May 17, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in Preview with 0 comments
We are entering the midseason of the AUDL. Some teams are meeting for the first time this week, while others will rematch with scores to settle. Playoffs are still in the distance, but, for some teams like Minnesota, the games have a must-win feel.
Here’s a look at this week’s games.
Philadelphia Phoenix (2-1) @ DC Breeze (2-3)
The last time these two teams met, the DC Breeze were playing in the second game of a back-to-back and coming off of a poor showing against the New York Empire. The Breeze were comparatively impressive, hanging tight with the Phoenix for most of the game before Philly put them away in the 4th quarter, perhaps a sign of fatigue in the Breeze’s legs.
Now back on home turf, the Breeze will look to even the season series. In many ways, this game is more important for the Breeze, who could lock up the race for 2nd place in the East.
Last week, the Breeze got out to a fast start against the Hammerheads and held on for an 18-13 win. We’ll see if they can replicate that against Matt Esser and the Phoenix.
Philadelphia has not played since May 5th and will be missing a good chunk of their players, including Kyle Wolf. This game looks pretty even on paper, given the Breeze’s better play in recent weeks.
Toronto Rush (6-0) @ Rochester Dragons (2-4)
Toronto, after a successful home stand, make the short trip to Rochester to face the Dragons for the first time this season. Despite Rochester’s recent success at home, this shouldn’t be a tough win for the Rush.
Although they will be without Mark Lloyd, Toronto simply has too much talent to lose to the young Rochester team.
But the Dragons have already surprised some teams, including the Empire last week, with their improved play. They are 2-0 at home. However, they will be missing Zack Smith among others and would need to play a flawless game to take down the league’s top team.
New York Empire (2-3) @ New Jersey Hammerheads (1-4)
Both of these Tristate teams come into this game looking to snap a losing streak; expect the game to be chippy and fast-paced. The Hammerheads are on a four game skid and are in danger of falling out of the playoff picture with a fifth straight loss. They’ll play without Kenny Callello and Marquez Brownlee, which won’t help their cause.
The Empire are coming off of back-to-back losses to Rochester and Toronto on their first road trip of the season and will be looking to get back on track at a “road” game where they may well have some fans in the crowd. Izzy Bryant and Seth Canetti return to the rotation, which should give an immediate boost to the defensive and offensive lines, respectively.
But the Empire were plagued by turnovers and mistakes against Rochester, problems they will have to clean up regardless of the personnel on the field. Considering they’ll be playing a New Jersey team hungry to salvage the first half of the season, the Empire won’t want to make it easy for them.
Cincinnati Revolution (3-3) @ Indianapolis Alleycats (1-3)
The big story this week for the Indianapolis Alleycats is that star cutter Cameron Brock, who leads the AUDL in goals per game, will return to the lineup after missing just a single game due to a brain hemorrhage. The fact that Brock is well enough to play now, when recovery was expected to take at least four to six weeks, is nothing short of remarkable. Brock said that he is “blessed” and eager to get back on the field.
He could be the difference maker in what should be a good, close game. The Revolution just won back-to-back games over the Detroit Mechanix and have vaulted into third place in the division behind Windy City and Madison. They have some momentum for the first time this season and will be looking to get above .500 for the first time this year.
Indy really needs a win. They had to play back-to-back games against the Wildfire coming into this week, but enjoyed a bye last weekend to get fresh for this game, one of their first big tests of the year.
Detroit Mechanix (3-3) @ Madison Radicals (3-2)
The Mechanix set out on the road this week to take on the North Central powerhouses Madison and Minnesota. In their first meeting with the Radicals, Detroit was the big underdog. But player-coach Ken Porter, suiting up for his first AUDL game, ran wild on the tired Madison players and led the Mechanix to a shock 25-24 upset.
Don’t count on a repeat. The loss still stings Madison, and they will look to protect their home field and rebound from a one point loss to the Wildfire last weekend.
The Radicals continue to play without many of their top defenders, who are all on the Wisconsin Hodags college team, who will play in the D-I College Championships next weekend.
Detroit will have Dave Hochhalter back in the lineup after he missed last week’s game against Cincinnati.
Detroit Mechanix (3-3) @ Minnesota Wind Chill (1-5)
Detroit will leave Madison for Minneapolis to face the Wind Chill on Sunday. Managing the roster will be critical for Porter this weekend, as coming out too hard against the Radicals — a tough team to beat on the road — could cost them against the weaker Wind Chill.
You have to expect the Mechanix will look to come out of this weekend with a split and avoid the Empire debacle from last weekend, where New York came out too slow against the weaker team and couldn’t quite complete the comeback.
The Wind Chill continue to play without Grant Lindsley and some of their other key players — it’s unclear why those guys are not getting run.
One thing is clear: the Wind Chill desperately need a win. Sitting at 1-5 in a deep division, a sixth straight loss could assure them an extra long summer.
The Windy City Wildfire are off this week.