Los Angeles Gladiators 2 - Florida Mayhem 1
The Los Angeles Gladiators outlasted the Florida Mayhem in a close 2-1 series to open up Friday's action in the Overwatch League at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
As two of the biggest surprises in Stage 2, Friday's contest between the Gladiators and Mayhem was a highly anticipated matchup that no one would have found exciting a few weeks ago. Despite being bottom-tier teams in Stage 1, each has shown great improvement over the past two weeks. The Gladiators, however, stood strong against its surging foes thanks to its sturdy frontline.
While Los Angeles eventually walked away with the win, the series didn't go in its favor to start. Florida smartly identified main tank Baek "Fissure" Chan-hyung as the lifeblood of the Gladiators and made sure to focus him down at every opportunity. This hurt the Gladiators early, as it simply looked outmatched on the first two maps as Florida forced a draw on Volskaya Industries and took a 2-0 win on Nepal to get one map away from a third straight win.
The Mayhem had all the momentum on the back of its DPS duo of Andreas "Logix" Berghmans and Kevin "TivQ" Lindstrom to take a lead into halftime.
Despite being bogged down in the first half, Fissure showed why he's been so instrumental to the Gladiators with a blistering performance in the second half. On both Hollywood and Route 66, he led the charge with his high-powered Winston and left Florida's DPS with no room to maneuver.
With Fissure playing so well, DPS Joao Pedro "Hydration" Veloso de Goes Telles felt confident enough to even pull out a Doomfist and wreak havoc on the Mayhem during the attack side of Hollywood. The cohesive effort from Los Angeles allowed it to steamroll the second half to pick up a fourth straight win and put itself in a great position to make a surprising Stage 2 playoff appearance with a 6-2 record.
Both teams will now turn toward the final week of Stage 2 where the Gladiators will next take on the Philadelphia Fusion at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, with the Mayhem following it up with a matchup against the San Francisco Shock right after at 9 p.m. ET.
-- Wyatt Donigan
London Spitfire 3 - San Francisco Shock 1
After suffering a surprising loss to the Los Angeles Gladiators last week, the London Spitfire bounced back with a 3-1 victory against the San Francisco Shock on Friday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
London came into this series looking to prove that it was still one of the most dangerous squads in the league, and it did just that by easily handling the Shock. While San Francisco managed to defend well on every map, London was simply better at every step of the way.
In the first half, the Shock was seemingly always falling just short when it counted most. On Volskaya Industries in Game 1, the Shock had a golden opportunity to pick up an early win after holding London to just a single tick on the final point, but San Francisco couldn't even secure the first point with London completely clamping things down on the defensive end.
The story was the same on Nepal as anytime that San Francisco would gain time on the point, London was right there to remind everyone who the Stage 1 champions were.
Despite the shaky first half, credit is due to the Shock for finally showing up on Hollywood to open the second half. On the back of DPS Andrej "Babybay" Francisty and his surprisingly good play on Tracer, the Shock managed to full-hold London on the map to show an inkling of a second-half comeback. While that comeback never came to fruition with London again being stout on the defensive end, San Francisco still managed to show some signs of life against one of the best teams in the league.
With the win, London remains in the hunt for a playoff spot with a 5-2 record, trailing the 6-2 Gladiators.
London will face a tall task in its next match as it takes on the Seoul Dynasty at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, while the Shock will face a struggling Houston Outlaws squad in the next match at 6 p.m. ET.
-- Wyatt Donigan
Boston Uprising 3 - Los Angeles Gladiators 2
The Boston Uprising closed out its Week 4 in the Overwatch League with a close 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Valiant on Friday at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
After taking a 4-0 win earlier in the week against the Dallas Fuel, the Uprising managed
to secure a thrilling victory against the Los Angeles Valiant. Boston's standout performers of Stage 2, main tank Noh "Gamsu" Yeong-jin and DPS Gwon "Striker" Nam-ju, came up big again in this series. Gamsu was a wrecking ball on Winston, creating tons of space for his backline and pummeling the Valiant with a flurry of fists during his well-timed Primal Rage ultimates.
Meanwhile, Striker spent almost the entirety of the five-game series on Tracer, where he relentlessly bullied Los Angeles support player Benjamin "Unkoe" Chevasson, including four kills on the Valiant player in Game 1 on Volskaya alone.
Despite the loss, Los Angeles looked formidable thanks to some huge improvements by its two primary tank players, Lee "Envy" Kang-jae and Koo "Fate" Pan-seung. Both have made massive strides this season, but the Valiant isn't without weakness and needs more from its DPS players especially if it wants to continue being part of the season's playoff race.
Flex player Park "Kariv" Young-seo in particular had a tough time finding any sort of rhythm, and cycled through heroes faster like a downhill racer in the Tour de France. Kariv did find some promise on Reaper in Game 2 on Lijiang Tower, but his blunders far outweighed his successes.
The Boston Uprising next faces the San Francisco Shock at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, while the Los Angeles Valiant will square off against the Philadelphia Fusion at 6 p.m. ET on Friday.
-- Tyson Tavolazzi