By: Zachary Lange 

The old adage reads true and is simple; if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.

And the road for eUnited Counter Strike at ESL One New York begins with a monumental task ahead – No. 1 ranked Team Liquid. Already a winner of major tournaments in 2019, Liquid will head to the Big Apple in the hopes to add more hardware to the trophy case.

But eUnited, however, will be looking for an upset. By playing their own game and controlling the pace and tempo of the match, Anthony “vanity” Malaspina hopes that they can keep things close and put Liquid on high alert.

“We showed we could compete with them in the last week of ECS,” vanity said. “Even though it’s just online, it’s a good confidence boost to play the No. 1 team in the world that close.”

In that match, eUnited began the best-of-three series in Season 8 of ECS play with a 16-11 victory on Overpass. Liquid rallied, however, to take Mirage (16-3) and Nuke (16-13) to move on in the tournament.

ESL One New York is yet another opportunity to play the top team in the world. The event, held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, boasts a $200,000 prize pool and some of the top talent in the world. Four of the top-10 HLTV ranked squads are set to attend, with two being slotted in Pool A alongside eUnited.

This is the first time since July 17 that eUnited have been in a LAN environment. Most recently, the team traveled to Berlin, Germany for Americas Minor for the StarLadder Major where they finished top-8, respectively.

This is also the first time that Ryan “freakazoid” Abadir will be competing under the eUnited banner, as longtime player Kaleb “moose” Jayne has taken a self-imposed break from the team. The brother of AWPer Austin “Cooper” Abadir, freakazoid has been a member of Ghost, Swole Patrol and Cloud 9 in his career as a professional.

“It feels really good to be playing on the same team as Ryan,” Cooper said. “We both have the same drive to be really good and it’s awesome to be able to accomplish this together.”

A veteran of the competitive Counter Strike scene, freakazoid brings valued leadership to a team that is filled with young, talented players but could benefit from having a vocal leader with experience to help guide the unit as a whole.

“Freakazoid is by far the most experienced player I have ever played with and it’s going to be a nice addition to the roster,” vanity said. “We aren’t expecting too much regarding instant results, but in the long term I think it will help us break the plateau we previously had hit. Having someone who’s competed against top teams for so long will help us mentally at tournaments I believe.”

While eUnited only had a short window of time to practice with freakazoid, ESL One New York will serve as a baseline test for the competitiveness of the squad according to vanity. Winning a series against a top team isn’t far from quintet’s grasp but competing over each round remains a higher priority for a developing roster.

“Our expectations are to play well together as a team and perform the best we can,” Cooper said. “And in doing so if we win a few matches that is all I can ask for.”

How to watch

Matches begin at 11 a.m. Eastern when eUnited is set to square off against Team Liquid. All matches will be streamed on the official ESL CS:GO Twitch channels.

Win or lose, eUnited will be back in action later Thursday in a match that is TBD at approximately 5 p.m. Eastern. Be sure to follow eUnited on all social platforms to remain up to date with the latest information.