RLCS S9: NA Week 2 Recap
Another week of RLCS has come and gone. The opening day jitters were no longer a valid excuse as half the league looked to follow up on their week one wins, while the other half sought to bounce back and get on the board. So let’s dive into this past weekend’s actions.
Spacestation Gaming vs Susquehanna Soniqs
An anticipated series for reasons off the pitch, Satthew sought revenge vs the team that kicked him in the Summer of 2019, and he got off to a good start, SSG making uncharacteristic defensive errors, giving the wagon two early goals to again out the Soniqs unexpectedly up in game one. Spacestation couldn’t connect on their passes, although AxB shined with a beautiful double-tap as a consolation. The next game was the inverse if game one as Achieves would put it. Immediately Spacestation would connect with two snappy passing plays, and continue to force the issue beyond their two-goal lead. Game three however was the highlight game. A back and forth defensive masterclass at both ends, too many goal-line saves to count. It would go to a 0-0 overtime, but right off the kickoff, one double commit from SSG and one demolition from Satthew allowed Shock to get Soniqs back ahead in the series. And despite Spacestation again going up in game four, Soniqs would get three in a row, ultimately capitalizing off an AxB whiff on defense to take the fourth game and a huge 3-1 series win. The win for Susquehanna is indicative of their potential playoffs level form, with Shock winning player of the week.
Ghost Gaming vs eUnited
One of the most important matches of the week turned out to be a very routine win for Ghost, a let down for the neutral observer but good for Ghost nonetheless. After cleaning up on a poor eU touch to win the first game, Allushin opened the second game with a great 50/50 to set up the opening goal. eUnited in response showed no threat, very weak on the attack. Ghost was more than content to sit back, making easy saves while mist would get spectacular solo plays. Mist would again get a brace in game three, yet eUnited finally responded after eleven minutes of gameplay and even tie up the series. However just as quick as eU got back into the game, Ghost would re-take the lead right off the kickoff, and they maintained the one-goal margin to sweep eUnited 3-0, legitimizing their Astronaut’s success.
Cloud9 vs Rogue
The duality of Cloud9 was present in the first game. Gimmick would start the series with a big defensive mishap to gift Kronovi a goal, all the while SquishyMuffinz would respond with a big double-tap. Surprisingly, Rogue found themselves the aggressors, and just flat out out-speeding Cloud9 as they took the first game. The second game was more of the typical Cloud9 we know, despite going down to a goal from Wonder, once Rogue got ahead they would ease off the pressure, which enabled C9 to get their passing going as Gimmick converted passes from both of his teammates to tie up the series. firstkiller began to show what all the hype as about, constantly making great reads, consistent with quality defensive touches, and regularly being available for passes from Kronovi & Wonder. Unfortunately, Rogue would again turtle up once ahead, enabling Cloud9 to get tie up the game again. Then, a disastrous play from Wonder, dribbling the ball in front of the Rogue goal allowed Squishy to dunk him with seconds to spare, as C9 went up 2-1.
Again in game four, Rogue would be the aggressors, but this time they maintained the onslaught. firstkiller got a stylish hat-trick as Rogue scored five goals to take us to Champion’s Field. Rogue would crank the pressure up to eleven, outshooting C9 11-2 at the halfway point of game five. Yet Cloud9 would go up as Gimmick got a demo and a great flick to set up Torment. Undeterred, Rogue would bounce back with a delayed flick from Kronovi, his 299th career goal in the RLCS. The Cloud9 defense would remain panicky yet sturdy as the series went to overtime. And there, Kronovi would near-duplicate his regulation time goal, with a solo dribble down the right-hand side to seal the series for Rogue with his 300th career goal in RLCS, sending Cloud9 to an 0-2 record. For Rogue’s new roster, it’s a big win to get them off the foot of the table. On the other hand, Cloud9 now faces a legitimate threat of relegation this season.
NRG vs Flight
Any doubts that NRG was in a slump were resoundingly shut down this series. Yes its the world champions vs the expected 10th team in the league, but NRG made this look way too easy. Jstn faking a flip reset and then scoring set the tone for the series as a whole, as NRG took the first game 3-0. Game two was a quiet affair on both sides, however with less than a minute left, Turbopolsa would muscle the ball into the Flight net after a series of 50/50s to double NRG’s lead. Flight would finally get on the board in the third game, Memory scoring his first goal of the season, yet the NRG passing was in good form as GarrettG found Turbo to equalize. It wouldn’t take much longer for the individual talent to shine through, as GarrettG found ample time to get a tight angle double-tap (with help from a jstn bump) to ultimately seal the series 3-0 for NRG. Ultimately, this was a series where the best team in the league beat the worst one.
Pittsburgh Knights vs G2 Esports
The final game of the day saw Pittsburgh Knights play G2 in a highly anticipated matchup. G2 was immediately on the offensive from the off, yet on the counter-attack a poor touch from Chicago would let ExplosiveGyro break the deadlock. Despite G2 being a team renowned for their shooting, this series wasn’t their greatest showing for accuracy. They constantly rattled the post and against the run of play, Pittsburgh Knights would counter-attack and double their lead to take game one. While G2 wasn’t the most accurate with their opportunities, the sheer quantity of chances they got allowed them to tie up the series. The control they had over Knights was made infinitely easier by Gyro & AyyJayy constantly double committing, often leaving Retals on his own to make saves, which he did a lot of to his credit.
The third game started an even affair, Gyro again scoring off the kickoff to put PK up, but Jknaps would find Chicago with a great infield pass to soon equalize. At this point the pressure and control G2 was sustaining was absurd. It wasn’t the hyper offense of old G2 yet Knights could not break out, and when they did, it was often two players committing, leaving the third man on his on own the backline. This proved crucial in overtime of game three as another AyyJayy & Gyro double commit allowed Chicago to thread the needle and put G2 up, and from then on, G2 was in complete control. Once Chicago again scored off a quadruple tap of sorts, G2 never let PK have a chance. Despite the close scoreline, G2 had PK’s back boosts on lock, their passes intercepted and the series secured 3-1.
So after week two, here’s how the table looks
Main image via ZeeboDesigns.