Match Report: SaberCats vs. Rugby United New York
Rugby United New York -35
SaberCats – 8
By Liam Poach
A whole range of Good Boys showed up for Constellation Field’s ‘Bark in the Park’, a night in which Man’s Best Friend was celebrated while fans cheered on their hometown Houston SaberCats. While the crowd itself may have been adorable and fluffy, that didn’t necessarily reflect upon the action on the field, as the ‘Cats fell to a tough United New York opponent 35-8.
When examining the stats of this matchup, one would be almost surprised with the final score. Throughout the contest, the ‘Cats controlled 57% of possession to go along with a 60% territory advantage. So, the question is, how did the end result come about?
Well, it comes down to opportunities and efficiency. In terms of the latter, RUNY ended the night with 505 meters gained on a total of 100 passes, putting their average MPP (meters per pass) at 5.05. Meanwhile, the ‘Cats came out with a slightly higher total of 650 meters gained, but on a higher pass count of 137 for an average 4.74 MPP. So when it came down to it, New York appeared to have made their movements count a lot more with the ball in hand.
When it came to opportunities, it was a tale of two halves. On the night, New York committed a total of 13 penalties compared to the SaberCats’ 9. However, the ‘Cats committed 5 of those penalties in the second half, while New York kept their own indiscretions mostly relegated to the first. In a game where Houston was faced with the prospect of playing catch-up, the late game breakdown in discipline and execution was certainly a factor in the end result being what it was.
When it comes to standout players, it was the usual suspects as Josua Vici (8.81 MPC), Malacchi Esdale (14.4 MPC), and Jamie Dever (Man of the Match, 6 MPC) lit up the stat sheet with a number of physical runs that could have broken the game wide open. Esdale himself had a long run that greatly affected his Meters Per Carry, which would have resulted in a try had a teammate not knocked it on in his attempt to offload.
Meanwhile, Houston’s scrum slightly won the battle up front, winning 100% of their own put-ins compared to just a 92% mark from RUNY. If this kind of steady performance from the forward pack continues this season, it should create more and more favorable offensive phases, which in theory should result in more wins.
Next week, the ‘Cats will travel to Seattle, where the Seawolves haven’t lost since week one of the inaugural MLR season. If the ‘Cats can build upon their strengths in the scrum and get better at executing on the outside, there’s every chance that a season-changing swing of momentum could come to fruition in the Pacific NorthWest.
Photo Credit: BigShotsSnapShot Media Group
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