3 Things: MLR Round 15

Houston Looks Set for Final Playoff Spot

Austin and New England are in. LA and New York are well on their way. ATL is struggling at the wrong time, but the gap between them and Toronto likely sees them through.

It’s time to view Houston as the clear leaders to round out the playoff field. Four and five points clear of San Diego and Seattle, respectively, with a game in hand is a massive advantage at this time of the year.

This may have been the first year that the SaberCats weren’t expected to rise into the playoff field. However, every preseason’s trendy playoff pick is finally trending into the MLR Championship Series.

The job isn’t done yet. Picking up seven points over their final three games will cement their position regardless of other results. They’ll go to DC next week where they can get most of the job done. The following week, they’ll welcome Seattle with a chance to knock their rivals out and lock in their playoff destiny.

While the path in is clear, they’d be wise to keep an eye on the Giltinis above them. LA’s injury and suspension woes have lowered their ceiling. Houston sits just three points behind the champions. (Both have three games left.) LA certainly has an easier run-in, but the MLR is wild. A bonus point here and there could give the ‘Cats home field advantage in the Western Semi-Final.

Dallas Clinches ‘Top’ Draft Spot

Last year, (after some early signs in the abbreviated 2020 season,) Austin shot up into the playoff hunt. This year, after a miserable 2021, Houston is poised to finally make the playoffs. The third Texas side has to hope they’ll have a similar turnaround.

Dallas has clinched the best available draft pick with three rounds left.

What that actually means for the draft order is still to be determined. Expansion rumors have been moved to the back-burner as the season has worn on. However, both Saint Louis and Chicago are rumored to join in 2023. The expectation is that expansion sides will be granted the top picks. If that’s the case, Dallas would pick third.

We’ve looked at the challenges Dallas endured this year. The team deserves more credit for simply getting through the year. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to contend next year. While this is certainly a multi-year project, nailing their first round pick would be a massive step towards getting off the ground.

Adios, San Diego SportsDeck

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

The San Diego SportsDeck’s run as home of the Legion has come to an end. The venue was always intended as a one year stop after the team failed to reach an agreement with the University of San Diego on continuing to use Torero Stadium. The Legion will move into the still being built Snapdragon Stadium on the campus of San Diego State University in 2023.

The SportsDeck proved an eyesore on the screen. The venue wasn’t built for broadcasting which left The Rugby Network with about a half dozen camera and patchy communication. The move also reduced capacity. The venue held only 3,000 and only seated 1,500. That was a massive reduction from the often sold out Torero, which seated 6,000. Snapdragon will more that correct that issue with the new venue expected to seat a whopping 35,000. While other venue changes are possible across the league, only the Gilinitis’ home at the LA Coliseum is expected to be bigger. (Dallas’s Choctaw Stadium has a maximum capacity of 40,000, but it’s rugby pitch-side stand seats about 4,000.)

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