The Hamilton Nationals are lucky to open their season in week two instead of week one, because Garrett Billings, Jordan Hall and Brodie Merrill will be back today. The Nats will travel to Boston to face the 0-1 Cannons who lost in New York last week.
The Cannons have all of their players back too, but there were signs of concern last week when they struggled to score timely goals and allowed New York to take a big lead at the half. The offense was predicable, but worst of all Matt Poskay had just one point. For the Cannons to win, they need Poskay to be one of their best players on the field.
Mike Stone and Ari Sussman stepped up, and it can be expected they will have solid seasons as secondary scorers. But as said above, their best players (Poskay, Ryan Boyle, Paul Rabil) need to lead this team on the offensive side of the field.
Kevin Buchanan is also back this week which is big. He can help get the ball to Poskay over the middle, which seems to be their favorite plan of attack over the past few seasons.
Chris Eck is a game time decision and this is concerning. The Cannons struggled for possession in New York because Chris Mattes won just seven of his 27 faceoffs. That can’t happen in MLL, so they could sure use Eck, especially given that they traded away John Ortolani.
For the Nationals, Scott Rodgers is no longer there. Brett Queener is the guy and they have to rely on him against an offense looking to explode. Luckily Brodie Merrill is in their to cover Rabil, one of the most epic matchups in lacrosse.
The key to the game for Boston is to move the ball and actually set up plays that put their best players in better positions. For the Nationals, shut down Rabil and that could mess up the Boston offensive unit. Easier said than done, but also easier with Merrill in the mix.