3 Things: MLR Round 9

It Was a Good Week for the Pro-TMO Fans

When the league announced its partnership with Advantage Referee Communications before the season, the rumors started to fly over the potential addition of a TMO in a year or two. As most television products have improved this year, the attentive fan has started noticing issues that a TMO would likely be called in to check. The calls for the TMO have truly started to grow.

Then came the Giltinis’ game at SoFi Stadium in LA. While social media wants to hype the presence of rugby in the gorgeous venue, the most consequential moment for the league came in the form of an inadvertent technical assist provided to the officials. After an LA try, Utah was up in arms that the score was invalid. Referee Derek Summers did the same thing many American fans naturally do; he turned his attention to the video boards.

With ’12 screens’ (according to Summers) showing the score to be invalid, he ruled out the try, explaining to Matt Giteau that he just couldn’t ignore what was right in front of him. LA still scored shortly after (they’d be granted advantage prior to the score that would be negated), but the first technical assist in MLR left anyone craving strong officiating with something to salivate over.

There could still be issues bringing the TMO to the MLR, but that deserves a separate post.

Gil-team-is Get Back to Work

LA won after falling to New York. Austin won after dropping a match in New England. With Austin retaking the second playoff spot, a playoff collision feels more and more inevitable. The big question is if Austin can wrangle home field playoff advantage from their counterpart.

Austin and LA will meet for the first time Wednesday (yeah, its weird). They’re ten points back on the table. Both of these teams have looked significantly better at home than on the road, and both teams finish the year with more road games than home. While the Gilgronis need to put away Utah first, the biggest task will be getting the Western Conference Championship to the Circuit of Americas. To do that, they’ll need to pick up significant points against LA head to head. The fight for a chance at the Shield is about to truly start.

Are the Legion Alive?

No. But that’s not how these things work.

Give San Diego credit. they’ve fallen so far. They have a playoff roster on the injured list. Joe Pietersen’s return (and a meh performance by NOLA) gave San Diego’s season a jolt. Frankly, this league is better when San Diego is playing good ball.

I say all this, but their year is over. Third place Utah remains six points up with a game in hand. Crashing past two of LA, Austin, and Utah will be too much to ask. They’d need a run of four or five wins to really have a chance, and I don’t see anything that makes me believe this team can do it. Give them credit for the fight, and I hope we see more of it. But this season is just about building for 2021.

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