RLC Pro League Week 7 Recap | NA
Our 3 matches in NA on Sunday consisted of Failure to Launch taking on Apollo 11, Orange Creamsicle versus Mock-it Esports followed by iBUYPOWER Cosmic against Untethered. Every one of these match ups had playoff implications, too many of which to break down what could have happened. We’re here to talk about what did happen and why.
Failure to Launch started us off with an absolute stomping of Apollo 11. With less than a minute expired in the match expired we saw Genocop score his first of 11 goals this series. Apollo 11 took the lead back with PrimeThunder’s second goal with 3 minutes left. 5 goals in just over a minute should explain just what was happening here, loose defense on both sides with a bit too much risk taking. FTL’s response to this was to set into a 2 players forward, 1 player back rotation and apply high pressure with the 2 forward. A11 took to turtling when on defence with minimal pressure applied near midfield and a focus on keeping long shots out. This allowed FTL to force save attempts at shots placed just above and to the side of goal, the rebounds of which they capitalized on twice to give them the 4-3 win.
Game 2 only went scoreless for 7 seconds before Genocop scored his 5th goal. Huskih tied it up and put his team ahead, capitalizing on 2 large mistakes by FTL. Genocop’s 6th goal came from a missed clear by PrimeThunder with his only defensively positioned teammate, Azi, already having started to transition to offense. Huskih’s missed clear shortly after resulted in the go ahead goal for FTL, Genocop’s 7th. At this point he’s at 100% shot percentage for the series, putting home all 7 shots he took. Though there were some gimmes in there, this stat alone really does tell you the story of games 1 and 2. Genocop was on fire and wouldn’t accept a position that gave them no playoff opportunities. With a minute and half to go PrimeThunder double touches what is ultimately the game winner into his own goal, sealing the tilt to come.
Apollo 11 lost the third game 5-0. Failed clears, double commitment to aerials, missed shot opportunities, more weak clears. They did just about everything wrong they could. The apparent need to play more defensively ultimately hurt their defense. Hesitant, no-man’s land positioning put them too far from a challenge and too far from their goal. Game 4 followed a similar trend ending 7-2 in Failure to Launch’s favor. Apollo 11 appeared to recover some but Genocop’s 11th and Sid’s 10th and 11th goals on the day secured the clean sweep for FTL. This put playoff spots in a very interesting position. The possibility of the only team to qualify through the Open Qualifier tournament to advance all the way into the playoffs was nigh.
If Mock-it managed to take at least 2 games off of Orange Creamsicle it would knock OC out of the playoffs and put FTL into 4th place. With no chance left of getting into the playoffs, Moc still played their hearts out, reminiscent of the NoT team that once shared 1st place. To quote Kyle Masc, “no throwing for skins.” Game 1 started off a little messy from both sides, each team trying to fall into a rhythm but OC succeeding well before Moc. Multiple double commitments for aerials put a lone defender in a hard spot for Moc and each member from Blue Creamsicle capitalized on it this game putting them ahead a game with a 5-1. Game 2 showed us that Kyle Masc can still play like the MLG days of...only a couple months ago. Quinn Lobdell put in an 8 second goal to start it off, but OC were unable to muster any more offense throughout the game. Solid clears and weak offensive play development held both teams to only a goal each in regulation. Kyle’s opportune shot on an out of position OC secured the first win for Moc. Game 3 brought in 2 more goals from Quinn and another for Kyle. Both teams brought full pressure forward and rotated all 3 back into defense well, but the beautiful redirect and the placement shot from Quinn were almost undefendable. Low5ive’s mind game of a pass to Kyle made every goal in this game worthy of the highlight reel. There were multiple opportunities for both teams to counterattack that were squandered and in the end the hard pressured attacks were what paid off. Moc was knocking on the door though, putting 8 shots on frame to OC’s 2. Somehow Quinn scored 2 goals by taking only 1 shot this game.
8 shots for OC and 9 for Moc resulted in only 3 goals in game 4, causing multiple heart attacks and a lack of air in the crowd from repetitive gasping as shots were sent off crossbars, goalposts and hoods of cars just inches from the goal. The first 2 minutes didn’t favor either team greatly, both having good opportunities and clutch defensive work. Momentum shifted with neither team able to develop long term pressure on their opponent’s defence. Whenever a mistake was made there was an ally following behind for the save or clear. Goal 1 came from none other than Quinn Lobdel just after the halfway mark from a pair of bad clears dropping the ball in front of the net for an easy tap in. It’s key to note that Moc did not allow Gambit to execute his typical aerial prowess, rising to meet him on every occasion. Multiple stopped aerial dribbles may have gotten to him, as at the end of the 4th minute of play he was fed a perfectly paced and placed back pass only to knock it square off the wall allowing Kyle Masc a free shot at an empty net. The game was tied and everyone watching was on the edge of their chairs to see if this was the game that takes OC out of the playoffs. Pressure throughout the last minute was heavily in Mock-it’s favor and they maintained momentum into OT. 2 more blocked aerial attacks on Gambit and some key clears held off the scoring opportunities for OC. Just shy of 2 minutes into extra time Kyle Masc got a key block on a clear attempt from Quinn that popped the ball from the corner high into mid over the goal. Edwind way down field gathering boost, left Gambit alone in goal. His hasty retreat left him literally inside the goal long after Klassux took to the air. With little more than 12 boost to his name, Gambit wouldn’t have had a chance to contest from the ground anyway. The chance to freestyle a free shot was passed up by Klassux and he opted to place it high and center with his wheels, ending OC’s chances at a post season and putting in the ultimate underdogs, FTL, in their stead.
Game 5 was for pride and nothing else. It took 2 minutes for Low5ive to get his only goal of the series, though having played an instrumental defensive role in their 2 victories. For once Moc left Gambit alone in the air and were punished with one of the dirtiest redirects seen in the Pro League thus far off a hard pass from Quinn. The pressure that Moc had put on in the previous 3 games had worn off somewhat and Orange Creamsicle was allowed to build offensive opportunities, on which they capitalized twice more.
Given only 1 game to relax, the fight for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place NA seeds was on the line with iBP up against Untethered. Long time rivals, Untethered has shown to be one of the few teams to constantly give Cosmic issues. Uncharacteristic season lows of 3 goals from Kronovi, 1 assist from Gibbs and 3 goals from Sadjunior is very telling of how this ended. Gibbs actually outscored both of his notoriously offensive teammates with 4 goals this series. The goal scoring powerhouse that is Gibbs took to the ice early to put in the first goal of the series off an aggressive back pass from Vafele that flew over Lachinio’s head. The pair that made the mistake took time to respond but posted 3 goals between the two of them. The slippery surface of DFH Snowy seemed to keep the ball relatively grounded except for a few occasions. The lack of high air play seemed to suit Unt far more than iBP.
Game 2 gave the impression that Cosmic were determined to play a possession based game, possibly from the recent play with Amoney, possibly out of fear of the power clears that Untethered consistently turned into goals. The settles, dribbles and short passes were interrupted on all occasions with the only exception being Gibbs’ redirect opportunity that forced a save attempt out of Pluto, which Gibbs instead delicately dropped back and in front of the goal for Sad to slam home. The lone goal was not enough to counteract the two from Lachinio, both of which coming from long clears with no one back for iBP to save or challenge. Kro came back into form about 2 minutes into game 3 on Wasteland in a game that saw considerably more aerial play than the previous 2. Well positioned for rebounds on the first and second goal, he showed his familiarity of the slightly different map. Taking advantage of an out of position Unt, he fed Sadjunior an easy aerial goal for the third. Pluto responded quickly with a goal off a stuff from Vafele but it seemed only to start the Gibbs pain train. An opportune rebound followed by one hell of a pass from kronovi and a 0:03 chip shot from half field gave Gibbs as many goals in one game as his teammates each scored over the course of 5.
The closest game of the set was the 4th. The first goal from Pluto saw Kronovi backflip over the ball as it rolled just past him and into the net. A weak clear game from iBP allowed Vafele to pop the ball center for Lachinio’s easiest goal of the series. Not to be outdone, Untethered cleared the ball as softly as possible on the next kickoff for Kronovi to put a shot right off of Sadjunior’s hood. iBP’s rotations seemed to come together a bit smoother as the game progressed, resulting in a dive bomb goal from Kronovi to force overtime. A well predicted pass from Kronovi on the part of Pluto gave Unt the game winning goal and secured their 3rd place position as well as Cosmic’s 2nd place. With nothing more to gain or lose for both teams they took to Underpass for game 5. Plenty of high flying action, boost trails filling the cyberspace themed sky, lead to absolutely zero offensive pressure from either team. Difficulty judging back wall bounces and the upper deck of the map put both teams at an equal disadvantage. The loan goal in the game was chased down high clear from Vafele put home by Lachinio. Gibbs’ diving save attempt from the second story had him flying just by the ball.
A blowout, a won series but a lost playoff spot, and an ultimately inconsequential fight between 2nd and 3rd place. We have a team that had once shared 1st place in the power rankings at the bottom of the table, the ultimate underdogs securing a playoff berth and the Kings maintaining their thrown. Catch RLC on Friday as we host the International All Star Game and Skills Challenge. The home field preference will be decided in the game between the player voted all star from each playoff team. We’ll see high flying aerials, time trialed dribbling and who is the best keeper in the game. Saturday will be the quarterfinals where you’ll see #1 KoU, #2 iBP, #3 Unt and #4 FTL battle against their European counterparts for the first time in the Rocket League Central Pro League. Check back soon for the stories and analysis from EU’s week 7 matches.
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