By Colton Strickler.
For the first time in nearly a month, the Raptors will be back under the lights at Infinity Park, bringing their 5-0 record back to Glendale for their third home match of the season to take on the Houston SaberCats on Friday, June 8 at 7 PM Mountain Time. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two sides.
After back-to-back bye weeks, Glendale picked up a dominant 47-10 win on the road over the fifth place NOLA Gold to maintain the only unblemished record in Major League Rugby. This week, they’ll have their hands full with the explosive backline of a 1-5 SaberCats side desperate for a win to keep them alive in the hunt for the MLR Playoffs.
As Glendale aims to pick up their sixth win of the season and regain the top spot in the standings, they’re going to have to do it with a different roster than the one they’ve used through the first five matches. Six Raptors were selected to be a part of the USA Men’s National Team as they compete in the three-game United State’s June test series beginning on Sunday, June 9 in Denver. The Raptors will be without center Bryce Campbell, scrum-half Shaun Davies, hooker Dylan Fawsitt, lock Ben Landry, fly half Will Magie, and flanker John Quill for not only Friday’s match, but the next two matches as well.
The Raptors may be without six key contributors, but they certainly aren’t short on talent. They’ll rely on several of their top try-scorers in utility forward Zach Fenoglio and wing Harley Davidson to help them keep up with the league-leading 34.8 points per match they’ve been able to post through five matches.
Despite possessing the only undefeated record in the MLR, the Raptors find themselves in second place in the league standings. Their 24 points on the season trail only the 5-1 Seattle Seawolves, who sit atop the table with 25 points. The Seawolves only loss came in a 19-15 Week 2 match to the Raptors in Seattle. Any variation of a win against the SaberCats on Friday night could propel the Raptors right back to the top of the leaderboard.
No one should be deceived by the seventh place SaberCats’ record. The talented SaberCats’ side hasn’t had many breaks come their way through the first six games of the season, and their point differential reflects that. They’ve only been outscored by a total of 19 points this season. The SaberCats will have more than enough firepower with them when they come to town on Friday night.
Fans attending the match are encouraged to show up early to enjoy a wide variety of pre-game activities taking place in the fan zone on the south end of the stadium. The fan zone will be open at 5 PM.
Throughout the inaugural MLR season, CBSSN will broadcast the game of the week, with non-game of the week matches broadcast by AT&T Sports Net or Cox Communications, and also available through ESPN+.
The match on Friday, June 8 will be aired at 10:30 PM Mountain Time on AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain. ESPN+ will be airing the Raptors – Sabercats match live online or via their app.