The Toronto Arrows will travel to SeatGeek Stadium next Saturday as they face the expansion side, the Chicago Hounds. Both teams have played two games each and are both winless right now.
Toronto Arrows face the Chicago Hounds at SeatGeek Stadium
A historic first half here in Chicago 🔥#Rugby #MLR2023pic.twitter.com/aF75iDL5SI
— The Rugby Network (@therugbynetwork) March 5, 2023
The expansion side, Chicago Hounds, will host their second-ever home game after playing against the Utah Warriors last weekend. They lost a nail-biter against Utah as Joe Mano scored a try that would win them the game.
Still, they had a memorable first home game try to remember. This is what the Hounds CEO and General Manager, James English, said in Larry Hawley’s WGN TV article:
“We’re hoping for a fan experience that makes people want to come back so they can really appreciate the exciting game of rugby, the physicality, how it’s fast-moving, and the fantastic form of entertainment,” said English. “I think you’ll have a unique fan experience, we have music and a fan fest around the game itself, but most importantly, I think as a rugby organization, we can provide Chicago with a winning team.”
It is important to note that this is a new team trying to find an identity and chemistry with each other it is also important to remember that this team was announced on November 17, 2022, so there was a lot of work that English and his team in Chicago had to work on.
READ MORE: 2023 MLR Season: Chicago Hounds and Kurt Baker joins MLR franchise
The Toronto Arrows have struggled to open their season. They are winless and are still searching for their first win and lost their last game against Rugby New York fairly convincingly. However, it is not all bad for the Arrows. In the Arrows season opener against Rugby ATL, they were able to earn a bonus point with 10 points scored within the last few minutes of the game.
The main focus for Toronto right now is to get at least a few wins on the road. Then, they can climb up the standings when they play at home on April 8. What Toronto also wants to avoid is giving Chicago their first home MLR win. Eventually, Chicago is going to get that victory, but naturally, Toronto does not want it to be known that they were the first-ever team that the Chicago team defeated.
Additionally, everyone at Last Word on Rugby also wants to wish Cole Davis a speedy recovery after being involved in a heavy collision with Ciaran Brown in the 13-minute against Rugby New York. This is what the Arrows said in a statement according to The Canadian Press:
“Cole will travel back to Toronto with the team (Monday) and will rest at home under the care and supervision of club medical staff,” the Arrows said in a statement.
READ MORE: Toronto Arrows make a historical announcement with TIRF Rugby
First-Ever Meeting Between the Two Sides
They built quickly to get ready for a season, and now they're ready to grow a strong base of rugby fans in Chicago.
Learn more about the @HoundsChicago of @usmlr & their quick work ahead of their home opener Sunday on #WGNNewsNow from @WGNNews here: https://t.co/aXLwkgp9ly pic.twitter.com/Ss6iIP9TBG
— Larry Hawley (@HawleySports) March 3, 2023
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It is hard to predict this one as Chicago is an expansion team but it was very close to beating Utah last week. Both teams will be desperate for wins once kickoff happens on Saturday as both teams lost their first two games of the 2023 MLR season.
READ MORE: USA Rugby: 2033 Women’s Rugby and 2031 Rugby World Cup Hosts
What is known though is that pro rugby union is growing in Chicago. It will take time, but having a team from Chicago in MLR will benefit USA Rugby in the long run. This is especially true with the U.S. hosting the 2031 Rugby World Cup and the 2033 Rugby Women’s World Cup.
With the Hounds being such a new team, Chicago and Toronto have never met each other in MLR. This will also be the only encounter between the two teams this year.
This game will be shown live on FS2 on Saturday, March. 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois.
Photo Credit: Toronto Arrows RFC on February 17, 2023.