(CHICAGO, IL.) The most competitive Conference in the LFL, seems to always come down to two coastal cities, Seattle and Los Angeles. One of the oldest rivalries in the league-history, took center-stage once again at the Western Conference Championship.

The questions leading into the game were, has KK Matheny now taken on the No.1 Quarterback mantle from Ashley Salerno? Can an aging Los Angeles roster make another Legends Cup run? How will Chris Michaelson’s offense match-up against Tui Suiaunoa’s defense?

Early on it appeared KK Matheny has become the No.1 ranked Quarterback in the game, Los Angeles’ roster is too old and Michaelson’s scheme was too sophisticated for Suiaunoa. Seattle scored the 1st half’s first three touchdowns, two on the ground, the first, a 4 yard run by League MVP and Offensive Player of the Year nominee Stevie Schnoor followed by her backfield counter-part Dominique Malloy with a 1 yard touchdown run. Matheny did throw a first half touchdown pass to Shea Norton, a 4 yard dart to push Seattle’s lead to 20-0. Matheny could have had a 2nd touchdown pass, but veteran receiver Jessica Hopkins failed to look for the football as it sailed over her head and into the waiting arms of LA safety, Lily Granston.

Los Angeles’ offense did manage a first-half score mounting an impressive 8 play 35 yard drive, chewing up 4:16 of the game clock, capping it with a Carmen Bourseau 1 yard touchdown run, to make it a two-score game going into Halftime at 20-6.

At Halftime, the fate of both franchises were on the line. If Los Angeles could mount a rally and advance to Legends Cup 2017, it would be their first-appearance in years on the main-stage. For Seattle, if they could hold on and advance, it would be their third-straight appearance, a franchise record.

Despite a 20-6 lead at Halftime, Seattle head coach Chris Michaelson was his usual fiery self getting on his defense, primarily for allowing a 6.2 per carry average to Salerno.

With the final 20 minutes determining who’s hopes stay alive, Los Angeles developed a confidence and swagger coming out of their locker-room at Halftime. That confidence as well as getting the ball first in the 2nd half, lead to Temptation’s second scoring driving of the night as Salerno made Houdini-like moves on a 4th down to evade Seattle’s rush and find Kiara Patterson in the back of the end zone for a touchdown, making it a game again at 20-13.

Seattle wasted very little time in responding. As as much criticism that has been laid at the doorstep of Matheny and Jade Randle for their lack of chemistry, that discussion was shattered when Matheny hit Randle in stride with Randle making a OBJ-like adjustment to the ball and then showing her speed in out-running the defense with a 35 yard touchdown reception. The Randle touchdown stretched Seattle’s lead back to a two-score game at 28-13, a lead the Seattle never relinquished.

The remainder of the 2nd half, both defenses set their anchors and did not allow another point. It was fitting that as Los Angeles made their final push on a key 4 and 7 with nearly 2 minutes remaining in the game, eventual Game MVP Jade Randle made an NFL-defensive back type move to the ball to break up Salerno’s pass that was intended for Kiara Takaranagi.

Seattle merely lined up in victory-formation to run out the final 2 minutes as Matheny screamed at her huddle, “How does it feel”. For the overall lack of respect toward the 5’3 Quarterback, Matheny will be appearing in her 3rd straight Legends Cup on Labor Day weekend in Los Angeles.

The Temptation’s final play was indicative of what this franchise simply does not see, it has to develop a credible passing game. On this night, their No.1 receiver Cynthia Schmidt who was out with injury, would probably be a No.2 or even No.3 receiver on the league’s elite teams. With a Quarterback like Salerno, Los Angeles has got to develop at least two credible receivers to compliment Salerno’s arm. Your final play and the biggest of the season cannot be targeting Takarangi.

The good news for Los Angeles has to be the emergence of Carmen Bourseau, Meghan Hanson and Lily Granston, with Salerno still having 4 to 5 seasons left in the tank, an effective off-season could see the ‘Silver & Black’ returning to dominance in the Western Conference.

Seattle now simply awaits the winner of the Eastern Conference Championship, matching up better against Atlanta but certainly proven it can beat Chicago. The Mist are healthy which most teams cannot say at this stage in the season. With a Legends Cup win, long-time Mist veteran Jessica Hopkins can ride off into the sunset, Michaelson can become the most-decorated coach in LFL history and the Dallas free-agents can gain a taste of what it feels like to have confetti pouring down on you.

Legends Cup 2017, Sunday, September 3, 2017 at Citizens Business Bank Arena, 3pm kickoff, featuring the Seattle Mist vs ________________________.

Los Angeles Seattle
Score 13 28
First Downs 13 14
Rushes-Yards (Net) 23-45 23-75
Passing Yards (Net) 139 90
Passes Att-Comp-Int 20-8-1 12-9-2
Total Offense Plays-Yards 43-184 35-165
Fumble Returns-Yards 0-0 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards 0-0 0-0
Interception Returns-Yards 2-21 1-5
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 3-20 4-26
Possession Time 20:35 19:25
Third-Down Conversions 6/10 4/6
Fourth-Down Conversions 0/3 1/2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 2/3 3/4