London Spitfire 3 - Los Angeles Valiant 2
The London Spitfire continued the trend of South Korean dominance by holding off the Los Angeles Valiant in a 3-2 victory Saturday to kick off the final set of matches for the second week of Overwatch League.
This series could have easily gone the other way with the Spitfire taking close wins on the first two maps and struggling to keep a lid on the Valiant. The Valiant made a trend of swapping its DPS players Brady "Agilities" Girardi and Ted "Silkthread" Wang on different map types, playing Silkthread on escort maps and Agilities on control point maps.
After falling behind 2-0 at the half, the Valiant came storming back and took Game 3 in dominant fashion, capping both points with relative ease. The Valiant then rolled right through London on Eichenwalde for a quick three points and then held the Spitfire to just one point on defense, setting up a tiebreaker showdown.
With its back against the wall, London came alive once again. London muscled Los Angeles off the point continually, keeping the Valiant held down at choke points on the map. On the back lines, star DPS Kim "birdring" Ji-Hyeok was landing headshots left and right as Widowmaker, crippling the Valiant's attempts to capture the control point on the Garden section of Lijiang Tower. As time dwindled, the Valiant simply resorted to throwing bodies at the point, but the Spitfire held strong against and avoided an upset.
With the Valiant's week of reckoning at an end, the team will look forward to its matchup against its cross-town rival the Los Angeles Gladiators at 11 p.m. ET Wednesday, while London will open up Week 3 at 7 p.m. ET that same day against the San Francisco Shock.
-- Travis Elliott
New York Excelsior 4 - Los Angeles Gladiators 0
After pulling the reverse-sweep on the Philadelphia Fusion to start the week, the Los Angeles Gladiators finished on a low note, being swept 4-0 by the New York Excelsior on Saturday in the Overwatch League.
The Gladiators have been an up-and-down squad, looking as clean and collected as its local counterpart, the Los Angeles Valiant, in some matches and then looking disheveled and lost in others. All throughout the series, the Gladiators struggled to capture the first point, often leaving the team scrambling against the clock for the ensuing points.
The Excelsior, meanwhile, were living right with the help of crowd-favorite DPS Kim "Pine" Do-Hyeon, who was subbed in for two maps during the series. Often lauded for coming up with huge multi-kills to secure a point, Pine showed he is more than just a walking highlight reel. On Oasis, Pine was often found away from his team in a flanking position, drawing the Gladiators away from the point to deal with his threat and allowing his team to set up a defensive position on the point.
While both teams have been criticized as undisciplined or unorganized, this match showcased the talent gap between the two squads. Los Angeles was reminded that it still needs to work on finding cohesion in its lineups regardless of which players are rotated into the game. The Excelsior get the win but perhaps won't truly have its flaws on display until several tough matches next week.
The Gladiators starts its slate of matches next week with a cross-town rivalry showdown against the Los Angeles Valiant at 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday, while the Excelsior has its plate full next week starting with the scrappy Philadelphia Fusion at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday.
-- Travis Elliott
San Francisco Shock 3 - Boston Uprising 2
The San Francisco Shock closed out Week 2 of the Overwatch League with a stunning 3-2 victory over the Boston Uprising.
San Francisco took an early 1-0 lead on Dorado as the underdog squad overthrew the Uprising thanks to some clever kills by the DPS duo of Andrej "Babybay" Francisty and Dante "Danteh" Cruz. While the Shock absolutely has its moments of greatness, inconsistency has thus far been its legacy, and it was no different Saturday with the Uprising grabbing an overwhelming victory in Game 2 thanks to star player Jonathan "DreamKazper" Sanchez's superb Genji play.
With the match tied 1-1, the Shock summoned its inner dragon slayer as the dynamic duo Babybay and Danteh put DreamKazper's pocket Genji to rest. First it was Danteh picking off a de-meched D.Va and Genji on round 1 of Oasis, then it was Babybay popping off with his McCree in the next round to the tune of four quick kills, including a stunning headshot on DreamKazper's Genji just as he had activated his Dragonblade.
Even in the face of this vaunted duo, the Uprising didn't give up without a fight. Led by the frightening defense of support SeHyun "Neko" Park on Zenyatta, Boston pulled out all the stops on Eichenwalde to send the series to a tiebreak. In that final game, the Shock opted to keep it fresh by switching Babybay onto Pharah, which ended up tilting the scales into the Shock's favor on the back of Babybay's high-flying play that dismantled the Uprising at every turn.
The San Francisco Shock will have its work cut out when facing the London Spitfire on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, while the Boston Uprising will also face off against the vaunted Spitfire in its first match next week at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday.