Fury’s Early Lead Holds Up Against Riot In Solstice Finals

Fury took round one of the classic rivalry game.

Fury v. Riot at 2014 Nationals
Fury v. Riot at 2014 Nationals. Photo by Jolie Lang — UltiPhotos.com

This recap was written by Topher Davis. 

San Francisco Fury and Seattle Riot battled it out in their first matchup of the year in the finals of Eugene’s Summer Solstice this past weekend. Fury looked to have a strictly business mindset, wearing the blue jersey set from last year’s Nationals; names and numbers on all the jerseys is rare to see this early in the season. Riot, on the other hand, was sporting kooky dresses and brightly colored spandex, which has now become a familiar look for the team at this tournament.

The game began with Riot scoring the first point on offense, and Fury responding by putting in their first offensive point. Then Fury went on a huge scoring run, getting four breaks in a row, taking advantage of sloppy play by the Riot offense. Riot was finally able to stop the bleeding at 5-2 and nearly got a break in the next point, as Kelly Johnson knocked down a pass intended for Alex Snyder on the goal line. Fury got it back, however, and both offenses end up trading holds until half, 8-4.

Coming out of the half Fury scores their offensive possession with ease and scores a break on their first defensive point of the half. It looked like Fury might run away with the second half as well as the first, but Riot had other plans. Riot got their first goal of the half to make it 10-5, and then rattled off two breaks on Fury errors to shorten the lead to three.

At this point in the game the wind picks up from a light breeze to a much more gusty wind, turning the game into an upwind/downwind zone fest. Both teams started stacking up turnovers and the points become longer battles of determination over smooth flow. Riot is able to win these battles consistently, getting a break about every other defensive point, and slowly chip away at a the comfortable lead Fury had put themselves in at the beginning of the game. And with each break, the energy started to build on the Riot sideline, but Fury extinguished it all with a break point late in the game to expand a two point lead back to three, 13-10.

Maybe they were feeling like their backs were to the wall, like it was now or never, because Riot scored three straight to tie the game at 13-13, the first tie game since 1-1. Even with the pressure of the comeback and the now very pro-Riot sideline, Fury did not appear flustered on the field. They never yielded the lead they had built, scoring the next offensive point to stay up one. Both teams traded scores against very tough defenses, Fury’s defense needing to get a break to end the game, and Riot just trying to get an edge on their rivals. Finally at 15-14, Fury got the disc on a missed shot to the end zone from Riot, and scored the game winner: 16-14 final.

There are always a lot of expectations for these two teams, and this game gives us a preview of what to expect later in the year. Riot obviously struggled early offensively, but this team will surely thrive on their defensive intensity, and as shown can never be considered out of the game. Fury had an impressive start to the game, and often were turnover free on both offensive and defensive possessions. With that kind of scoring efficiency, I expect Fury to be the team this year that takes the lead and never looks back against most teams in the division.

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