Lower League eCup Review

Anybody ready to see how poorly all my predictions turned out? Good. You better enjoy this. Because I’m going to look really bad here for the most part.

That’s right, the Lower League eCup has come to a close, and we can now look back at all my predictions from before the tournament even started. Some were pretty good, and others… let’s just say a few teams really let me down here.

That being said, let’s go through each category I predicted in the first post, which you can read back here. I’ll rehash my prediction and then show you how it actually turned out. Depression setting in in 3, 2, 1…

First up, a look at SmallWorld’s group stage draw, Xbox Group C. This was a really strong lineup, so I was correct in predicting it would be a tough group to get out of. Here was my predicted order of finishing:

  1. Olde Fields Battalion: Yeah, so they made me look awful. I made a very good friend in @thatswamplife1, but he did not help me out on the eSports pitch. He finished in 5th and didn’t even make the playoffs, but he did reach the final of the Consolation Bracket.
  2. Hoboken FC 1912: I was definitely right that they were a really strong team, but I gave them a little too much credit here. They ended up finishing in third, but I’m pretty happy with this prediction as a whole.
  3. Jacksonville Armada: Once again, a team I expected to do very well let me down. Armada lost every match and just couldn’t find a way to win the close ones down the stretch. They finished last, a far cry from my expectation of them to find the knockout stage.
  4. Northshore United: Well, this was an underestimation. Northshore demolished all their group stage opponents en route to an undefeated regular season. They also made a nice run in the knockouts, so I’m really kicking myself for predicting them this low.
  5. Louisiana Krewe: Yep, another severe underestimation. Krewe were very solid and pretty solidly the second-best side in a very talented group. They certainly made me regret placing them outside a playoff position!
  6. SmallWorld Soccer: I did not have much faith in myself at all going into the tournament, and I actually surprised myself with how much I was able to hold my own for the most part. I did not finish last, and I even made it to the knockout stage! I’ll have to believe in myself a bit more next time…

Now that that mess is over with, let’s see how bad my predictions for the winner of every other group were.


Group A – Inter Detroit (actual finish, 1st): I actually got the first one right! I really believed in these guys from the very beginning, and it paid off throughout the group stage. I predicted them to go all the way in the knockouts, though, and that didn’t quite pan out how I hoped. Oh well, I’ll take it!

Group B – First State FC (actual finish, 4th): So I did not exactly expect the absolute run of dominance that came out of this group from Metro Louisville. They took all comers with ease, including First State, but the Midnight Riders did make the playoffs at least!

Group C – SmallWorld’s group, see above

Group D – LSA Athletico Lanier (actual finish, 6th): I let my in-state bias lead me astray a bit here, but I have to say that I wasn’t expecting such a dominant run out of Amish Country United! They took the title while my beloved Gainesville, GA side finished second-bottom.

Group E – FC Buffalo (actual finish, 2nd): I feel pretty good about this one. I felt like this was a toss-up between the Aces of Atlantic City FC, who ended up winning, and Buffalo. They didn’t get a few important results when they needed to, but they proved I was on the right track in choosing them.

Group F – South Georgia Tormenta (actual finish, 4th): This was one where I realized pretty quickly who the obvious choice should have been. Forward Madison took the group, and I would have predicted it, too, had I not been blinded my my Peach State bias. Oh well, Tormenta still made the playoffs!

Group G – Dynamo FC St. Cloud (actual finish, 6th): And this was my worst prediction by far as of right now. My friends in the MASL were bitterly disappointing, losing all five of their games and finishing with a -35 GD. Meanwhile, OlyPen Force surprised me and took the title!

Group H – Denton Diablos (actual finish, 5th): Yeah, so this isn’t a good path we’re going down right now. Damon Gochneaur, the Diablos’ owner, was a guy I really trusted to perform well after he personally beat me in the Celebrity Cup final. He never performed to that same standard since then, and as a result, he didn’t even reach the playoffs. Meanwhile, Oly Town Artesians took all comers and would go on to bigger things in the knockouts!

Group I – Minneapolis City (actual finish, 1st): FINALLY, we break the streak of bad picks and get another one right! The Crows were a pick SmallWorld never really doubted. The closest anyone came to challenging them was second-place DeKalb County, but in the end, MPLS City took the top spot in the group, as predicted!

Group J – Lane United FC (actual finish, 3rd): Okay, so this decision was made a long time ago, back before I knew the truth behind Lane United and how lame they are. They ended up beating us in the first round of the tournament, so we’re contractually obligated to hate them now. Meanwhile, FC Tucson ended up winning the group.

Group K – Vacaville Elite (actual finish, 3rd): Another mediocre pick here. They made the playoffs, but Vacaville was not at the level of Inland Wolves and Inland Empire. Empire especially made a fantastic run in the tournament, and Vacaville was just not at either team’s level.

Group L – River Town FC (actual finish, 5th): Oh boy. My guy Cade Summers, who I had the pleasure of hosting in a podcast episode, is not the greatest FIFA player, and I clearly gave him way too much credit. He lost every match and made this prediction one of the worst I made. Lone Star Republic dominated and picked up the slack for Texas representatives.

I only got two of these groups right, and a lot of my picks didn’t make the playoffs. But it actually gets worse in the PS4 division, if you can believe that.


Group A – Districtonia Futbol (actual finish, 4th): I’ll hand it to Miami Soccer Academy, they surprised me with their success here. Their professionalism is somewhat lacking on social media, but they made up for it in the eSports world by going undefeated in a difficult group stage! Districtonia, on the other hand, wasn’t quite up to MSA’s standard, but they did end up squeezing into the playoffs.

Group B – Palm Beach Breakers (actual finish, 4th): I had high hopes for my South Floridian friends at AFC Breakers, but they were not the best gamers in the room on either console. They finished fourth in their group, but only managed one win and no draws from five matches. Meanwhile, FC Motown dominated en route to a very successful knockout round.

Group C – ADASL (actual finish, 6th): Oh boy. ADASL really made me look bad here, losing every match and not scoring a single goal the entire tournament. Boo. Lazers SC took the title in a close contest.

Group D – First State FC (actual finish, 3rd): Well, this one wasn’t terrible. First State had a respectable finish in a very tough group, beating The Citizens and losing out only to Elmwood Elite and Forward Madison. They didn’t quite live up to my lofty expectations of winning the group, though.

Group E – DeKalb County United (actual finish, 3rd): This was another decent choice. DeKalb showed their quality from the off, but they lost some tight battles against some very even competition at the top of this group. They ended up in third, while Vlora FC went top.

Group F – Greenville Triumph (actual finish, 1st): THANK GOODNESS. Triumph delivered for me in the PS4 bracket when not much else worked well for me. They were a dominant 5-0-0 in the group stage and were arguably one of the best sides in the competition. They’re a group stage pick I’m actually proud to claim!

Group G – Florida Tropics (actual finish, 5th): Group G was just weird. Houston Hotshots won the group with three draws, somehow. But I can’t use that as an excuse when the Tropics finished dead last and have just one point to show for their five matches. Much like a DiGiorno’s Pizza, they didn’t deliver, and I’m sad I chose them.

Group H – Oakland Roots (actual finish, 6th): This is actually one I felt good about. As much as the Roots kill the game on the field and with their brand, local flavor, and fun vibe, I expected them to be a strong force in eSports as well. They were not, to be blunt. A -23 goal differential and a last-placed finish were the fruits of the Roots’ labor, while AFC Mobile topped the table with an undefeated regular season.

Group I – Blue Battalion (actual finish, 5th): Note to self: don’t expect much out of an eSports team from a SG with “battalion” in its name. Olde Fields disappointed me, and so did Blue, the SG of Mississippi Brilla. Milwaukee Bavarians took the title here, and Blue Battalion were never very close to it.

Group J – Dakota Fusion (actual finish, 5th): Well, I went with the most intriguing team in the bunch in a unique location for a soccer club, and looking back, I probably should have known not to look to the Dakotas for quality eSoccer. They only took one win from five games, while FF Premier came out of nowhere for me to win the group.

Group K – Colorado Rush (actual finish, 5th): I was determined not to give them the short end of the stick after I did so in an expansion rankings post a few months back. Apparently, though, I should have in this case. Rush finished with the same record and group position as Dakota Fusion, which is not a compliment to either of the two. Oxnard Guerreros would have been the team to choose from Group K, as they went undefeated and won.

Group L – Bell County FC (actual finish, 6th): So technically, the Bengals didn’t finish in last since there were seven teams in this group. But that doesn’t cheer me up much since this is the 6th straight penultimate or last-place finisher I’ve chosen. Bell County suffered from losing close matches, and it cost them a playoff spot. Riverside City FC took the spoils of Group L in the end.

Group M – Protagonist Soccer (actual finish, 5th): My heroes and inspiration for SmallWorld were a shoe-in for the top spot in my predictions, but not so in the real thing. Phil Baki never relived his glory days in the Celebrity Cup a few days before the tournament proper began, as he racked up four losses from six matches. Duluth FC took the top spot in a tight battle at the front of the table.

And now, for PC, a pretty wide-open race for the most part.

PC: South Bend Lions (actual finish, 5th): The Lions were pretty respectable throughout, but just narrowly missed the playoffs. They weren’t my worst pick in this series, but they were no match for eventual winners Metro Louisville.

Alright, so that’s done. What a disgraceful set of picks these were! Congratulations to the winners for surprising me, though, and thanks to Joe Meyer for starting this entire eCup in the first place. Looking forward to seeing it again in January!

Support local soccer, unify those around you, and *seek out diversity*!




By danny kotula

danny kotula is an aspiring sports writer and play-by-play commentator. unfortunately, he is not good at either one. his interests include watching soccer and listening to obscure music genres, and those aren’t even his most boring ones. he was born in Tacoma, Washington but has called South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, California, Georgia, and Costa Rica home over the course of his life. he generally knows where to put a comma, which is by far his most redeeming quality. he is writing this in third person as if he were famous enough for someone to write him a biography, but don’t be fooled. he’s not famous.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s