Colton’s Corner: Week 12
Colton’s Corner will be a weekly feature on five topics from around MLR.
NOLA Holds Off Utah
One of the most difficult things to do in professional sports, and even in everyday life, is be consistent. Consistency is why NOLA Gold has been so successful in 2019. Week in and week out they find a way to win matches by slamming the door on any chance their opponent has to get back into it. NOLA has picked up at least one bonus point in every match that they’ve played this season. They have a league-best 11 bonus points. Their ability to pick up bonus points is what separates them from a club like Rugby United New York. RUNY, like the Gold, has only lost two matches this season, but sit in fifth place because they haven’t been able to pick up extra points in the matches that they’ve won. NOLA shows every week why they should be the favorite for the MLR Championship Shield in 2019.
Seattle Stomps Houston
Unlike the last two weeks, there was no slow start for the Seawolves in Week 12. Unfortunately for the SaberCats, they had to be on the receiving end of Seattle’s wrath on the night that they opened their brand-new stadium. The Seawolves used Saturday evening’s match to remind everyone that they are the defending champions for a reason. They can score a flurry of points in a hurry, and they can prevent their opponents from doing the same thing. They made the most of their chances and choked out the SaberCats offense whenever they began to gain any momentum, all of which showed up on the stat sheet. Seattle possessed the ball 65 percent of the match and played in Houston territory 60 percent of the match. Sunday’s match against NOLA Gold will be a treat for everyone and a good test for both clubs this deep into the season.
San Diego Defeats RUNY On the Road
I was looking forward to this match all week. Rugby United New York has used their monster pack and deep bench to bully teams all season long and came into Sunday’s match with a 7-1 record to show for it. Their only loss came to the Seawolves in Seattle, a place that claims many of the opponents that come through. One of the opponents that escaped out of Seattle with a win was the San Diego Legion. With their backs against the wall and their eyes on a playoff spot, the Legion played like a team that had nothing to lose. They’ve played solid rugby all season long and have fought especially hard in these last few weeks to get back into one of the top four spots in the table. I wrote last week that I wouldn’t want to run into San Diego as the season progresses, and that sentiment rings even truer after this win. The same goes for RUNY. They will be hungry after this loss.
One of the great things about the 2019 season so far is the carousel that is the top four spots in the league table. NOLA Gold has done a solid job cementing themselves atop the table, but the next three spots change every week. It’s been said many times before but it’s still as true as ever. Anything can happen at any given time. Take last week for example. The Glendale Raptors were a few minutes away from an upset at the hands of the Houston SaberCats. This week, while the Warriors never led, played the Gold tough enough to win. The possibility of anyone winning on any given week makes the season so much more interesting as we make our way towards the playoffs.
Saturday evening’s soft opening of AVEVA Stadium, the Houston SaberCats’ new home, wasn’t just a great thing for the SaberCats, it was a great thing for Major League Rugby and North American rugby as a whole. If anyone needs any proof that rugby is growing in North America, look no further than AVEVA Stadium. Following the lead of Glendale’s Infinity Park, it became the second rugby-specific stadium in the United States. The stadium not only represents growth, but it also represents Houston’s commitment to the sport and the mark that the league is leaving on the county in only its second year. It’s fitting that the soft opening took place just days after Major League Rugby announced the additions of Old Glory D.C., Rugby ATL and the New England Free Jacks along with the restructured formatting that will take place in the 2020 season because it further solidifies the fact that MLR is here to stay.
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 [email protected] with any MLR related topic that might be on your mind. I’ll address any emails in the next week’s Colton’s Corner.
In the world of local Rugby, Olive Kilifi is already a household
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