MLL Preview: Lizards Host Hounds

For the second time in 2012 the Long Island Lizards will face the Charlotte Hounds. The first time these two teams met it was closer than Long Island had anticipated. Coach Spallina and the Lizards took home the 10-9 win, along with a lot of homework to do. That game was played in Charlotte, so the Hounds had the upper hand. This time, the game will take place on Long Island and the Lizards will get a chance to show the Hounds what they’re really made of.

For Charlotte, this game doesn’t really mean much seeing as they are out of the playoff picture. However, it would be nice to go out with a couple of wins.

It’s Long Islands spot to lose in the 2012 postseason. They can clinch their playoff spot this weekend with a win and a Boston Cannons loss on Saturday night. Boston plays first place Chesapeake this weekend, and the odds will be in Long Island’s favor. The Lizards will be Bayhawks fans this weekend. It will also be a big homecoming for a few of the Charlotte players, as most of them were previous Lizards.

Matt Danowski, Stephen Berger, and Ricky Pages will look to get revenge for the Hounds o their old team. Charlotte’s defense will have to, again, step it up. Adam Ghitelman played decent against the Rattlers in the beginning of the game last weekend. However, when an offense starts to score on him, Adam, along with the defense, seems to become dismantled and discombobulated.

Their offense needs to work out their kinks. Charlotte has one of the strongest offenses in the MLL, but they just don’t seem to click all the time. They need to work as a team and not rely on one person. Rookies will need to play as veterans.

Transition and the faceoff X have been killers all season long for the Hounds. Watching them last weekend versus the Rattlers, the Hounds threw the ball away multiple times. At some point someone has to step up and get the ball down on offense, settle until the subs are in and then do some damage. Faceoff’s have not been friendly at all. Like transition, it’s been a killer all season and going up against Long Island’s Greg Gurenlian, will be no easy task. Jerry Ragonese will need to pull out all the tricks if he wants to win some faceoff’s.

The Lizards have come out of nowhere to be one of the best teams in the MLL. As said many times, no one knew where they would be at or if they would even make the playoffs after they started 0-2. Well, here they are and their ready to go. Big applause goes out to Coach Spallina for turning this ball club around. The addition of Jim Brown may have helped just a little.

The game against the Hounds last time was the spark the Lizards needed to go on their five game win streak. With the Charlotte game this weekend, it is included in the five games left of the 2012 season. There are three games left in the regular season and then the two postseason games. Hopefully that magic will stay strong with Long Island all the way to the end. If the magic wears thin, the talent will step in.

The Lizards will have to play as a team and keep on doing what they’re doing. Drew Adams will have to be a leader on the field and make saves that he never thought possible. The defense will have to work as a unit and communicate. Transition will be key as well and will help the Lizards dominate if they can push fast breaks. Scoring early and often will be the offenses job to deplete the Hounds defense. Matt Gibson and C.J. Costabile will need to play like veterans the rest of the way. I don’t see Gurenlian having many problems at the faceoff X.

All in all, it will make to be a great game, and hopefully will be a somewhat close game. Game time is set for 7 p.m. EST on Saturday July 28 at James M Shuart Stadium.