There were big away wins for Ohio and Sacramento in their USA PRO Rugby matches over Ohio and San Francisco respectively at the weekend.
Ohio's triumph consolidates their position at the top of the standings while San Diego are seven points adrift of second-placed Denver, who had a bye this weekend.
San Francisco and bottom-placed Sacramento are in a tight tussle at the foot of the table, with just two points separating them.
San Diego 21-44 Ohio
Memorial Park, San Diego
The table-toppers were full value for their win outscoring their hosts by six tries to two with Dylan Fawsitt and Aaron Davis leading the way with a brace apiece.
Keith Morath and Shaun Davies traded early penalties before Ohio were reduced to 14 men when Ryan McTiernan received a yellow card. Despite that setback, the visitors didn't panic and five minutes later Fawsitt got over for the game's opening try which Davis converted.
Morath succeeded with another penalty shortly afterwards but Davis restored his side's seven-point lead when he added his second penalty in the 27th minute. Fawsitt then got over for his second try on the half-hour mark and Davis added the extras which meant Ohio led 20-6 at half-time.
San Diego were dealt a blow, five minutes after the restart, when Alan Carpenter was sent to the sin bin and Ohio made their numerical advantage count when Riekert Hattingh crossed for their third try.
Morath added another three-pointer from the kicking tee but Ohio continued to dominate and Aaron Davis crossed for his two tries in quick succession which were both converted by Robbie Shaw.
Shortly afterwards, Sebastian Kalm also scored a five-pointer and although Tom Bliss and Epi Kalemani scored consolation tries for San Diego it was too little to late as Ohio had done enough to secure victory.
For San Diego:
Tries: Bliss, Kalemani
Pens: Morath 3
Yellow Card: Carpenter
Tries: Fawsitt 2, A Davis 2, Hattingh, Kalm
Cons: S Davies 2, R Shaw 2
Pens: S Davies 2
Yellow Card: McTiernan
San Diego: 15 Mike Te'o, 14 Pono Haitsuka, 13 Ryan Matyas, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Phil Mackenzie, 10 Keith Morath, 9 Charlie Purdon, 8 Sione Tuihalamaka, 7 Cecil Garber, 6 Bruce Thomas, 5 Tai Tuisamoa, 4 Alan Carpenter, 3 Jake Ilnicki, 2 Mike Soseni-Feagai, 1 Joe Taufete'e
Replacements: 16 Brice Schilling, 17 Mason Pedersen, 18 Epi Kalemani, 19 Jean Baptiste Gobelet, 20 Chris Turori, 21 Tom Bliss, 22 Kale Konrad, Ben Leatigaga
Ohio: 15 Zac Mizell, 14 Aaron Davis, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Roland Suniula, 11 Alex Elkins, 10 Taylor Howden, 9 Shaun Davies, 8 Riekert Hattingh, 7 Sebastián Kalm, 6 Filippo Ferrarini, 5 Ryan McTiernan, 4 Pierce Dargan, 3 Demecus Beach, 2 Dylan Fawsitt, 1 Jamie Mackintosh
Replacements: 16 Derrek van Klein, 17 Angus MacLellan, 18 Kyle Baillie, 19 Chad Joseph, 20 Chris Kunkel, 21 Robbie Shaw, 22 Alan Hanson, 23 Ahmad Harajly
Referee: K Weaver
Assistant Referees: S Green, J Miller
San Francisco 19-43 Sacramento
Boxer Stadium, San Francisco
Sacramento had too much firepower for their hapless hosts outscoring them by six tries to three with powerful number eight Langilangi Haupeakui crossing for a deserved brace.
The visitors dominated from the outset and raced into a 26-0 lead after scoring four unanswered tries. Cameron Falcon got over for the opening score as early as the sixth minute before Cody Jerabek, Haupeakui and Kyle Sumsion also dotted down for San Diego with their captain, former Italy international, Mirco Bergamasco succeeding with three out of four conversions.
To their credit, San Francisco didn't raise the white flag and they launched a brave fightback which seemed to catch Sacramento by surprise. The home side got into their groover and struck back with tries from Tevita Tameilau, former All Black Orene Ai'i and Bill Fukofuka.
Their captain, Volney Rouse converted two of the three five-pointers, which meant Sacramento led 26-19 lead at half-time. But that was as good as it got for the home side as Sacramento upped the ante in the second half.
Haupeakui scored his second try, three minutes after the restart, before Bergamasco added a penalty midway through the half. Ohio added the final nail in San Francisco's coffin when they were awarded a penalty try, after a dominant scrum close to their hosts' try-line 10 minutes before full-time.
For San Francisco:
Tries: Tameilau, Ai'i, Fukofuka
Cons: Rouse 2
Tries: Haupeakui 2, Falcon, Jerabek, Sumsion, Penalty Try
Cons: Bergamasco 5
San Francisco: 15 Martin Talapusi, 14 Anderson, 13 Mils Muliaina, 12 Orene Ai'i, 11 Pila Iongi, 10 Volney Rouse (c), 9 Devereaux Ferris, 8 Bill Fukofuka, 7 Sam Finau, 6 Tevita Tameilau, 5 Jeremy Lenaerts, 4 Brendan Daly, 3 Fancy Namulauulu, 2 Patrick Latu, 1 Niko Lolohea
Replacements: 16 Codi Jones, 17 Mone Laulaupeaalu, 18 Siupeli Sakalia, 19 Neil Barrett, 20 Nick Grass, 21 Michael Reid, 22 Michael Haley, 23 Jack O'Hara
Sacramento: 15 Alex Hodgkinson, 14 Ryan Thompson, 13 Nemia Qoro, 12 Mirco Bergamasco (c), 11 Cody Jerabek, 10 Harry Bennett, 9 Jope Motokana, 8 Langilangi Haupeakui, 7 John Quill, 6 Kyle Sumsion, 5 Robert Meeson, 4 Matt Doubek, 3 Eric Fry, 2 Cameron Falcon, 1 Valdemar Lee-Lo
Replacements: 16 Ray Barkwill, 17 Olive Kilifi, 18 Lagakali Tavake, 19 Alipate Takiveikata, 20 Sione Sina, 21 Ronald Dwyer, 22 Garrett Brewer, 23 Ryan Koewler
Referee: D Summers
Assistant Referees: L Berard, G O’Neil