BOSTON – Despite a late, second half stoppage-time goal, Portland Timbers eMLS competitor Edgar “x_thiago_silva_o” Guerrero lost 3-2 in a hard-fought match against Sporting Kansas City’s Alex “SKC Alekzandur” Betancourt in the 2018 eMLS Cup Western Conference Playoffs, presented by PlayStation, Saturday at the PAX East event in Boston.
Betancourt jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half behind a brace from his Cristiano Ronaldo. Portland and Guerrero relied on some excellent saves from David De Gea to keep it close through the rest of the first half.
Though SKC made it 3-0 in the second half, Guerrero’s go-to second half subs of Raheem Sterling and Sebastián Blanco started to turn the tide. Portland’s Ronaldo scored to make it 3-1 and a flicked on header near the death made it 3-2.
“[Sterling and Blanco] helped me pressure the ball because they’re short but they’re very quick and agile so they recover the ball easily and that led to some opportunities,” said Guerrero of his super-subs.
Though Guerrero threw everyone forward in the final moments, he was unable to find an equalizer. Betancourt’s heavy possession-based style of constantly moving the ball around to look for opening’s made it difficult for Guerrero’s more fluid, attack-minded strategy.
It was a hard-fought battle in the 2018 #eMLSCup for @Thiago_SilvaPSN, who came up just short in the Western Conference Playoffs at @Official_PAX.— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) April 7, 2018
READ | https://t.co/HQ0euuqlGm #RCTID pic.twitter.com/R0h1PuMwjR
“I started off with the ball so I wanted to make a good play, perhaps get a goal, but I lost it early on and then he kept it for most of the game,” said Guerrero. “It was difficult to get the ball back and I’m the type of player that likes attacking a lot and getting a lot of chances and I wasn’t able to do that.”
While the match marked the end of Guerrero’s gameplay at the eMLS Cup, he was quick to talk about how much he enjoyed the tournament experience and the ability to meet so many great players and FIFA aficionados.
“I knew a couple of them prior to this but in general, they’re all great guys. I loved playing all of them except for that playoff game,” he said with a laugh. “It was great meeting them.”
It was also an honor for the McMinnville-based Guerrero to play for the crest and rep the Timbers at this inaugural tournament. Making it through to the playoffs and playing on the big PAX Arena stage was a good accomplishment for the player and one that brought some extra electricity to the whole weekend.
“[It was] nerve-racking,” he said with a smile. “It was exciting though. It’s completely different from playing online so it was a high pressure game. I think I did well, not as good as I wanted, but it was a great experience.”
Be sure to tune-in to twitch.tv/PAXArena on Sunday to watch the Conference Finals and eventual eMLS Cup championship. Coverage begins at 10am PT.