggregate to win the Series 2 title in New York.

The championship is the third straight for Paulo Neto, who also won the eMLS Cup in March of last year.

The Series 1 and 2 tournaments are the first two legs of the three-event 2023 eMLS season. The final event, the eMLS Cup, will be played in Austin at South by Southwest next month. The total prize pool for the 2023 eMLS season is $100,000, the largest in tournament history.

Sunday’s championship appeared headed to the same result as Series 1’s final, where Paulo Neto stomped Lamps 9-1 on aggregate, as the Atlanta United player took the first leg 5-1.

But Lamps mounted a huge comeback in the second leg, holding a 2-0 lead at the half and making it 3-0 in the 57th minute to climb within one on aggregate. But Paulo Neto scored from just outside the goal box with Chiellini in the 68th minute to stretch the aggregate lead to two and provide enough insurance to outlast Lamps.

Paulo Neto opened his run Sunday with a 6-4 quarterfinal win over St. Louis City SC’s Niklas “NR7” Raseck, followed by a 5-3 win in the semifinals over Nawid “Goal Machine” Noorzai of Toronto FC. Goal Machine topped Mohamed “KingCJ0” Alioune Diop of D.C. United 6-3 in the quarters.

On the other half of the bracket, Lamps beat Seattle’s George “GAdamou10_” Adamou by a 6-2 score in the quarters and then Gordon “Fiddle” Thornsberry of the Vancouver Whitecaps 6-2 in the semifinals.

The day began with the knockout round, with NR7 beating Stefan “IMCF DonBorrello” Borrello of Inter Miami 5-0; KingJC0 edging Philadelphia’s Thiago “ThiagoCapo12” Capo 4-1 on penalty kicks after the score stood 1-1 at the end of full time; Gadamou10 taking down Sporting KC’s Max “Maxe” Popov 2-0; and Fiddle beating Luis “VillaMore3” Villanueva of Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1.

–Field Level Media

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