Washington Justice (2-14) vs. Los Angeles Gladiators (11-6)
After two disheartening losses so far in Stage Three, the Washington Justice faced their toughest opponents of the stage on Sunday. The Los Angeles Gladiators have had a stellar 2019 season. They’re in fourth place in the overall standings and 2-1 in this stage, with their only loss to the unstoppable Vancouver Titans. Even a close fight seemed unlikely for Washington. Could they defy expectations in this clash of the shieldbearers?
Junhwa “Janus” Song, Tank
Hyang Gi “Sansam” Kim, Tank
Corey “Corey” Nigra, DPS
Gi Hyeon “Ado” Chon, DPS
Nikola “sleepy” Andrews, Support
Yeonjun “ArK” Hong, Support
Map 1: Nepal
Sanctum started out well for the Justice with ArK knocking Gui-un “Decay” Jang into the pit during the first fight. The Gladiators disengaged quickly to minimize their losses, allowing Washington to take first control. They held until overtime, when the Gladiators retook the point. Los Angeles would run control all the way back and win in a long overtime battle, 100-99.`
On Village, the Gladiators took first possession, but the Justice would take it back at 50 percent. They put together an impressive hold for several minutes, maintaining a solid ultimate advantage, until LA retook the point at 77 percent. The Justice couldn’t retake the point a second time and the Gladiators secured the point, 100-77.
Score: Los Angeles 2-0 Washington
Map 2: Horizon Lunar Colony
On Washington’s defense, the Gladiators began with a split push, which the Justice quickly stopped. After wiping, LA pushed directly onto point A in the traditional 3-3 manner and took it easily. While Washington retained most of their ultimates to defend point B, Void ate Corey’s Graviton Surge and the Gladiators finished with 5:20 in the bank.
The Gladiators’ defense maintained the same momentum. Washington made multiple pushes in from both sides of the map, but Decay’s consistent high charge and quickly-built Graviton Surges kept them from making any progress on the point. The Justice finished the map with only two kills between both rounds.
Score: Los Angeles 2-0 Washington
Map 3: Numbani
The Gladiators made a handful of reckless pushes on their first attack, feeding valuable ult charge to the Justice. Washington maintained the advantage to nearly hold the point, but Benjamin “BigG00se” Isohanni faked a retreat only to re-engage with ten seconds left on the clock. The Gladiators took point A, but the Justice held solid just around the first corner.
Washington’s attack, however, would prove less fruitful than their defense. The Gladiators held solid, making solid first kills on each Justice attack. After a number of deaths on offense, Lane “Surefour” Roberts made several strong picks as Brigitte on defense, and the Gladiators took the map with a full hold.
Score: Los Angeles 1-0 Washington
Map 4: Havana
The Gladiators didn’t take their foot off the gas, pushing through the first point in just a couple of fights. The Justice held briefly at point A and halfway through B, but couldn’t slow LA’s momentum. With less than 4 meters to go, Corey threw in a Hail Mary Graviton that led to a team wipe. This bought the Justice some time, but Jun-Woo “Void” Kang caught sleepy in a Self-Destruct that would win LA the map completion in overtime.
Washington’s offense looked nearly as fruitless as those on Horizon and Numbani, but seconds from overtime, the Justice managed to shove their way through point A and renew the clock. The momentum was short-lived, however, and the Gladiators stopped them around the first corner.
Score: Los Angeles 3-1 Washington
Final Score: Los Angeles 4-0 Washington
While the match was a disappointment for Washington, it was at least an unsurprising one. They played to about the same level as they have in their last few matches. This was simply a week full of tough opponents. The Justice still have a lot of improvements to make, but if they can make them in the next couple of weeks, they may be able to avoid a winless stage.
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