The start of MLR 2020 is less than two weeks away, which means teams are concluding their preseasons and tightening the screws ahead of Week 1.
With three new teams, and many more new faces to the league, it can be tricky to try and predict how this new season will turn out. Seattle and San Diego are sure to be the obvious favorites, but RUNY, Toronto, NOLA, and Glendale are all dark horses.
Excluding hit-outs against local club teams, here's a look at some of the scores thus far throughout the preseason:
|Rugby ATL||34-33||NOLA Gold|
|Seattle Seawolves||55-0||Vancouver Island|
|Houston Sabercats||19-29||Tasman Mako|
|Utah Warriors||5-33||Toronto Arrows|
|NE Freejacks||39-7||NE Independents|
|Old Glory DC||90-21||Navy|
|Colorado Raptors||32-26||Rugby ATL|
|Seattle Seawolves||29-21||Tasman Mako|
|Houston Sabercats||12-47||NOLA Gold|
|Old Glory DC||35-17||Rugby ATL|
|Austin Herd||21-22||Colorado Raptors|
|San Diego Legion||61-14||Utah Warriors|
|NE Freejacks||84-21||NE Independents|
- You have to be careful not to read too much into preseason play, as teams may be trying out different structures, patterns, and combinations, but these early tests could give us somewhat of a clue moving forward.
- Old Glory DC looks to be legit, after the men from the nation's capital followed up a massive victory over D1A contender Navy with an impressive home win against Rugby ATL. Fans will have to be pleased with what they've seen from their new team ahead of their inaugural campaign.
- Rugby ATL got off to a great start with an exciting win at home against NOLA, before hitting the road and dropping a pair of games to Colorado and DC. Despite the losses, Atlanta was competitive in both games, and will certainly win some games this year.
- NOLA's huge win over the Sabercats was a nice bounce back from their defeat to Rugby ATL, as well as a good reminder to everyone that there's a reason the Gold were at the top of the table for most of last season.
- The two-time defending champion Seawolves have looked their usual efficient selves in preseason, demolishing Vancouver Island and handling a young Tasman Mako side from New Zealand's Mitre 10 Cup.
- The Sabercats, after an encouraging showing, albeit in a loss, against the Tasman Mako, came out the next week and laid an egg. Falling behind 33-0 to NOLA at halftime, the Cats were never in the match. Again, it's preseason, but Houston will need to bring more than that if it expects to compete this season.
- The Utah Warriors are another team that needs a spark after two lackluster results in their recent preseason slate. Big losses to both Toronto and San Diego don't bode well for the upcoming season, but there's still much that could come into play during the regular season which we haven't seen in the exhibitions.
- The Colorado Raptors seem to have progressed well this offseason. The Glendale-based outfit has notched a pair of wins thus far over fellow MLR foes Atlanta and Austin. In a tough MLR West division with San Diego and Seattle, Glendale will need to pick up wins every chance it gets.
- The Austin Herd have had just their one real exhibition, but the one-point loss to Glendale is a sign that last year's rebranded 0-16 team has made real strides and could well be a real factor in 2020.
- The third new side to the league, the New England Freejacks, showed marked improvement over seven days, as they battled the New England Independents twice, increasing their margin of victory from 32 points to 63.
- Toronto looked good in its first matchup with Utah out in Las Vegas. They had a controlled scrimmage/practice session the ensuing week with RUNY, which surely benefitted both sides. Scores, however, were not kept.