The San Diego Legion Shock The Houston Sabercats 35-32


In the CBSSports Game of the Week, the San Diego Legion welcomed the Houston Sabercats to Torero Stadium. The Legion produced a shock result with a last second try. The Sabercats will be disappointed to walk away with the loss, but they committed too many errors and missed too many tackles. This may well end up match of the year.

The Sabercats were first on the board. Osea Kolinisau was across for the try after being in support for Alex Elkins. Sam Windsor continued his strong season by extending the Sabercats lead with a penalty kick. The Legion struck back with a beautiful team try from Anthony Salaber. The Legion stole the lineout and went almost end to end before Salaber received the offload for the try.

Salaber added a second try for a brace just five minutes later. Dylan Audsley was able to break through the Houston defense, had Connor Murphy hanging on his back, and was able to offload to Salaber for the try. Sam Windsor added a penalty kick to bring Houston within a point.

Windsor added the next try for the Sabercats. After a number of meters gained by Alex Elkins, Connor Murphy was able to find Sam Windsor in space for the try. Anthony Salaber completed the first half hat trick after a beautiful blindside play from the Legion. Nate Augsperger and Ryan Matyas combined for the play. Matyas was able to run through a couple tackles before the ball came into Salaber's hands.

The Legion scrum showed in the first half vast improvement from their week one performance against Seattle. They forced the Sabercats scrum onto their backfoot multiple times.

The Legion led 21-20 at halftime. San Diego started slow but picked it up as the half went on. Handling errors from both squads early forced a slow pace, but it turned into an open, running game of rugby as the half went on. Houston will need to work on the missed tackles, as all of the Legion's tries in the first half came as a result of missed tackles.

Sam Windsor got the scoring started with a penalty kick after San Diego was called for not rolling away. Pat Blair got the lead back for the Legion. After a cross field kick that the Sabercats were able to recover and maul their way forward, JP Du Plessis stole the ball from the maul and got down into the redzone, where Blair was waiting in support to get over for the try.

Windsor had another shot to bring Houston into the lead. This time with a kick from just inside the halfway line. He had the leg, but pushed it left. Windsor did redeem himself five minutes later. The Sabercats took the points on offer after a Legion scrum penalty.

Osea Kolinisau pulled a veteran move for the Sabercats. Realizing they were only up a point, Kolinisau converted a drop kick with about five minutes left in the match. It wasn't the prettiest kick, but it put them up by four points. This forced the Legion to play for the try, instead of taking their time.

Just to prove that this is a fight to the last minute game, the Legion scored a try to win in extra time. Tony Purpura got the try for San Diego after multiple pick and goes for the Legion.

Houston will be disappointed with their performance in this match. They missed multiple tackles that led to Legion points and had handling errors in key areas on the field. They had a better scrum performance in the second half after being pushed around in the first half. They will need to work on their offense as the boot of Sam Windsor was the only thing keeping them in this game.

The Legion proved that they shouldn't be discounted in any match this season. They had a better scrum in the first half, but reverted to their old ways in the second half. San Diego will also have to work on their discipline as they gave away too many penalties that led to Houston points. They will be proud of the way they finished especially after a back and forth match on a short week.

Houston has a bye next week. The Legion will have to pick themselves up as they travel to Colorado to take on the Raptors.

Man of the Match
Houston: Sam Windsor
San Diego: Anthony Salaber

Scoring
Houston

Tries: Osea Kolinisau (9), Sam Windsor (31)

Cons: Sam Windsor 2/2

Pens: Sam Windor 5/6 (11, 26, 44, 56, 63 (missed), 68)

Drop Goal: Osea Kolinisau (75)

Yellow Card: Pago Haini 80 (multiple penalties, no clear release)

San Diego

Tries: Anthony Salaber 3 (17, 22, 34), Pat Blair (51), Tony Purpura (80)

Cons: Dylan Audsley 4/4, Ben Cima 1/1

Pens: None attempted

~Josh Fredlund