The London Spitfire took down Los Angeles Valiant 3-1 in their opening semi-final series.
The Spitfire carried their momentum from the quarter-finals through to an impressive victory in the first series of the semi-final best-of-three.
The final 3-1 score-line is a little deceptive, as the series actually went to a full five maps, with the two teams drawing on the fourth map, Hanamura.
London Spitfire entered the playoffs in disarray, finishing the regular season with their weakest stage performance. The first match of their playoff run seemed to follow in the same vein, suffering a 0-3 defeat at the hands of the LA Gladiators, but the Spitfire were able to regroup and come back with consecutive 3-0 wins of their own to advance to the semi-finals.
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Having finally harnessed the immense potential the roster should always have had, London is now an entirely different beast, and that carried through to their first semi-final series. The LA Valiant ended the season on a high, winning the Stage 4 playoffs, and have been touted by many as the favorites to now take the trophy.
The Valiant find themselves immediately on the back foot, however, with London now only needing one more series win to reach the grand finals. The Los Angeles squad, meanwhile, will need to win back-to-back best-of-fives of Friday July 21 in order to advance.
It was a rough start for both of the top seeds from the regular season, as the New York Excelsior – who as the number one team skipped to the semi-finals, like the Valiant – also fell in a convincing loss to the Philadelphia Fusion in their own opening series.