This passing weekend the 3rd D.C United FIFA tournament hosted by Esports Fairplay was held at Lucky’s bar in DC. Some of the best FIFA players in the DMV come out to compete for a chance at the D.C United champion title and the opportunity to meet and play with D.C United players in the co-op Grand Finals. Sponsored by D.C United and Heineken, the D.C United tournament series is a great opportunity for the FIFA community to get together, compete, sharpen their skills, and support D.C United.
This event being the 3rd of 4 culminating tournaments means that players chances to qualify for the grand finals are dwindling. The level of competition is extremely high, but players looked to cement their spot in the grand finals. We had the chance to follow Capitol Underground sponsored player Trevor Williams, a rising FIFA player who competes regularly in local events and competes with top DMV talent like Andy "TraplordAndy" Palma, Omar "El Matador" Flores, and Luis "Reck1ess Ghost" Torres.
Just barely qualifying for the knockout round and falling in his first knockout stage match at the last D.C United tournament, he came into this tournament determined to improve upon his last crushing defeat. As players waited for the bracket to be finalized, competitors took the opportunity to get some last-minute practice. These exhibition matches serve as an opportunity to size up the competition and look for any weak points.Trevor’s first match was against Guillermo Menacho, a veteran in the FIFA community who is skilled and methodical in his play. This match-up was their second time meeting, at last year’s D.C United tournament they competed in a tightly contested match that ended in a 2-2 draw.
The matched kicked off with both players pressing the attack, but it was Guillermo who took an early lead with a 38’ minute goal. Trevor looked to rebound with 2 strong attacking plays, but his rally was foiled with a counterattack that lead to another first half goal to take the match to a 2-0 lead.
Looking at a potentially insurmountable lead Trevor needed to find a way to get past Guillermo’s defenses and capitalize. Right out the gate Trevor came out in full force, not giving Guillermo a moment to think, capitalizing on every missed passed and interception. Only 10 minutes into the second half Trevor scored his first goal, taking the match to a 2-1 lead in Guillermo’s favor. With the match winding down Trevor was running out of time to stage a comeback. But with only 15 minutes left Trevor setup a beautiful long-range goal with Rooney to tie up the match! Trevor continued to press the attack and fight for the win but ran short on time. The game ended in a stalemate with the score being 2-2.
After the match we interviewed Trevor and asked him how he felt about being down 2-0 early on and finding a way to claw his way back, he said “That’s how it goes, I have had plenty of comebacks with a bigger deficit than that before. You must focus and play smart. The moment you give up is the moment you lose. You have to believe that a comeback is possible.”Trevor would go on to play against veteran FIFA player Didi Otisi, the 2008 #1 American qualifier for the FIFA Interactive world cup, the predecessor to the current eWorld Cup.
This match-up seemed like it would be the most difficult in the group. Both players were no strangers to each other’s play-style, playing numerous games in the past. The game favored Trevor’s attack heavy offense early on, as he was able to cut through Didi’s defenses to take an early 2-0 lead. Trevor was able to halt Didi’s advances for the entire match until the 92’ minute when Didi slid through the defense and scored a late consolation goal to end the match 2-1.
Trevor had placed himself in a good position in group A but needed to win his 3rd and final match to assure his place in the round of 16. Only the top 2 players advance out of group stages, if Trevor were to lose his third match, there would be no guarantee he wouldn’t be relegated to a 3rd place finish in his group. His final match would be against Paulo Luizaga. Trevor built of the momentum of his last match, his offense running wild against Paulo defense, with Rooney almost managing a hat-trick. Trevor would dominate the match with an impressive 5-0 win. With that final win, sealing his position as the top seed in Group A and grabbing a spot in the round of 16.
With the group stage completed, the round of 16 commenced. Trevor faced off against Bello who ranked 2nd in group C. The knockout stage is where the competition gets serious. One loss and it’s all over. Tie’s would now result in overtime and penalties if necessary. Trevor and Bello faced off in a tight and nerve-racking match. Neither side able to gain the advantage, both missing multiple opportunities. With the final score 0-0 after regular time, the duo headed into over-time. After another nil-nil half in overtime, the 2 were forced to duke it out in penalties. You could feel the tension in the air, penalties always bring pressure and anxiousness. But these are times where the best players must overcome the pressure and remain calm.
Trevor started off the penalties with a perfectly aimed goal in the bottom corner by Rooney. Bello initiates his first penalty kick but ran into Hamid’s stone wall with a shot straight down the middle! Going back and forth goal after goal, it finally came down to Trevor’s last goal. If he makes it, he takes the match and qualifies for the quarter finals, he misses, and Bello has a chance of swaying the momentum! Rodriguez steps up to the ball and drains it into the top corner for the win!
With Trevor going into the quarter finals his goal of winning the title was one step closer, but the competition would only continue to get more competitive. The quarter final match would pit Trevor vs Nick D'Addario. Nick finished at the top of his group undefeated with a 3-0 group sweep. This match looked to be the most difficult match of the day, bringing a good amount of attention from the remaining audience. The match was closely contested the entire game, neither of them letting the other breath. Interceptions plagued both players causing constant counter attacks. It wouldn’t be until the 84’ min that Nick would take the lead for what look to be the game winning goal. But as we saw earlier in his 2-goal comeback against Guillermo, Trevor’s determination and calm demeanor would not be counted out just yet.
With time running down, Trevor’s mounted a surgical attack that combined a beautiful combination of quick passes and dribbles to lead to an Acosta finessed goal just inside the box. Trevor’s excitement was apparent, he had halted his seemingly inevitable demise with only 3 minutes left in the match. The hype was real!
With the game tied 1-1 the duo headed into overtime. Neither player wanted to take the gamble of penalty kicks, so both looked to assure a win in extra time. But Trevor wasn’t looking to hold off the suspense any longer, at the 111’ minute mark Trevor tossed a beautiful lead lob pass to Acosta for an uncontested first touch goal into the bottom corner to take the match to 2-1. Trevor was visibly hyped after his comeback! Nick tried his best to answer the heartbreaking goal, but it would be Trevor who would take the match.
With that win Trevor advanced to the semi finals where he would play one of last year’s winner’s, Luis Torres aka “Reck1ess Ghost”. Both competitors started with a balance approach, feeling out the competition. Trevor took an early lead with the first goal, but Luis quickly followed up with his own goal to level the score.
Trevor looked determined to pull away and with a beautiful back heel setup to Acosta who drained a banger into the back of the net taking a 2-1 lead. Being down by one at the half Luis quickly changed to a heavily aggressive strategy. This tactic could create pressure on Trevor’s defense creating a higher percentage of interceptions and bad passes but would leave him open to counter attacks. This play-style proved to be the right move; Luis scored a quick goal on the 48’ minute to tie it up. Luis’s aggressive strategy seemed to catch Trevor off guard as he could not find an answer to his attacks. Soon Luis would take the lead with an 83’ minute goal to just about wrap the game up.
After his heartbreaking loss, we caught up with Trevor to ask where he thing he went wrong. He said, “I didn’t adjust to his aggressive play-style coming out of the half, his attacking strategy found the gaps in my defenses, and he capitalized on his opportunities. If I played a more defensive game instead if continuing to press the attach when I was up, I think I could have held onto the lead”.