By Colton Strickler
The Glendale Raptors final regular season match at Infinity Park couldn’t be any larger. When the undefeated Raptors take the pitch at 7 PM on Saturday evening to play the Seattle Seawolves, there will be a ton on the line.
The first-place Raptors (6-0) will take on the Seawolves (6-1) in a match that will serve not only as a Week 2 rematch but could also potentially serve as a preview of the MLR Championship that will take place in San Diego on July 7. While both Glendale and Seattle have clinched spots in the MLR Playoffs, Saturday’s match could play a huge role in seeding ahead of the tournament. Both the Raptors and the Seawolves will enter the match with 29 points on the season. The winner will walk off the pitch atop the league standings.
Glendale handed Seattle their only defeat in a 19-15 slugfest back in Week 2. While the Raptors never trailed in the match, it was far from a runaway victory.
Offense hasn’t been a problem for the Raptors in 2018. They’ve averaged over 35 points-per-match through six weeks of the season, placing them nearly four points higher than the second-place Seawolves, and have pumped those numbers up in their last two matches.
The Raptors enter Saturday’s match as one of the hottest, if not the hottest, team in Major League Rugby over the last two weeks. After back-to-back bye weeks, the Raptors have returned to action with dominant wins in consecutive weeks. Even without the six key contributors the Raptors lost to the United States Men’s National team, Glendale used the 32 points that wing Harley Davidson, who scored three tries, and current flyhalf Maximo de Achaval manufactured to defeat the Houston SaberCats 37-24.
Although the Raptors have outscored their opponents 84-34 in the last two weeks, those points aren’t going to be as easy to come by on Saturday afternoon. The Seawolves boast one of the top defenses in the MLR and have allowed just 26 points in June. Through six matches, the Seawolves have shown that they have the ability to keep the Raptors in check. The 19 points the Raptors scored in their Week 2 victory over the Seawolves is the lowest amount of points that the Raptors have scored all season and the only time they haven’t scored at least 30 points in the MLR.
Fortunately for the Raptors, they’ll have two of the top 10 try scorers in the MLR in Davidson and forward Zach Fenoglio at their disposal. Davidson’s six tries on the season places him in a tie for first place with Austin Elite Rugby flanker Hanco Germishuys while Fenoglio’s three tries places him in 10th place.
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 Saturday, June 16 will be air live at 7:00 PM Mountain Time on AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain. ESPN+ will be airing the Raptors – Seawolves match live as well online or via their app.