Philadelphia Fusion shocked the New York Excelsior with a 3-0 win in the first series of their semi-final.
New York Excelsior has been the favorite to take the Overwatch League trophy for most of the season, but they start their playoff campaign on the back foot after being swept in their first series against Philadelphia Fusion.
The Excelsior entered the playoffs as the top seeded team, while the Fusion barely clinched the sixth and final position in the regular season. The consequence was that while New York advanced immediately to the semi-finals, the Fusion had to face Boston Uprising in the quarters to make their way here.
That experience on stage in the current meta and the momentum of a win might well have given Philadelphia an edge, however, while the NYXL entered cold after a month of no official competition. The difference showed in this series, with New York looking far from their regularly polished, composed selves.
The 3-0 final scoreline isn’t entirely representative of the series, however, with both of the first two maps – Dorado and Oasis – incredibly hard-fought on both sides and coming down to the wire. Map three, Eichenwalde, was the only map on which New York looked genuinely outclassed.
The loss puts the Excelsior on the back foot, requiring consecutive best-of-five wins when they next clash with the Fusion on Saturday July 22 in order to reach the finals, which will be held on home soil for them at the Barclays Center in New York.
New York wouldn’t be the first to make the turn-around, however, with London Spitfire having come back from a 0-3 defeat of their own in their first series against Los Angeles Gladiators in the quarter-finals. The Spitfire proved the difference a few days could make, winning consecutive 3-0 series to reach the semi-finals.