NA RLCS Recap - Week 7
Three game fives, two upsets based on league standings, and one iconic super-sub, the 7th week of RLCS season nine delivered in entertainment value and has set up for a blockbuster eight week of action, so lets recap all the happenings from this past weekend’s action.
Cloud9 vs Susquehanna Soniqs
For the most notable series of this week for reasons you’re probably already aware of, its easy to forget the Soniqs got off to an incredible start this week. They kept Cloud9 to only two shots in the first game, as Dappur snatched the ball off Torment to score the solitary goal. C9’s past issues seemed to plague them game two, with SquishyMuffinz whiffing simple backboard reads, resulting in routine goals for the Soniqs. Cloud began their comeback game three, Gimmick capitalizing on a Satthew mistouch and generally prioritizing speed and outpacing Soniqs. Cloud9 would control the third game and Torment would score a zero-second goal to seal it. Game four, both sides would cancel each other with early goals, yet Cloud9 would be the ones to apply the pressure, but Dappur was their foil, stopping C9 at every chance while Shock had an uncharacteristically quiet series. After a long pause due to a Torment disconnect, the game would resume, and enter overtime, where Squishy ade a heroic save, and started the counter-attack to set up Gimmick to tie the series right as Torment disconnected again. Cloud9, not wanting to commit a Torment with internet issues to their crucial decider, opted to bring in substitute & coach Fireburner, and he went nuclear. Cloud9 apply incredible pressure and the Soniqs buckled, as after multiple chances, Fireburner would give C9 the lead in his first game of Rocket League played in a week. The Soniqs would not die quietly, Shock quick to respond as the series went to overtime. There, both sides would have stellar chances and equally stellar saves, but the Soniqs heroics finally ended, as they lost their first overtime and the series to C9, after a 2nd goal fro the King of Urban, Fireburner. Fireburner’s performance to keep C9’s playoffs hopes alive is already being hailed as one of the legendary RLCS moments, making him a deserving player of the week, even eight months after retirement.
Spacestation Gaming vs Rogue
It is very fortunate that there was a lot to say about the previous series because there is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary to say about Spacestation crushing Rogue 3-0. The first game was as interesting as this series lost, and even that was down to Rogue making amateur mistakes on defense, giving an already lethal team literal free goals despite responding twice of their own. For SSG, Arsenal took the spotlight this week, getting the sole goals in games two and three as Spacestation Gaming advanced to 6-1, undisputed 1st in the league, and one series from a guaranteed top-two league placing. With Cloud9’s spike in form, this loss has condemned Rogue to at least the relegation tournament, no miracle playoffs run for them this season.
Flight vs Susquehanna Soniqs
The Soniqs looked a little shaken from the events of their Cloud9 series, and as a result started pretty slow vs Flight, Sea-Bass and rapid would eventually connect with a passing play to give Flight the first game. Shock got the solitary goal in game two to tie the series as Susquehanna tidied up their defense. Unfortunately, a Dappur whiff on defense let rapid put Flight ahead, however he would redeem himself as he set up Shock with an assist and a bump to equalize, and punished an over-aggressive Flight by scoring an open net to take the third game. Come game four, although Flight had glorious chances, the crossbar was not their friend. And Dappur would again punish Flight, rolling back the years with a solo dribble play to give Soniqs the lead. And with the advantage, Soniqs again looked comfortable for the series, Satthew would get a late second to give the Soniqs a vital rebound, as they are now one series from finishing a miraculous top two in league play.
Cloud9 vs Ghost
Well, Cloud9 might actually be back. Torment returned to the pitch to keep Fireburner’s immaculate two goals & three saves per game records intact and simply put, C9 looked stellar. Gimmick opened the scoring for C9, but Atomic would respond with quick reflexes to catch out Squishy pushed up too far. However, a calculated totally not a whiff fake from bamboozled the Ghost goalkeepers as C9 went up in the series. Game two was all about SquishyMuffinz, getting a delightful hat-trick, scoring off tight angles, midfield interceptions or punishing Ghost aggression. Mist would respond with two goals of his own yet Ghost would find themselves down two to a very threatening C9 lineup. Ghost looked to start the comeback, and with Atomic beating Gimmick in net, and Allusion burying a backboard shot after sustained pressure, Ghost were up by two goals and en route to taking the game. But Cloud9 wanted to end it then and there, Gimmick had a long field shot go over all the Ghost defenders to get one back. Ghost’s response was to give Gimmick a lot of time on the ball. This proved costly as Gimmick would get another simple goal to tie the series. And as overtime started, the rock-solid Torment, playing his best match of this season got involved to score the decisive goal as Cloud9 swept Ghost 3-0.
Pittsburgh Knights vs eUnited
Last season this series went the distance thanks to unconventional eUnited play. This season it did the same, but more down to a now typically misfiring Knights. One game their offense would be straight fire, Retals would score a double-tap, and AyyJayy would dunk an eU defender for a double-tap of his own to set up Retals for a second. eUnited’s offense hasn’t been great this season, but it was enough to edge out game two, with a great challenge by Hockser letting Ayjacks secure the open net, all while the Knights could not generate any scoring chances due to defensive double commits. However come the third game, Knights’ sublime offense was again on full display. Retals was puzzling the eU defenders with multiple touches, AyyJayy was assaulting their backboard and Gyro was getting flip resets. The fourth game was a back and forth contest, it went to overtime and Hockser produced another incredible goal, recovering from a bump to get a great re-direct to force game five. Now Champion’s Field hasn’t been the kindest to the Pittsburgh Knights this season, and it very nearly was the location of another series loss for them, until AyyJayy got an absurd double-tap goal to give PK the sole goal in game five, win the series and eliminate eUnited from playoffs contention.
G2 Esports vs NRG Esports
Both sides looked to respond from losses last weekend, and it was G2 that came out the aggressors, getting three fantastic chances in regulation on the first game, with all three players missing sure-fire goals. Come overtime, with their 16th shot of the game, G2 would take the first game barely. NRG would race to an early lead game two, thanks Turbo converting an open net, Jknaps would respond quickly as G2 reapplied the pressure. Again, they had glorious chances but could not stop hitting the crossbar, and it cost them. In overtime, the defensive rotation collapsed, giving jstn a very open net to tie up the match. This seemed to give NRG the confidence to break out of their own half, as they held possession for a lot of the third game, but once G2 demolished Jstn, Turbo could not read a backboard bounce as G2 had another open net. NRG now found themselves failing to score the golden chances, Chicago would eventually get a double-tap to put G2 on match point. NRG would continue to hold possession for game four, going ahead thanks to Turbo scoring another open net, before Chicago was quick to respond off the kickoff. However, in what was probably the turning point of the series, with jstn demolished, Jknaps rifled a very threatening shot off the crossbar. The ball landed right in front of Jstn as he respawned and he immediately boomed it into an open G2 net. Fortunate that Jstn spawned there, but a great heads up play. Whether this demoralized G2 is up for speculation, but NRG never looked threatened after it. In the decisive game five, NRG would score five goals and take the series with authority, mostly down to GarrettG scoring when he wanted to, getting three spectacular goals of his own. Jknaps would score a brace in response but Jstn quite literally replicated his famous air dribble demo from the season eight grand finals to secure the series for NRG 3-2.
Here's the standings after week 7
Main image via ZeeboDesigns.