This past weekend’s MLL action was a bit crazy. New York and Denver showed how much they don’t like each other in the pouring rain, Rochester and Chesapeake exchanged body blows for two straight hours, Ohio effectively prevented those caissons from Boston from rolling along, and Florida and Charlotte engaged in what is known as a “shootout.” As the season winds down the playoff picture comes into closer relief and we all have a better idea of what’s going to shake out. Mathematical possibilities aside, realistically there are four teams vying for the final three playoff spots. Given how entertaining the Chesapeake/Rochester tilt was this weekend I’d be all for a 4/5 seed play-in game for the last spot if those teams were tied in the standings. A guy can dream, right?
Anyway, as opaqueness fades into clarity quite a bit of shuffling occurred in this week’s rankings. I can admit when I was wrong, and clearly I erred about Rochester last week; consider that rectified now.
- New York Lizards: The Lizards got up big on the Outlaws, but the visitors were able to chip away at the stone late in the game to make it seem closer than it really was. The torrential downpour didn’t seem to affect the Lizards’ ability to control this game.
- Ohio Machine: Boston was arguably the hottest team in the league heading into last week and Ohio dispatched them with relative ease and a monster second quarter. They’ve held opponents to 12 goals or fewer seven times this year. Expect a very different game against New York this week than what took place in Week 1. That should be appointment TV for any MLL fan.
- Rochester Rattlers: I’m sorry I doubted the Ratz. One fan who disagreed with my ranking of Rochester last week argued that their come-back ability made them dangerous. I thought about that a lot while watching the game this week. The fact that they gutted out two wins down the stretch against quality teams is telling.
- Boston Cannons: The Cannons dropped a bit this week, but really teams 2-4 are on a par with each other. In that situation the team that lost most recently falls a bit. Their final two games are both on the road against Chesapeake and then a re-match versus Ohio. When Boston is clicking they are one of the most dangerous teams in the league. This is not the time in the season for an echo of their early-season inconsistency.
- Chesapeake Bayhawks: The Bayhawks had their moments against Rochester, but couldn’t close it out. Tyler Fiorito played lights out despite the loss, a disappointing trend this year. The goalie battle proved a highlight of the game as John Galloway was lights out for Rochester as well. The Bayhawks can still make the playoffs, but they need to win out and get some help from a few other teams as well.
- Florida Launch: This team has been fun to watch the past few weeks. They add Jovan Miller and all of a sudden their transition game is clicking. Lyle Thompson seems like he’s now settled into the pro game. Watching Miles, Lyle, and Kieran McArdle on attack on Saturday was like the perfect storm. This is still McArdle’s team, for now, but it’s good to see the chemistry between the young guys starting to work. Shout out to Austin Kaut for a few solid games in net as well. The youth movement is alive in Florida.
- Denver Outlaws: Remember when Denver won the MLL championship? What a difference a year makes. Despite having much of the same personnel this team has been tough to watch. Turnover-itis afflicts the offense on a regular basis, and the defense suffers from Island Syndrome due to non-existentence of effective slides. Florida visits the Mile High City on Sunday and that Launch attack could make things ugly for the Outlaws.
- Charlotte Hounds: According to Joe Keegan, the Hounds have the worst offensive efficiency and the second the worst defensive efficiency in the league. Although they may be the best at getting offensive resets, they’re the worst at allowing opponents’ resets. What does all this mean? That their 3-9 record is just about right. There’s no apparent chemistry on this squad. Although it was nice to see Mike Sawyer return to form with five goals against the Launch. A silver lining, if you will.