Fly-half Joe Pietersen secured the victory with less than a minute to play, putting the Legion ahead by two. With the win, the Legion will face the reigning champion Seattle Seawolves, who on Sunday defeated the Toronto Arrows 30-17.
After becoming the first team this season to clinch a spot in the championship series, the first-place Legion hosted the fourth-place RUNY at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium.
The match marked the third time the Legion and RUNY played this season. RUNY travelled to San Diego in Week 1 and beat the Legion 25-23. In the second meeting between the two teams, in Brooklyn in April, the Legion won 29-19.
Sunday’s match featured the top two defensive teams in MLR. The Legion finished the regular season only conceding 296 points, while RUNY trailed them, conceding 320 points.
Season standouts for the Legion include Pietersen, Paddy Ryan, Lou Stanfill, Josh Furno, Jordan Manihera, Jasa Veremalua and JP du Plessis.
Fullback Mike Te’o, who was injured in the second half of the Week 19 victory over the New Orleans Gold, was unable to play Sunday. Te’o finished the regular season with 91 carries for 1,036 meters gained and eight tries while also making 57 tackles.
The Legion (12-3-1) locked up the top seed in the championship series with a 22-10 victory over the Gold. After the early home loss to New York, the Legion had two winning streaks, one for four games, another for five.
For the upcoming championship game, the highest remaining seed was set to host the lower remaining seed, making it a home game for the Legion at 1 p.m. June 16. The game will be broadcast on CBS.
– Staff reports
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