April 18, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in Analysis, Rankings with 0 comments
Now just two days away from the opening pull, Major League Ultimate teams are in final preparation mode for their first week’s opponents. With many of the teams bringing together a big chunk of the top club team in each city and some toughened veterans, we can learn a lot about them just through their roster.
Here are Ultiworld’s preseason MLU rankings; below is a discussion of the picks.
1. San Francisco Dogfish — The most dominant city in Ultimate has put together a team stacked with two-time National Club Champion Revolver players. With Beau Kittredge, Ashlin Joye, and Mac Taylor leading the charge on offense, will other teams even be able to slow them down?
2. Boston Whitecaps — Boston’s roster is packed with talent, including names like Peter Prial, Danny Clark, and Jeff Graham, and, on paper, could be considered the best in the league. But Boston seems to have a complex that prevents them from winning when it counts. The city hasn’t brought home a club title since 1999, despite frequently dominating the regular season. Will the single-game format change that?
3. Seattle Rainmakers — You can never count out Seattle. They have the advantage of having a very deep roster, mostly filled with guys who have been playing together for years. The Rainmakers already laid down a beating on the Portland Stags in a preseason game. Wild card factor: coach Ben Wiggins, who has been scheming ways to take advantage of the large field for months now.
4. Vancouver Nighthawks — Vancouver’s club team Furious George was one of the powerhouse teams of the 2000s, and the Nighthawks are really bringing together some of the guys from that era and the top Vancouver players of the moment. Morgan Hibbert is going to dominate, and grizzled veterans like Kirk Savage could bring some additional firepower to an already strong Nighthawks squad.
5. Philadelphia Spinners — The 2012 AUDL Champions come into the Major League Ultimate season no longer at the top of the pack. But a year of experience at the professional level does give them a big advantage, especially early in the season. They’ve learned how to play on the field dimensions and in front of a crowd. Trey Katzenbach brings his veteran leadership back to the ’13 edition of the Spinners, and lots of players return from year one. But they’ll be without Jake Rainwater, a big part of their success last season. Can they get back to the top?
6. Portland Stags — With current stars like Cody Bjorkland joining forces with rising ones like Khalif El-Salaam, Portland should be a fun team to watch. Like most MLU teams, they are still adjusting to the new field and style of play, having already made significant offensive adjustments after getting drummed by Seattle in a preseason game two weeks ago. The Stags, though, will have a tough time competing against the depth in the Western Conference. They could be a team that hits its stride later in the season.
7. DC Current — This may be the best team that Washington DC has put together in a while. The Current is predominantly filled with Truck Stop players, but they have added some explosive young talent like Delrico Johnson who will fit in well with veterans like Sean McComb, Sean Keegan, and Jeff Wodatch. We’ll get a good sense of the Eastern Conference in this week one matchup between the Current and the Spinners, a heated rivalry game.
8. New York Rumble — The Rumble have some great players, but the big question is whether or not they have the depth to hang with the deeper Eastern Conference teams throughout the game. They played close for the first quarter against Philadelphia in a preseason matchup before watching the game slip away. Chris Mazur and Joe “Smash” Anderson bring AUDL experience to the team, and Ben Faust makes an exciting return to the elite game. But splitting talent with the AUDL’s New York Empire didn’t help the roster depth issues; can they find guys to step up?