3 Things: MLR Round 8

RUNY is Now the People’s Champion

How could we start with anything else? Anyone beating LA will be notable, but many (myself included) starting discounting RUNY after the Toronto disaster and a couple unneccesarily close matches afterward.

Smarter people than I will break down the RUNY performance and how they stifled the Giltini attack. I prefer to think about the message this sends. New York is loaded with kiwi talent, but it also boasts some impressive Americans. While LA became a worldwide must-watch, RUNY stepped up and said the (relatively) smaller, more American clubs can hang with the big names in LA.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. LA is not going to lose out from here. Giteau was rested for this one. But the fall of the final perfect team makes it clear that anyone can win in this league, and the playoffs will not be a confirmation ceremony.

The Free Jacks have Quietly Become a Contender

New England moved to third in the East after beating Austin at home. I don’t want to beat up on the Gilgronis here. Road games are tough, and the Free Jacks are getting hot. But the slashing, two-thirds attack New England runs through John Poland and Dougie Fife did just enough to get through the league’s top defense. New England has spent much of the season thus far on the road. With a second half tilted toward home games, they could break into the ‘elder tier’ in the East and steal a playoff spot.

It’s Time to Put a Fork in the Legion

San Diego sits 4th in the West, but they’ve played an extra game. They’re 8 points back from 3rd place Austin, and 10 points out of the second playoff berth. That’s not a good place, but it’s not impossible. However, what do we expect to change with this team? Yes, stars should eventually start working their way back, but unless there’s a complete collapse above them, this side is toast.

Take the Seattle game. I wrote last week about Seattle’s favorable schedule in the second half. Much like the aforementioned Free Jacks, they’ll spend much of the second half at home. The difference is that Seattle is headed for the first non-expansion team draft pick. Losing to Seattle wasn’t good for the Legion’s season, but the toughest part is just how predictable it was. Even we picked the boys in green to win this one.

The realistic path to contention is gone for the Legion. The focus needs to shift to ensuring this was a gap year and not the start of a collapse.


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