Newcomers to the MLL, the Atlanta Blaze, head to the Midwest to take on the Ohio Machine this weekend. This meeting between these teams will prove to be historic, as it is the first time in history they will meet on the field. The Machine have been rolling on a two game win streak after a close loss to Rochester a couple weeks back.
Atlanta is searching for a win after a one goal loss to the defending champions, New York, and a devastating 21-12 loss to Boston. If Atlanta want to be considered in playoff talks a win over the (62) Machine would boost their credibility. Atlanta’s trade of number one overall pick, Myles Jones, shocked the lacrosse world this week.
The Duke midfielder, along with a second round draft pick was traded to Chesapeake for veteran Matt Mackrides, along with a first round draft pick. Many questions have arose as to why the trade occurred, especially now and not during the draft. Perhaps the Blaze were in need for a proven and MLL tested player. Jones had an outstanding career at Duke with 77 total points his senior year, but has not been performing to expectations for the Blaze. In the two games he played in an Atlanta jersey, Jones had a mere two goals and one assist.
Mackrides has won two MLL Championships with the Bayhawks, along with a combined 58 points from the ‘13 and ‘14 seasons. He missed most of the ‘15 season due to effects from a previous concussion. Surely the Blaze are ready to put their pricey new toy to the test against Ohio. Expectations when examining records and current winloss streaks point to an Ohio victory, but this is the MLL, anything can happen. We all saw the Blaze suckerpunch the Outlaws and Florida in a two week span. Atlanta has the capability of snagging an extra digit for the W column. With Mackrides on the roster instead of an underperforming Jones we could easily see a new team from the Blaze.
Taking down Ohio will not be easy though. With human brickwall, Scotty Rodgers in cage for the Machine, Atlanta will be forced to capitalize on each opportunity they get. Ohio Machine versus Atlanta Blaze will be broadcasted on Lax Sports Network Saturday June 18th at 4:30pm E