After a long season with more games than any previous, we’ve reached championship weekend for season eleven of MLE. This season we expanded to five leagues which means five champions will be crowned and a lot of history will be made. Seven franchises have a shot at winning their first ever championship. Both the Elite and Tyrants have a chance to be the first team to hold four titles, while the Outlaws are looking to be the fourth team to enter the three title club. There’s going to be a lot to play for so be sure to tune in to catch all the action on the MLE Twitch Channel.
foundation League Final
#3 Demolition vs. #3 Hive @5PM EST on MLESPORTSGG
The Demolition and Hive are two teams that have yet to win a championship. After the Foundation League finals, one of them will take home their first. And what better way to do it than with a pair of players fresh to the franchise as well as the league. These rookies are only beginning to learn the history of their teams and will now be shaping it. Whether this brings more pressure or less only they can say.
On every Foundation League team, there is a fair amount of turnover. That’s the simple fact of having a low-level league, players are going to improve and move up. But the Hive has seemed to be a revolving door of players this season. Yet despite that, they have each time found new players that are able to maintain the level of competitive play to keep them on top. Perhaps it is the brilliance of the Hive franchise that they have ended the season with two of the best players in the Foundation League this season. Woah and Sir Lunix looked confident in their first series of the playoffs. In their second series, they looked superb. Combining for 19 goals on 41 shots in a 4-0 sweep is what I would define as a dominating Foundation League offense.
Both are beginning to show the mechanical ability that not only makes them a good bet for their playoff match but should also have some Academy League scouts paying attention for next season’s draft. Watching them grow in their comfort level in the air and on the walls from their first match to their second match was incredible. It was as if the Jets had been given one week to prepare while the Hive had been given a month of grinding in between the first and second round of playoffs. If they continue on this trajectory of building chemistry and confidence in their play it may be all double touches and redirects in the finals.
The Demo conquered two playoff favorite teams in the league to get to where they are. They stunned both the Outlaws and the Spectre with solid defense and great counter attacks. What has impressed me the most about the team’s wins is just how they’ve been able to break down their opponents with team plays. In the conference finals, Sobe and UhSpicey combined for 11 assists on 19 goals. Everything that the Demo did seemed to be to help their teammates make the play. This pair looked in sync for the majority of their 4-0 sweep and not just on the offensive side. Facing off against the number one dribbler in the League the Demo pushed up and challenge Lavar Ball early, dominating the midfield and giving the Spectre no space to make a play. They face off against talented mechanical players in the final but if their chemistry and team play holds strong they’ll end up controlling the possession and the series.
Both teams look primed to have a great final but only one can take the championship. In a best of seven series look for these players to push the limits of what people have seen from the Foundation League. You’ll see aerial solo plays, team passing plays, and aggressive bump plays. And at the end of it all, we’ll have two brand new champions who are sure to cement themselves as future MLE stars.
Academy League Finals
#7 Tyrants vs. #2 Puffins @6:30PM EST on MLESPORTSGG
No matter who wins the Academy League Finals on Saturday it will be another history-making moment for MLE. If the Tyrants take the victory they will be the first 7 seed to win a championship. If the Puffins win it will be the first title in the franchise’s history. Each of these teams wants this win for their franchise as well as for themselves but only one team can walk away the victor. Who will finish off an amazing Academy League playoffs with a win?
What seems to be the strength of the Tyrants throughout their playoff run is the consistency of both Cheeto and DDia on offense and defense. Both players appear composed on both sides of the pitch. They know their rotations and know when to boost steal, which happens swiftly and often. The story of this Tyrants team has been an underdog tale but perhaps one that most people never saw as unexpected. DDia and Cheeto have put up stellar performances throughout the season and their record didn’t quite reflect the talent at the top of this roster.
But they proved their worth in facing off against the 2nd and 1st seeds in their first two rounds. They managed to stun high powered offenses and staunch defenses. The pair has been faster than all their opponents beating teams to the challenge and never hesitating to watch a play develop. The other stand out has been their dominance on the 50/50. Even during close games plays seem to pinch in their favor with a consistency that speaks to how strong these two players are at the challenge game. This is a team that has been forged in fire and won’t be thrown off by any attack. If the Puffins don’t have an answer for their viper like strikes they may just shock yet another high seed and snatch the title for themselves.
The combination of Bango and AubreyE has been a duo with chemistry and momentum that most in the Academy League knew could make a playoff run. Within the Puffins franchise, however, that feeling of being the underdog has never gone away. Having put together a number of potential teams that fell short, the franchise is still searching for its first franchise title. If ever there was a team to push them to victory it’s Bango and AubreyE.
Bango is the flashier of the two and is the most likely candidate for highlight plays of any person left in the final. Their comfort in the air and shot placement is what helped them take down the first seeded Hawks in the conference finals. But the silent backbone of the team has been the defense and playmaking of AubreyE. AubreyE has put in a slew of great goal-line saves throughout the playoffs and has been feeding backboard passes to Bango throughout the series. It’s a team with very specific roles but they play them both very well. When the Puffins are allowed to play their brand of Rocket League they can control the game and take on any opponent. It may be just a formula that wins them a championship.
This matchup is a clash of two different seeds and two different speeds and two different styles. But despite that I expect this to be a back and forth series. Both these teams have a lot of determination and they won’t be giving up easily. There will be many close series this weekend but If only one goes the distance I expect it to be this one.
Champion League finals
#1 Elite vs #7 Hawks @8PM EST on MLESPORTSGg
This is truly a match to behold. If any of you reading this are also hockey fans it might remind you of the St. Louis Blues vs. Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Final last year. It sure does for me. The Elite has been in the upper echelon of the Champion League for the whole season while the Hawks squeak in as a low seed and have done all but win the season 11 trophy for the mantle. Only one final challenge remains for the Hawks and it is a doozy.
The Elite play Champion League Car Soccer like no other team I’ve seen. Usually, players will haphazardly fall into rolls for a game or two but it seems to me that Pandamazing and Wubby had a plan from the get-go to make Wubby the playmaker and Panda the striker. The synergy I saw from them last weekend was a whole new level from what I’ve come to expect; full-field lobs into redirects, cross-seam grounders into steamers directed at a shell shocked keeper and reads off of clears from their teammate that proved their spot at the top to be completely legitimate.
My only gripes with this team are simply that they played too well to accumulate that crunch-time experience that the Hawks have. Possibly they won’t need that experience if their play continues on how it has but rarely does a final come and pass without a clutch play or two. The last thing I’ll say regarding the Elite is their lack of motivation to play to their full ability when a team is sluggish and not playing very well. In the series against the Tyrants, a massive win in the first game should have bolstered them on to take this series in a dominant fashion. And while they did sweep the Tyrants, it could have very well gone the other way due mainly to the Elite letting off the pedal as the series went on, resulting in three one-goal games, the final going 2-1 to the Elite.
Oh Hawks, what a franchise you’ve built, 4 championship finals in your history, and now a very good chance at taking home a title. Winning a series in 7 games is exciting, exhilarating, and will surely push these players to give their all for that trophy win. I’ve been having a hard time keeping my eyes off of Orange Monkey, his play reminds me so much of Flakes. Not only do they both choose the oddest cars to take onto the field no matter how big the task ahead is, they both see the field in a similar manner. I noticed early on in watching Orange Monkey play that he avoids 50-50s at all cost and takes as much time as is given to him. Not to mention his pre-disposition to flicks and dribbles, a connoisseur of the art even.
KillingHabits is such a gifted player as well. I only hope that we can see a bit more consistency coming out of his play come game time. I love watching him do twirls in the air and make flip reset attempts just for the pure joy it gives me in holding onto hope of seeing it land and a “This is Rocket League!!!!!” moment. But, in being an impartial observer I am always hoping for the closest, most tightly contested game possible. That means returning to base mechanics and outplaying his opponents as easily as I know he can.
Master League Finals
#6 Outlaws vs. #3 Jets @9:30PM EST on MLESPORTSGG
The Outlaws were able to clinch the Orange Conference Title with a 4-1 series win over the Spectre. The series was much closer than what the scoreline would suggest, with games three and four going down to the wire. Games one and two were back and forth contests, with the Outlaws taking the first game in convincing fashion and the Spectre returning the favor in game two. Spectre came out incredibly shaky in the first game and responded well in the following contest. They took that momentum into game three, dominating the field, putting up immense pressure, and forcing the Outlaws into seven saves. The Outlaws were able to squeeze out a tying goal when tragedy struck for the Spectre and a runner the other way from the Outlaws gave them the game-winning goal with under 5 seconds left.
Game four was wilder still, believe it or not. The Outlaws were up 3-1 with under 20 seconds remaining and the Spectre were able to tie up the contest, with Blackwatch hitting a sublime redirect to force overtime. Both teams looked off and disorganized in the overtime contest, with the game, unfortunately, being decided by a heartbreaking own goal by Blackwatch. Game five went as game one did for the Outlaws as they were able to secure the victory in a convincing last period.
The Jets booked their ticket into the Championship Final with a 4-0 series sweep against the Hive. As was the case with the Orange Conference Final, the series scoreline is not entirely indicative of how the series went. Both games two and four went into overtime, with game three being a 1-0 bout. In the overtime periods, both teams buckled down on defense, with a lot of back and forth in the midfield. The Hive could have taken either of those games but committed one too many defensive errors and the Jets capitalized. The only more lopsided game was game 1, in which the Jets went up 2-0 quickly, never relinquishing their lead, on route to a 5-3 win.
Going into Championship Saturday, the Outlaws must be ready for the sheer offensive pressure that the Jets will bring. In their 3-1 series win against the Hurricanes, they put up 47 shots. Against the Hive, they put up 47 shots as well. Averaging nearly 12 shots a game, the Jets look to keep their opponents disorganized and imbalanced. What is of concern for the Outlaws, is that Ripperr is starting to put up bigger numbers, and the offense is not nearly all on Bond Brother. Ripperr finished the Hive series with a 5.35 MVPR and 7 goals, both highs in the lobby.
If any team can neutralize this pressure, it is the Outlaws. In the Spectre series, their defense bent but did not break, and came up huge when needed. Blackwatch and Light finished with 5 and 8 goals, respectively. However, 3 of Blackwatch’s goals came in game four, and 4 of Light’s goals came in game two. The Outlaws were able to mitigate the damage and not allow the Spectre to put up multiple games of high offensive output. The Outlaws will also be looking to balance out their own offensive output and not have Llama being the sole teammate putting up high numbers. KyleSpanx finished with a 4.27 MVPR against the Pandas, but only finished with a 3.57 MVPR against the Spectre, the lowest in the lobby. Look to them wanting a bounce back series against the high flying Jets.
Premier League finals
#1 Bulls vs. #1 Wolves @11PM EST on MLESPORTSGG
With the MLE expansion to five leagues, the Premier League isn’t new in name but it feels as if this title is a new level of prestige for the inevitable champions. The addition of a league with no salary cap has brought top talent into the fold. Now we’ve seen these players compete for a full season and throughout the playoffs, two teams have emerged as a rung above the rest. The Bulls and the Wolves have breezed through the first two rounds going 7-1 and 7-0 respectively. Now we see the face-off that we’ve waited all season to see.
I’m struggling to think of what I can say about the Bulls that I haven’t said already. The Bulls are good. It’s that simple. They execute plays with consistency and speed. The greatest example I saw of the Bulls play came in game four against the shadow. Canadiyan and Braided Axe were charging on offense when Canadiyan went ahead for the bump while Braided Axe attempted to flick for the score. Not only did the Bulls manage to make the save, they turned around on the counter-attack and executed that exact play the Shadow just attempted but Comp buzzed the net, cutting off Canadiyan and Deluxe banged a flick top corner. They stole the playbook from the Shadow and showed them how it was supposed to be done. Comp has been unstoppable in the playoffs posting a 7.094 and a 6.040 MVPR over two series. He is as clutch on the goal line as he is air dribbling from the wall to the air.
The Wolves are the team that seemed to be the perfect match for the Bulls. In watching every game from the Wolves two playoffs series I can’t recall a single play where the Wolves looked panicked. During game two of their series against the Eclipse, Lotty Lettuce was forced to dodge a demo and was unable to prevent a ball from rolling across the goal line. Without a jump or a dodge, Taki simply swooped in and drove the ball cleanly into the corner then drove it all the way back down and passed it out of the opponent’s corner to Lotty Lettuce who was waiting to bang in a shot. At times it has looked as if the was team practicing without opponents. The Wolves look cool and calculated at all times. There are no double commits or wild dives present in their game, just solid smart play. Lotty Lettuce is expected to carry the weight of the team with their 20 Salary but at an 18 salary, Taki has been a huge factor in this team’s ability to play an evenly spaced out attack. In this playoffs, they’ve put up 10 goals, 9 assists, and 17 saves. That’s enough to draw attention to them and away from the mechanical play of Lotty Lettuce.
The composed team attack from the Wolves may be the answer to the Bulls’ flashy offense. But the Wolves may be tested with a level of team they haven’t encountered before. There will be a lot of pressure on both teams to bring home the title but it’s a pressure that these players are used to. All four made a playoff appearance last season. But only Comp has held the title of Premier League Champion when they won season 10, beating out none other than Lotty Lettuce in the finals. Will history repeat itself and give Comp another championship or will Lotty Lettuce get their revenge?