Seed: 4th (5-2 record)
Quarterfinal Opponent: Atlanta Reign (5th Seed)
Match Time: Friday, March 22, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET
Much like the Excelsior, last year’s grand finals runner-up returned with their lineup mostly intact. Fusion has also started this season like they hadn’t missed a beat. Philadelphia went 5-2 in Stage 1, including an opening match victory against the London Spitfire and a victory against the Atlanta Reign later in Week 1. In hindsight, the victory against the Spitfire doesn’t seem as impressive, but a demon vanquished is a demon vanquished.
The Fusion seems to be a team every professional league has: a team that goes on a tear and then loses to teams they have no business losing to. In Philadelphia’s case, these were the Dallas Fuel and Florida Mayhem, who the Fusion lost to in Week 2. Like Toronto, Philadelphia benefited from a very weak schedule. Four of their seven matches were against the bottom four teams in the standings, and all seven of their opponents are a combined 16-33.
Unlike Toronto, this lineup is a known quantity. We’ve seen what it can do. It can and has measured up well against the league’s best teams in the past, and there’s no reason to think it can’t continue to do so. Of course, the Valiant and Spitfire are cautionary tales in this regard, and the Fusion aren’t exactly lighting up the stat sheets, but when this team is in its element, it really becomes something else.
The Fusion beat the Atlanta Reign 3-2 when the two teams met in Week 1.