PHILADELPHIA – When the world went on pause and hunkered down at home, Cormac “Doolsta” Dooley got to work.
His freshman year at Temple University was cut short, so with plenty of time on his hands at home, Nashville SC’s eMLS athlete had the chance to sit down and play all the FIFA his heart desired.
Now, the 2019 eMLS Cup champion will put his quarantine work to the test when he takes part in the 2020 eMLS Cup presented by Coca Cola and Playstation this weekend. The unprecedented all-online competition airs live on MLS’ Twitch and Twitter this Sunday, June 28 at Noon CT.
While the original eMLS Cup was set to take place at SXSW in Austin back in March, COVID-19 forced the rescheduled competition to go online. Doolsta thinks his online work during quarantine will help him adjust to the new competition format.
“I can play the exact way it’ll be in the tournament,” Doolsta said. “It’s given me a lot of time to practice, there’s not much to do. I’ve been staying home more and that just means more time to practice. I’ve been trying to play as much as I can and I’ve practiced a lot in the last week. I’ve been playing with other eMLS players in friendlies on the other side of the bracket to mine, because I don’t really like to play players on my side in case I play them because I don’t want them to have my style of play in their head.”
For this competition, eMLS released new roster rules that require each competitor to use a roster made up entirely of MLS players. Up to eight players on the pitch can be upgraded MLS Team of the Season So Far cards, and the other three must be normal MLS cards. While some players might have wanted to use other cards from outside MLS, Doolsta is happy with the new roster rules.
“I’m sure lots of other players would rather use the Icons, the Ronaldos and the Messis,” Doolsta said. “But I think it makes perfect sense. It’s an MLS league tournament so we might as well use MLS players. Since these TOTSSF have come out, they’re very good. I played the last Weekend League with them on FIFA and went 30-0 with the eMLS squads going up against all the top-tier players. I like the new setup a lot.”
One year after sweeping eMLS competitions to win the title, Doolsta is looking to prove he still belongs among the elite of eMLS and put a trophy-less League Series season behind him. With a second-straight eMLS Cup up for grabs, Doolsta will be competing hard to defend his title and add another trophy to his impressive collection.
“I did well in the first one, and in the second one I was actually very sick going into that and wasn’t feeling myself at all that weekend,” Doolsta said. “It was definitely the worst performance of my career, but I learned a lot from that. Even last year when I won the first two, people were saying that I couldn’t do the third and I had a chip on my shoulder then. I think now going into this eMLS Cup as defending champion, I feel good about it being in a position defending my title. Obviously last year, I won all three so I had to defend them. I’m feeling very optimistic about my play recently and I think I can take on the challenge and hopefully win that title again.”
Tune in on Sunday, June 28 at Noon CT to catch Doolsta in eMLS Cup. His first match pits him against Toronto FC’s PhilB94.