Chengdu Hunters vs Hangzhou Spark
The Eastern region is still, even to this day, supremely volatile and, by proxy, unpredictable. That, unfortunately, also holds true for this match-up as well. One can never be too certain what'll happen and which team will end up on top — there are simply too many variables at play, too many factors that may or may not end up affecting someone's performance and, in turn, the end result.
And just when we think, for a brief moment, that things have stabilized and that we've managed to understand and decipher the ever-changing status quo, a tremendous twist occurs and turns everything upside down.
Neither team has been particularly successful lately, but it's also worth noting that they had the absolute toughest schedules one can imagine. The Spark went up against Seoul and Shanghai who, by all metrics, are the very best teams the Eastern region has to offer.
A similar story holds true for Chengdu who were quickly demolished by Seoul before, admittedly, bouncing back in fairly impressive fashion against the Philadelphia Fusion. It's all a mess, really, and the only thing one can, with confidence, say is that Shanghai and Seoul stand atop the region, two towering giants of unparalleled strength, followed by a bevy of severely flawed mid-tier contenders of varying strength and ability.
This one can really go either way, and it pains us to say it, too. We're never interested in these volatile, tremendously competitive clashes and affairs, match-ups so even an unpredictable. Be that as it may, the Hangzhou Spark have, in all fairness, been a lot more impressive thus far. Their highs were much more frequent (and a bit more impressive, too). They're right on the cusp of truly challenging Seoul and Shanghai, although that, too, depends on their preparation and whether or not they can huddle up and execute as a five-man unit. In any case, they have ample potential, even though it isn't always visible.
Much of the same can be said for Chengdu as well although they haven't been nearly as successful throughout the last few months. They're incredibly dangerous, that much is true, but they have a lot more flaws and chinks in their proverbial armor — weaknesses that were so often exploited by their more capable peers.
We'll side with Hangzhou on this one and hope for the best. They're the better team and if they play their "cards" right — and not make any egregious mistakes along the way — they should, by all means, be able to best Chengdu and, in doing so, finally correct course.