3 Things: MLR Round 10

Each week brings too many story lines to cover in depth. 3 Things is our weekly feature to rectify that, taking a shallow dive into three story lines that deserve more coverage.

LA Has Fully Returned

When the Giltinis entered the MLR in 2021, they built a roster that was head and tails above the competition. Their efforts resulted with the team lifting the Shield in front of their home fans.

LA’s second season featured a roster than was even better, but injuries battered the team. We’ve been through it plenty of times. This team was bruised.

They’re healing.

On a team with Matt Giteau and Luke Carty, no one thought Orene Ai’i would be wearing 1- as they shot up the rankings. Now second in the West, LA looks as dangerous as ever.

Last week, a reader asked if Orene Ai’i could keep this going at age 42. The scary thing about LA is that he may not have to. Giteau is expected to return. Carty could make a late season appearance. If either can return for significant minutes, Ai’i could become a change of pace option off the bench. That should terrify everyone they face down the stretch and through their inevitable playoff run.

TRN Pick and Go Whistled for Being Off the Mark

Last week, Major League Rugby announced that betting and free-to-play gaming were coming to The Rugby Network. The early returns leave much to be desired.

I never saw a betting option, though the league was open about it only being available in approved states. (A more annoying writer would point out that the league neglected to provide a list of approved states. But I digress.) The Pick and Go game had initially good reposes on social media. However, by the NOLA/ATL game (when i experimented with it), the system seemed to be breaking down. The first trivia question I was asked concerned who would score first. By the time the question was asked, both teams had scored and we’d sat through the first hydration break.

The free to play game needs a bit of work. The betting aspect has more potential to revolutionize the game. Since they’re rooted in the same technology, the league will have its collective fingers crossed that these issues are easily resolved.

Turbulent Week For USA 7s in Singapore

The USA Men’s 7s spent the weekend in Singapore, but it was a tale of two days.

The Eagles ran through the group phase, which included a win over the year’s dominant team in South Africa. The second day saw the Americans fall by 2 to an upstart Irish in the cup Quarterfinal. They’d ultimately finish sixth after being run over by Argentina in the 5th place playoff.

The Eagles sit fourth in the Series standings with four rounds to go. They’re almost eliminated from Gold contention, and the podium spots as a whole feel like a stretch. We’ve talked about this being a transitional team. They’ll need to keep improving, but they’ve already pushed into the ‘good’ level. Mike Friday is already working through how to push them into greatness.

The men have a short turnaround as the Series moves to Vancouver next weekend.

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