Hounds and Warriors are lifted during a lineout in Utah's 14-10 win over the Chicago Hounds March 5 at SeatGeek Stadium. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Hounds and Warriors are lifted during a lineout in Utah's 14-10 win over the Chicago Hounds March 5 at SeatGeek Stadium. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Rugby Report | Hounds drop home debut to Utah

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By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

Caleb Strum called it “electric.”

The Chicago Hounds right wing scored the team’s first try in SeatGeek Stadium history at the 30-minute mark to help give the expansion team a 10-0 lead over visiting Utah.

Hounds officials estimated the crowd at just under 4,000 and the fans were making all sorts of noise. For a while, all was right in the world.

“It was electric,” Strum said. “I absolutely loved it. It’s definitely going to concrete my memories in [Major League Rugby] and memories, period.

“I have to thank the boys for getting me to that point and getting me to that position. It was an amazing moment.”

The bad news is that the Hounds stopped scoring after the conversion and dropped a 14-10 defensive battle to the Warriors on March 5.

Utah (2-1-0) scored 14 points in the final 44 minute to salt away the victory.

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Fans at SeatGeek Stadium had plenty to cheer about in the first half hour of the Chicago Hounds’ home debut. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Chicago (0-2-0) had a few chances to take the lead in the closing minutes, including a run by Strum.

Still, the Hounds improved after opening the season with a 42-27 road loss to Old Glory DC on Feb. 18, in which the Hounds gave up a score in the first minute.

“There was a different mentality and a different vibe,” Strum said. “We didn’t come out as soft as we did the last game. We had a punch-first mentality, and we were bold and hungry. Wen went out and set the pace early.

“We did a good job with that. Once again, we didn’t come out on top but for sure a big step up.”

The University of Alabama club player, who hails from Virginia, was with Austin last year and was happy to be picked up by Chicago. Even though the Hounds are an expansion team, there are some experts who think this team can make some noise in its first year.

“I’m biased, but I personally think we have more than just a chance to be good,” Strum said. “It is always rough for an expansion team and we’re scrambling and fighting against time.

“But the amount of talent that is in the room, it’s unbelievable. I’m thankful every day because I have dudes to my left and my right that I can learn from day in and day out.”

Luke Carty had a penalty kick at the six-minute mark and a conversion at the 31-minute mark for the rest of the Hounds’ scoring. Utah played a man down for a portion of the second half, but Chicago couldn’t take advantage.

 

Painful debut
Julian Dominguez, with whom the team reached terms with on Feb. 27, started at left wing against the Warriors.

He left the game in the second half. After the game, his left arm was in a sling and he was icing his shoulder.

Dominguez was a member of Austin last year, helping the team to a Western Conference-best 12-4 mark. Prior to that, the Argentinian spent two seasons with New Orleans.

 

Up next

The Hounds host Toronto (0-2-0) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 11 at SeatGeek Stadium.

The Arrows opened the season with a tight 17-10 setback to Rugby ATL to open the season and were crushed, 39-3, by the New York Ironworkers on Feb. 26 before a Week 3 bye.

The Arrows lone points against the Ironworkers came off the foot of 20-year-old Kobe Faust with a penalty goal.

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Chicago’s Bryce Campbell, right, collides with the Utah defense in a 14-10 loss on March 5. Photo by Jeff Vorva

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