RLCS in Europe is back with a bang, but with little to no shock results. Get all the info you need here.
After an exciting evening of action, each of the ten European RLCS teams has played out its first series of the season. With every series going to at least four games, everyone is still in it to win it after Sunday’s events. Here’s how it all unfolded.
Singularity 1-3 Reciprocity
Despite managing to steal a game off of European champions Reciprocity, the rookies of Singularity looked shaky in their opening series. Game one started off poorly for Lean “Godsmilla” Mares and co., with the French side running rampant and taking the game 4-0, with the best of the goals being a delicious dish from Victor “Ferra” Francal.
Things went from bad to worse for the Danish organisation in the second game, as Emil “fruity” Moselund hit a brilliant shot to give Reciprocity the lead in game two. Singularity finally hit the target when Joseph “noly” Kidd capitalised on an uncharacteristic mistake from Thibault “Chausette” Grzesiak to equalise with 79 seconds on the clock. The 1-1 deadlock was eventually broken when Chausette got his revenge, catching noly out whilst the Englishman searched for boost with no teammates in sight.
Game three started off fast, with Godsmilla making a key early save to prevent Reciprocity’s momentum from carrying over. A great demolition play led to Singularity’s first lead of the series with just under three minutes to go, and they were able to hold on despite some wayward clearances throughout the game.
Having been denied the sweep, Reciprocity capitalised on some awkward Singularity rotations and Chausette hit a beautiful ceiling pass to Ferra as the Canadian organisation stormed into a 2-0 lead. Despite more close demolition plays, Singularity simply couldn’t find the target and some wayward defence led to Reciprocity sealing the series with 36 seconds left.
Vitality 3-1 Endpoint
The second promoted side from the Rival Series, Endpoint had their work cut out for them as they faced off against the French superteam of Renault Vitality. However, Vitality’s new man Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois underwhelmed in his yellow and black debut, coming away from the series with the lowest total score on the pitch and no goals to his name.
Endpoint brought their demolition-heavy playstyle with then to the RLCS, giving Vitality a run for their money and keeping every game within two goals. Game one was a tight affair, with Endpoint barely missing out on a last-second equaliser after a demolition play went awry, leaving Victor “Fairy Peak” Locquet’s finish of a beautiful Alexandre “Kaydop” Courant 50/50 assist as the tiebreaker of the first game.
Nelson “Virtuoso” Lasko’s side kept at it in the second game, giving his team the only goal of the game with a huge flick over Fairy Peak following a double commit from Alpha and Kaydop in the offence.
However, Vitality immediately bounced back, with Kaydop slotting home a glorious double-tap thanks in part to a bump on Nacho “Nachitow” Giminez in the net. Game three proved to be where Vitality made their strongest plays, taking the game despite Virtuoso providing Lucas “RelatingWave” Rose with an incredible assist to give the British organisation a route back into the game at one point.
Vitality continued their momentum into game four, pouncing on a poor clearance from RelatingWave after just thirteen seconds. Nonetheless, the Englishman was able to bounce back later in the game, getting his revenge by slotting home a poor Alpha clearance not long after. A counterattacking play went Vitality’s way just before the 90-second mark, with Kaydop scoring what proved to be the series’ deciding goal as Vitality started their campaign on the right foot.
Veloce 2-3 FC Barcelona
The analysts’ series of the day proved to be a close affair, with Veloce and Barcelona starting their seasons off with some shaky performances before FCB was able to avoid the reverse sweep and take the series.
Despite some significant Veloce pressure in the latter stages of the game, two excellent passing plays from the Catalonians gave them the victory in game one after an offensive bump play had given the World Championship quarter-finalists the lead. Veloce carried on their attacking pressure into the second game, as Sandro “Freakii” Holzwarth capitalised on a boost shortage on the FCB side early on. After sneaking one in past a shaky Veloce defence to equalise, Barcelona found the lead thanks to new signing Hrant “Flakes” Yakoub, who showed off his 1v1 prowess by beating out Andy “Kassio” Landais with 1:41 on the clock. However, Flakes quickly handed Veloce their second goal of the game with a poor clear, and the game went into overtime. Unfortunately for Veloce, just five seconds into the overtime they were caught out of position and Ronaky pushed Barcelona onto match point.
Soon after, Barça began to experience some déjà vu as Veloce turned up the heat. Despite neither side looking particularly promising, Veloce built up momentum thanks to some sustained pressure and their cheater-like ability to pounce on the smallest of opportunities. Game four saw an impressive comeback from the blue team as they fought back from 2-0 down, equalising with two seconds to go before Jack “FlamE” Pearton read Freakii’s fantastic centre to send the series to a deciding game.
Over on Champions Field, Barca found their momentum once again, taking the lead with 1:44 on the clock after hitting the woodwork several times. Despite a FlamE equaliser putting Veloce back in the game, it was new man Flakes to seal the deal with a backboard read near the end of the series, handing the spoils to the Spanish football club.
TSM 2-3 Dignitas
Team SoloMid came into their first series with everything to prove after the addition of Joonas “Mognus” Salo. The oldest side in the league started off shakily, with both them and opponents Dignitas struggling to mount any meaningful pressure aside from an early passing play from last season’s semifinalists. Although their defence proved to be surprisingly strong against an offensive Dig side, TSM proved unable to create much pressure going forward and were therefore unable to put in an equaliser.
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Game two started off even worse for the American organisation as they went 2-0 down before looking capable of getting any sort of shot in the net. However, two goals from Remco “remkoe” den Boer, including a passing play with Mognus, brought TSM on the brink of victory. 21 seconds into overtime, Otto “Metsanauris” Kaipiainen hit a stunning rebound off of the ceiling and all of a sudden, TSM were on the board.
Game three was at times a struggle to watch due to issues with the broadcast, but there wasn’t much action to be missed as the game headed into overtime scoreless. It was TSM once again to break the deadlock, with Mognus hitting a lovely pass up to Remkoe, with the dutchman smashing the shot past the defence and into the top corner.
TSM’s momentum would soon come to an end, with even an incredible triple touch from Metsanauris unable to prevent the ELEAGUE champions from losing the fourth game thanks to some shaky defensive plays which were capitalised on by Maello “AztraL” Ernst and Maurice “Yukeo” Weihs. In the final game, both teams turned up the heat, with Jos “ViolentPanda” van Meurs ensuring that Dignitas took the series home (despite an unbelievable passing play from TSM on zero seconds) with a 3-2 victory.
AS Monaco Esports 1-3 mousesports
The final series of the day saw some of the evening’s most exciting gameplay, with three consecutive overtimes showing just how close these two sides were. Game one saw Kyle “Scrub” Robertson panic on a simple save to concede the game in overtime, with Alex “Extra” Paoli proving himself on his RLCS debut by completely dominating the game.
The back-and-forth carried on like a game of hot potato in game two, with mouz having the last laugh with longtime veteran Francesco “kuxir” Cinquemani’s overtime backboard read. Extra once again impressed, scoring an early contender for goal of the season with a flip reset dunk on Scrub to tie the game up early on.
Game three’s overtime was far nervier than the first two, with neither side wanting to make the crucial mistake. Some big saves from kuxir around the two-minute mark left mouz hanging on before the Italian was given an open net thanks to an unfortunate touch from Maik “Tigreee” Hoffmann.
The final game was one to forget for the French football club, with some late pressure being all they ever had in the fourth game. Mousesports easily could’ve had more than the two-goal lead they ended up with, with kuxir and Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke securing the goals for the German organisation as they secured their first win of the season.
Here's how the standings look in EU after week 1
Main image via ZeeboDesigns.