Colton’s Corner: Week 5
Colton’s Corner will be a weekly feature on five topics from around MLR.
Toronto Defeats Houston 44-27
After a tough loss to the Seattle Seawolves a week earlier, the Toronto Arrows bounced back in a big way against the Houston SaberCats and continue to look like one of the league’s stronger sides. Don’t be fooled by their 2-2 record. The two matches that they’ve lost have come against the second place NOLA Gold and to the Seattle Seawolves at Starfire Stadium, likely the most difficult place to play in Major League Rugby, by a combined 10 points. The more points Toronto can stash away on the road early in the season, the better. You’d have to think that playing rugby will be a bit easier when it’s the other team that’s having to go through customs every week.
San Diego Defeats Austin 45-17
The other half of Friday night’s doubleheader in Texas saw the San Diego Legion knock off Austin Elite Rugby in what was an example of two teams that are in completely different places five games into the season. After four scrappy matches, the Legion didn’t waste any time jumping on Austin early and that ultimately resulted in their fourth-straight victory and a place atop the league tables. Austin will tell you themselves that their attack has been their biggest issue this season, but until Friday night, they really have played good enough defense to keep their matches competitive as they hadn’t allowed more than 24 points. Picking up that first win will become more difficult with every passing week, but I still think that first win could give Austin the confidence they need to pick up some steam and start gaining some ground in the standings. San Diego, on the other hand, continues to show why they are a force to be reckoned with in 2019. They are strong across the board and they have proven that they will give their opponent, regardless of their record, nothing but their best effort every week.
Raptors and Warriors Record MLR’s First-Ever Draw, 26-26
I must say, there were several instances in this match where I thought that the Raptors were dead in the water. I think it’s fair to say that Utah completely dominated the first half of this match, and when inside center Gannon Moore scored the try that pushed them to 26 points, I didn’t see much of a way that Glendale could get back into the match. I was wrong. Glendale used a two-try performance from John Ryberg and a 100-meter try from replacement hooker Chad Gough on a ball he poached helped the Raptors tie up the match with 10 minutes to play. It’s unfortunate that 80 minutes weren’t enough to decide a victor, but I think this was a great match that showed exactly where these two teams stand five weeks into the season.
Seattle Defeats RUNY 33-21
Like Toronto, RUNY gave the Seawolves a run for their money in the first half, but it’s just impossible to count the Seawolves out at home. They’ll, of course, need to start winning some matches on the road but even with their two road losses, their 16 points leaves them in third place through five matches and only two points behind the first place San Diego Legion.
“The bonus point win last night was massive,” Seawolves’ Wing Brock Staller said. “It’s important to win at home in this league because of the amount of travel added to this year’s extended season.”
What makes the Seawolves so scary is the fact that they can score in so many different ways, and that was on full display on Sunday evening. Their forwards bullied their way in for the first two tries of the match and then their backs took over down the stretch by scoring long tries with the ball in hand and by putting the ball on their foot. RUNY has already proven to be a team that teams are going to have trouble with, and once they stop traveling so much, they are going to be very disruptive down the stretch.
Home Field Advantage
“The crowd helps us build momentum and take advantage of opportunities. There is honestly nothing comparable to the support of our fans.” – Seattle Seawolves’ Wing Brock Staller
After watching the Seattle Seawolves comeback to defeat the Toronto Arrows last week and then defeat red hot Rugby United New York on Sunday, it’s impossible not to acknowledge that there seems to be some kind of magic occurring at Starfire Stadium. Going back to last season, the only loss the Seawolves have suffered at home was at the hands of the Glendale Raptors by a score of 19-15. Glendale came close to completing the feat again in the opening week of the 2019 season but fell 20-18. “Magic” might be a wild way to acknowledge what goes on at Starfire considering the Seawolves have only played seven regular season matches at home, but something certainly seems to be in the air there. It’s worth noting that the Raptors also didn’t drop any of the four regular season or playoff matches that they played at home last season, and it will be interesting to see if they can keep their streak rolling when they welcome the Arrows to town next Saturday evening.
What did you think about this week’s action? What did I miss? I would love to hear from any and all MLR fans as the season moves along. Feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any MLR related topic that might be on your mind. I’ll address any emails in the next week’s Colton’s Corner.
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