Coming into Sunday night’s match, Old Glory knew the were in for one of the toughest games of their season and they were not disappointed. San Diego’s class was not in short supply, and the hosts caused a lot of problems for the travelling DC side.
Old Glory were quick out of the gates in the first half, heaping the pressure on their hosts from the off and pushing for early points, setting the tone for what would prove to be a back-and-forth match.
San Diego responded with some offense of their own, and thought they had opened the scoring just before the ten minute mark, but an earlier obstruction infringement saw the points chalked off.
From there, both teams seemed ready to settle in for a tactical game, with both sides kicking tactically and trying to feel the other out, before Tito recovered his own kick, aided by a fortunate bounce, and ran the ball in to open the scoring, converting his own effort.
Celebrations were short-lived, however, as San Diego responded immediately, recovering their kick-off and tying the score at 7-7 after 13 minutes.
The stage was set for a tight game, with tensions running high in the California sun. As tempers flared, San Diego’s Nonu flew into a wild tackle on DC’s Boyd, making head contact with his shoulder but luckily escaping with just a yellow card.
DC took advantage of the man advantage, scoring through Mike “Chicken” Dabulas after a picture perfect sideline-to-sideline backs move. This try, unfortunately, was again quickly answered by San Diego, who produced an impressive attacking move fraught with offloads and eye-watering running lines which saw Te’o score to take the lead with ten minutes left in the half. San Diego went on to score one more penalty in the half, and DC found themselves behind by a score of 17-12 at halftime.
The second half was nothing short of chaotic. San Diego flew out of the gates, scoring twice in the first ten minutes of the half to take the score up to 29-12 in favor of the hosts, adding their fourth of the day around twenty minutes later following a more even period of play.
Old Glory rallied shortly afterwards, however, scoring two in quick succession through Lasaqa and Lefevre. Both tries utilised the pace and opportunistic nature of our attack exposing gaps in the San Diego backline and taking advantage of their mistakes.
The fairy tale comeback seemed to be on at that point, but Old Glory fans were brought crashing back down to Earth by a late San Diego scoring spree, adding two more tries to their tally in the dying moments of the match despite a spell of valiant Old Glory defending.
Despite the less than flattering 48-26 scoreline, Old Glory produced a performance to be proud of, scoring four tries and bagging an all-important bonus point against some of the stiffest opposition MLR has to offer. With players such as Mikey Te’o and All Blacks legend Ma’a Nonu causing problems all day, the OGs put in a fantastic shift, doing their best to limit the world class talent on display.
Following back-to-back losses, Old Glory face another road trip next time out, trekking to the Peach State to take on Rugby Atlanta. See you there!
-by Arthur Ferridge, @rthur_ferridge