Gold fall 25-21 to San Diego Legion
NOLA Gold lost a close game to the league-leading San Diego Legion 25-21, Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Shrine on Airline.
After the loss, the Gold now sit at 2-2 in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points. The Legion stay undefeated and lead the league with 19 points.
The Gold came out on top of a back and forth first half. Back row player Tesmoni Tongauiha scored the first try of the game five minutes. The Gold added the conversion on top of it to take a 7-0 lead.
Center Ma’a Nonu responded in the 10th minute with a try for the Legion. The successful Legion conversion tied the game at 7-7.
Second row player Keni Nasoqeqe responded for the San Diego Legion in the 37th minute with a try. The Gold held a 14-12 lead after a missed conversion by the Legion.
Fullback Robbie Coleman gave the Gold control with a big try heading into the half, giving the Gold a 21-12 lead after the successful conversion.
Head Coach Nate Osborne felt the Gold played the first half just like the team had designed.
“We had a really good game plan going in and I thought we were going to beat them,” Osborne said. “I thought we executed that perfectly in the first half which lead to that 21-12 half time lead.”
The Legion controlled the second half, not letting NOLA put up any points in the half.
“In the second half, we just shot ourselves in the foot, didn’t really get anything going,” Osborne said. “I think we touched the ball three times in the whole half, turned it over on early phases which is something we didn’t want to do and really didn’t put any pressure on them to have to play too much. They just were in our end for the whole half.”
Nonu brought it back to a one-possession game for the Legion with his second try of the day in the 60th minute. The conversion brought it 21-19.
The Legion would be awarded and hit two penalty kicks with the second coming in the 79th minute to take control 25-21.
From there the Gold pushed all the way up to the five-meter line, but couldn’t score the game winning try.
The Legion had scored four or more tries in each of their first three games, but the Gold held them to three. Osborne said he saw positives on how the team played on defense, but the lack of success on offense in the second half hurt the team’s defense.
“I thought we defended really well, I just thought we defended a lot,” Osborne said
Penalties have been an ongoing issue for the Gold and Osborne said that will be important to improve on going forward.
“We need to really hard look at ourselves in terms of penalties we are giving away and continue to put pressure on ourselves,” Osborne said.
The Gold’s penalties have made them the most penalized team in the league and the game against the Legion was no exception.
“I think we can probably look back at that game and really believe that we lost it for ourselves, that they didn’t really, you know, beat us, but, at the same time, you are what record says and we are 2-2,” Osborne said.
The Gold will be home again next week taking on the 1-3 New England Free Jacks, Saturday, March 7 at 3 p.m. in the Shrine on Airline.
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