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The Glendale Raptors Survive Against The Utah Warriors 36-29


The Utah Warriors hosted the the Glendale Raptors at Zions Bank Stadium for their first home match of the 2018 season. The Warriors gave the Raptors a scare, but the preseason favorites were able to hold out in the end. The Warriors played a physical match that caused the Raptors problems, but the Raptors were able to use their finesse style of play to pull out the victory.

Kurt Morath missed the first opportunity for points for the Warriors. After the Raptors were called for not rolling away, Morath pushed the penalty kick to the left. Will Magie was able to take advantage of a Warriors penalty. Magie's penalty kick puts the first points on the board after it went off the post and in.

Australian import Sam Figg scored the first try of the day. After a Raptors line break, Will Magie found Sam Figg on the wide part of the field with a long pass and Figg did the rest for the try. Kurt Morath converted a penalty kick to give the Warriors their first points of the day.

 Angus MacLellan dotted down for the Warriors. After being stopped short of the line, the Warriors went wide to MacLellan who fought off two Raptors' defenders for the try. Kurt Morath made the conversion that tied the game at 10.

Slow first half from both squads. Handling errors, big hits, and discipline issues abound. Utah proved that they can compete and their defense stepped up in a big way. Glendale had multiple chances for scoring opportunities, but let them slip through their hands.

Fetu'u Vanikolo put the Warriors into the lead just three minutes into the second half. After a line break from Tevita Tameilau, Vanikolo had the ball find its way into his hands where he ran through the Raptors arm tackles for the try. 

Harley Davidson and Peter Dahl combined to score the next two tries for the Raptors. Davidson's came after a nice chip kick that the Raptors were able to work down the field before he went over the try line. Dahl's try came after a few pick and goes for the Raptors. Magie made both conversions to give the Raptors a 24-17 lead.

A scary moment happened in the lead up to the Davidson try. Kelepi Fefita was taken off on a stretcher after being tackled by the Warriors. We all wish Kelepi the best and hope all of the medical activity is just precautionary. 

Tonata Lauti scored two straight tries for the Warriors. He beat the Raptors to the corner for the first try. He then raced 65 meters from the restart through the Raptors defense for the try. Morath went one for two on the conversions that gave the Warriors a 29-24 lead.

The Raptors decided they had enough and they stepped on the gas. Bryce Campbell and Mika Kruse scored two tries for the Raptors in the span of three minutes. Campbell out raced the Warriors to the try line after fighting his way through tackles.

Kruse's try came courtesy of Harley Davidson's hard work. Davidson weaved his way through the Utah defense before Kruse was found on the edge for the try. Magie went one for two on the conversions to give the Raptors a 36-29 lead.

The Warriors had a last shot to try to tie the game, but discipline cost them the opportunity. Utah was able to get the ball within a meter of the try line, but the Raptors repelled their pick and go multiple times. Utah was eventually called for not coming through the gate on the ruck and Glendale kicked to touch for the win.

Utah produced a great effort in this match. They had the Raptors on their back foot during portions of the match. And they almost had the upset in their hands. They just let up a moment too soon and the Raptors took advantage. There is plenty of positive takeaways for the Warriors. Their physicality will cause problems for some teams and they could be in the mix for a playoff spot.

The Raptors will be happy, but disappointed with the victory. They had multiple opportunities to score, but handling errors and discipline issues cost them. They played too high against the Warriors. Utah has physical runners that have to have their legs taken out to stop them, but the Raptors tried to tackle around the shoulders. They were without a couple starters and had multiple players go down with injury, but were able to pull it out in the end.

Utah has a short week to recover as they host Austin Elite in Herriman next Friday, May 11th in the CBSSports Game of the Week. The Glendale Raptors return on Mother's Day Sunday, May 13th as they welcome the San Diego Legion to Infinity Park.

Man of the Match
Glendale: Harley Davidson
Utah: Tonata Lauti

Scoring
Glendale

Tries: Sam Figg (16), Harley Davidson (49), Peter Dahl (59), Bryce Campbell (72), Mika Kruse (75)

Cons: Will Magie 4/5

Pens: Will Magie 1/1 (13)

Utah

Tries: Angus MacLellan (29), Fetu'u Vanikolo (43), Tonata Lauti 2 (64, 68)

Cons: Kurt Morath 3/4

Pens: Kurt Morath 1/2 (9 (missed), 27)

~Josh Fredlund