The attack is on fire
Old Glory has been torching teams recently. They've put up 91 points in the last two matches combined, which is a pretty ridiculous total. At the beginning of the season, it took them seven weeks to reach that total. That scoring has come from 13 combined tries. It's been incredibly fun to watch the team tear up the pitch so successfully.
The back line has it figured out
Things have seemed a bit flat in the backs this year. The new signings for the season took a while to arrive, and once they did it took them a moment to adjust to the new team and to each other. Well, I think we can conclusively say that they've figured it out. Rohan Saifoloi lived up to his preseason hype in this match, earning him a spot on the MLR's first XV list. Junior Sa'u looks better than ever, grabbing a try and very nearly getting a second. Willie Talataina did manage to grab two, putting him at 7 tries for the season.
It's notable to see how Old Glory's attack has changed as well. Through the first two thirds of the season, the tries scored by forwards vs backs was relatively balanced, with the backs scoring 1-2 tries for every try scored by a back. In the last few weeks, though, the ratio has exploded in favor of the backs, who are now scoring 5-10 tries for every try scored by a forward.
The fans were having fun
While wins would be nice, at least the losses have been entertaining. This last little home stand has seen great attendance, an amped up crowd, chanting, cheering, and a just generally great atmosphere. It's not quite what it was back in the old days at Cardinal Stadium, but that's inevitable with people more spread out. Happy fans are a great sign for the team, because happy fans come back and bring their friends.
The defense is already on vacation for the offseason
While the attack has been undeniably great, the defense has been less so. Old Glory has conceded a fairly shocking 118 points to their opponents in the last two weeks. That's into Dallas Jackals territory of poor defense.
I'm not concerned, though. OGDC is at the end of a tough season. The players have stayed steadfast, impressively so, but it's not hard to understand why the focus on the defensive end might be slipping a bit. Good defense requires a pretty high level of intensity, not just to make tackles but also to get and put yourself in the position to make the next one. It's tough to keep that intensity up at this stage of a season like this one.
Not the ending we'd hoped for
A month ago, coming off of two straight wins, I was pretty confident that we'd be able to take 2-3 more wins in the remaining five matches. Instead, we've gone 0-4. Two of those matches were extremely winnable, which makes it all the more disappointing that the results have gone as they have. Old Glory can't catch a break this season, it seems.
Has Nate Osborne made a convincing case for removing the interim tag?
Nate Osborne is one of the candidates being considered for the position head coach at OGDC, and he has had the opportunity to make his case by taking over as the interim for the remainder of this season. While there is still one more match to play, I think it's time to start asking the question: has he done enough to earn the job?
On the one hand, Osborne successfully dug Old Glory out of a ditch, getting them a couple wins in a season where seemed like they might not get any. He was able to maximize the talent currently on the team, in particular bringing out the skills of the backs. On the other hand, he has far undershot his goal of a winning second half to the season. Instead of 5-3, the best he could do is 3-5. The last few weeks have also left a lot to be desired, especially the rout against the Gold.
In the end, there isn't an obvious answer. Personally, I think he's played reasonably well given the hand he was dealt. He hasn't turned Old Glory into a winning machine, but he also took over a team on a tremendous losing streak. I'd be fine with him the getting the job officially; I'd also be fine if the owners decide to go a different route. I don't think I could say either is the wrong answer.
How long will the team stay at Segra field?
A question on the minds of many fans is how long the team intends to stay at their current home of Segra field. While the home of Loudoun United has been great in many ways (nice seating, a good size, rugby-only lines) it has the disadvantage of being such a long way from the city it claims to represent. It's 35 miles, or an hour's drive, from the District, with no transit options that get closer than 16 miles. Combined with some of its other issues, like the strict tailgating ban enforced by the county, fans are rightly wondering how long it will be until the team moves to a new home.
In the short term, Segra is the only option. Don't expect to see any news about a move next season, or even the season after. However, there are plans in the works to bring the team closer to home later on down the line. I still have some investigating to do, but I plan on writing an article about it very soon.