Movistar Riders crush American dreams in Cologne
Liquid's good fortune at IEM Cologne 2022 has come to a close, as the team has been knocked out by Movistar Riders in the quarterfinals. The Spanish side got the best of the North Americans in the playoffs, moving past Liquid in a brutal three-map affair.
The quarterfinal kicked off on Liquid's pick of Ancient, with the Riders getting off to a roaring start on their defense, locking down six of the first seven rounds. Liquid managed to compose themselves long enough to snatch two more rounds, as they looked to whittle down the strong lead the Spaniards had built for themselves. Movistar quickly put an end to Liquid's hopes of keeping things close however, as a monstrous 2.51 rating from Alvaro "SunPayus" Garcia on the defense allowed the Riders to take the first half 11-4.
Movistar Riders kept their foot on the gas on the offense, steamrolling Liquid on the second pistol round which allowed the Spaniards to scoop up the first four rounds of the second half with ease. Now on the defense, Liquid finally started to put together rounds, but with the Riders already on match point there was little to be done as Liquid's pick was stolen away 16-9.
The Riders' pick of Inferno started in a similar fashion to Ancient, with the Spaniards barreling ahead on the back of a pistol round victory, securing a solid 6-1 start to their offense. Towards the middle of the first half, Liquid claimed a handful of rounds, bringing Movistar's lead down to 7-5, but the Riders quickly mopped up the rest of the half, switching to the defense with a 10-5 lead.
Now on the offense, Liquid snatched their first pistol round of the series, a prerequisite for any serious comeback attempt. Liquid was unable to convert off the pistol round, however, as the two squads ended up trading rounds before the North Americans ultimately came out on top in the scrappy affair. This kickstarted a series of convincing rounds for Liquid, a streak halted by the Riders before Liquid could even the scoreline. A 1v3 from Josh "oSee" Ohm looked to be the catalyst to reignite the spark for his team, but Liquid were bested by a half buy from Movistar in the subsequent round. Liquid were unphased by this, as they marched on to take the lead for the first time this series, stealing away their opponent's pick 16-14 to take the series to Vertigo.
Movistar Riders kicked off Vertigo with their fourth pistol round in the series, which allowed them to lock down four of the first five rounds on the defense. At first, Liquid did a good job at not letting Movistar run away with the half, tying up the scoreline 4-4, but the Spanish side ultimately came out on top in a string of hotly contested rounds. Despite Liquid's best efforts, the half slipped away from their grasp as Movistar Riders claimed a 10-5 lead at the side switch.
The Riders claimed the second pistol round, their fifth in the series, but Liquid countered with a second-round victory to keep their dream alive. Following that force buy victory, Liquid posted a strong defense to narrow Movistar Riders' lead to only a single round. With Liquid on their doorstep with an 11-10 scoreline, Movistar Riders began to expand the gap once again, claiming the next three rounds to take a 14-10 lead. Liquid halted Movistar's streak with two rounds of their own, but the Spaniards still went on to reach match point with a 15-12 score. With no money left for the defense, Liquid were unable to contend with Movistar Riders, who closed out the map 16-12 to secure their semifinal spot.
|Movistar Riders||K - D||+/-||ADR||KAST||Rating 2.0|
|Alvaro 'SunPayus' Garcia||71 - 46||+25||88.0||83.1%||1.38|
|Raúl 'DeathZz' Jordán Nieto||60 - 51||+9||80.7||75.9%||1.11|
|David 'dav1g' Granado Bermudo||54 - 62||-8||75.4||71.1%||1.01|
|Alejandro 'mopoz' Fernández-Quejo Cano||55 - 59||-4||74.0||65.1%||1.01|
|Alejandro 'alex' Masanet||45 - 49||-4||60.1||77.1%||0.98|
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||KAST||Rating 2.0|
|Jonathan 'EliGE' Jablonowski||64 - 60||+4||91.3||74.7%||1.17|
|Mareks 'YEKINDAR' Gaļinskis||59 - 60||-1||86.6||65.1%||1.14|
|Keith 'NAF' Markovic||52 - 58||-6||75.1||71.1%||0.98|
|Josh 'oSee' Ohm||50 - 51||-1||57.3||75.9%||0.97|
|Nick 'nitr0' Cannella||42 - 59||-17||54.1||71.1%||0.85|
With that, Liquid have wrapped up the first half of their 2022 season with a respectable quarterfinal finish in Cologne. Liquid will next be back in action in mid-August when the BLAST Premier Fall groups are set to start.