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Unbeaten Shock use furious rally to beat Gladiators at Kickoff qualifiers

La Murga de Austin lead capo Anthony Cardinal leads the crowd in Austin FC chants during the the eMLS Cup tournament at the Moody Theater on March 13, 2022. The eMLS Cup is the championship tournament that determines which player is the best FIFA esports player in North America.Aem Sxsw Emls Cup 14
Credit: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

The San Francisco Shock were pushed to their limit before pulling off a stirring comeback Saturday to remain undefeated in West division Overwatch League Kickoff Clash qualifiers.

The Shock, well, shocked the Los Angeles Gladiators 3-2 after falling behind 2-0 to begin the match. San Francisco upped its record to 5-0 and are still the only unbeaten team in the West.

In other action, the Houston Outlaws swept the London Spitfire 3-0 and the Toronto Defiant quelled the Boston Uprising 3-1.

The Gladiators gave the Shock all they could handle early. Los Angeles reeled off back-to-back map victories to take a 2-0 lead, winning 2-1 on Oasis and 3-2 on Midtown. But the Shock stormed back, taking successive maps on Route 66 (3-2), Colosseo (1-0) and Lijiang Tower (2-1) to steal the match.

The Outlaws were not as tested. Houston recorded a swift 2-0 decision on Ilios, then posted a 3-1 victory on Eichenwalde before claiming final victory by a 4-3 score on Circuit Royal.

Like the Shock, the Defiant fell behind early by dropping their first map 2-0 to the Uprising on Lijiang Tower. Toronto responded by winning 2-1 on Eichenwalde, 3-1 on Dorado and 1-0 on New Queen Street.

Qualifying for the Kickoff Clash continues through May 29, with double-elimination bracket play to follow from June 2-5.

Action continues Sunday with six matches:
Guangzhou Charge vs. Philadelphia Fusion (East)
Seoul Dynasty vs. Chengdu Hunters (East)
Hangzhou Spark vs. Los Angeles Valiant (East)
Vancouver Titans vs. Atlanta Reign (West)
Dallas Fuel vs. Paris Eternal (West)
Washington Justice vs. Boston Uprising (West)

Overwatch League Kickoff Clash standings, with win-loss record, map differential and league points:
1. San Francisco Shock, 5-0, +11, 5
2. Florida Mayhem, 3-2, +5, 3
T3. Dallas Fuel, 3-1, +4, 3
T3. Washington Justice, 3-1, +4, 3
T3. Houston Outlaws, 3-2, +4, 3
6. Toronto Defiant, 3-2, +1, 3
T7. Atlanta Reign, 2-1, +2, 2
T7. Los Angeles Gladiators, 2-2, +2, 2
9. London Spitfire, 2-2, -1, 2
10. Boston Uprising, 1-3, -5, 1
11. New York Excelsior, 1-4, -8, 1
12. Vancouver Titans, 0-4, -9, 0
13. Paris Eternal, 0-4, -10, 0
T1. Philadelphia Fusion, 1-0, +3, 1
T1. Chengdu Hunters, 1-0, +3, 1
3. Hangzhou Spark, 1-1, +1, 1
T4. Seoul Dynasty, 1-1, -1, 1
T4. Guangzhou Charge, 1-1, -1, 1
6. Shanghai Dragons, 1-1, -2, 1
7. Los Angeles Valiant, 0-2, -3, 0

–Field Level Media