Spending a week in a car with your friend driving across the state of Florida is something many people find themselves doing at some point in their life. Working while you do it is rare, but not unlikely. To do that and then play one of the most competitive and athletic sports in American against each other is astounding. Face Off Academy coaches Chris Mattes and Brendan Fowler and not only doing it, but doing it at the highest level. Both Mattes of the Florida Launch and Fowler of the Charlotte Hounds are all-star selections this season and conducting clinics across the sunshine state. They will also be facing off against each other this weekend. Both players are winning close to 50% at the X and with their attention to detail, this battle will prove pivotal.
The Launch secured their first win of the season against the Denver Outlaws as their offense and defense a complete game. Florida looks to build on this success now that their roster has finally settled and newly acquired Jeff Reynolds via trade. Florida first round pick Matt Landis is suiting up for the Launch as well as Steve Pontrello. The Launch had some success running Lyle Thompson out of the box to create mismatches. Owen Blye led the Florida with 5 goals and seems to be settling in with his new team.
Charlotte beat Boston last week to end a 3 game losing streak and get back to the win column. Mike Chanenchuck scored 4 goals for an offense that was missing Fowler and Joey Sankey. The Hounds started out hot winning their first 3 games, but then hit the 3 game skid. Just like Florida, Charlotte is settling on their roster and their most recent win over Boston marked a sweep of the Cannons and earn them valuable tie breaker points as teams vie for playoff spots.
Both teams are fresh off of wins and looking to build on that momentum. Florida is looking to finish strong and send Casey Powell off on a high note. The ageless wonder announced his retirement at the end of the season to become the offensive coordinator at Jacksonville. Charlotte is positioning themselves for a run at the playoffs and need to stay ahead of Atlanta and Rochester. Both are powerful motivation for these teams as they face each other in a rematch. If the MLL has proved anything, it is that the second half of the season is as uncertain as the first and it is difficult to sweep any team. Florida’s defense needs to continue where they left off against Denver and leash the Hounds offense and continue to create mismatches on offense. Charlotte needs to keep moving the ball on offense and disrupt Florida’s offense. The game may come down to the face off battle as two friends battle each other.