Both teams will be looking to rebound off of last weekendâ€™s losses.
Charlotte, who was dominated by Denver, will have to find their team chemistry again. I really donâ€™t think that thereâ€™s one area that did not need fixing for the Hounds. Their defense is going to have to get better on their slides and whoever steps in net will have to stand on their head against this Rattlers offense.
On Attack, Rochester has a lot of weapons. Kevin Leveille showed up against Chesapeake while Steven Boyle stayed rather quiet. Dan Hardy may see some more playing time if Coach Soudan inverts Ned Crotty again. It wouldnâ€™t be a bad idea if Crotty starts at attack and draws Ryan Flanagan. That way, Rochester has a big threat from up top with both speed and dodging skills and wonâ€™t have one of the best defensemen in the league on his hands.
Charlotteâ€™s attack unit is deadly, when they show up. Matt Danowski had the game winning goal against Chesapeake two weekends ago but only had an assist against Denver. Billy Bitter only had one goal and Jeremy Boltus had four points (1G, 12-pt G, 2A) against the Outlaws. All three attackmen will have to have their A game against the Rochester defense.
The Hounds midfield has some of the best talent in the MLL in Stephen Berger, Jovan Miller, Josh Amidon, Kevin Kaminski and Brian Carroll. They will be going up against a tough Rochester defensive midfield core and they cannot shy away from dodging. They will have to be a threat for Charlotte and work as a team.
The Rattlers midfield unit will have to show up both on offense and defense. The threat Charlotte brings with their midfield group can cost a team the game. So transitioning the ball on offense from defense and from the faceoff will be key for a Rochester victory. Matt Striebel and Jordan MacIntosh will have to have a big game at the midfield spot. If Crotty is put in as a midfielder, like I said earlier, he will become the biggest threat on the field for Rochesterâ€™s offense, even if at attack. The Rattlers have worked well as a team on offense and will need to keep doing so if they plan to see the post-season.
Michael Manley, Tom Montelli, John Lade have worked well with each other at close defense. Manley is still the shut down defender he has always been. Lade is playing better and better each game, with very few slip ups here and there. Montelli brings the core group together with his team play. LSM Joel White is always good. He will take any assignment given to him and do everything he can to shut them down and the rub it in their faces by going down on offense and scoring. Short stick d-mids will need to play their best game with the Hounds coming to town. As mentioned earlier, Charlotteâ€™s midfield unit is good and will make you pay the price if you donâ€™t step up to match them. I am sure Roy Lang, Kevin Drew and the other midfielders will be ready for them.
At close for Charlotte are Ryan Flanagan, Joe Cinosky, and Kevin Ridgway, with Steve Panarelli as a sub. These guys will have to man up with their assignments, get their slides faster and not leave their goalie out to dry. LSMâ€™s Brett Schmidt and Ricky Pages will be busy covering their man, but have the skills to do so. They will be a pesky mosquito for their assignment. The defensive midfielders for the Hounds need to play team defense and communicate better, which goes for their whole defense as a matter of fact. They will need to see how Chesapeakeâ€™s defense worked together to shut down a good Rochester offense.
John Galloway is the anchor in the Rochester defense. He did have that scary moment last weekend when he got a Westervelt shot right off, what I believe, was his hand. Fortunately for the Rattlers he was ok. Galloway will once again have to keep on his toes and make the saves that no one else could.
Adam Ghitelman or Mark Manos will be in cage for the Hounds this weekend. Inconsistency has been the name of the game all season for the goalie position in Charlotte. However, they are both young and havenâ€™t been in the spot light until this season, but do have the possibility of being great. Ghitelman was fortunate enough to have some experience as he backed up Jesse Schwartzman Last year and Manos, as a rookie, is still transitioning and learning the MLL way.
Tim Fallon (71-166) can get a little scrappy at the faceoff spot, but will fight until the end. He has a big competitor in Geoff Snider, who is one of the MLLâ€™s best. If Snider does not play, Dan Cooney (20-68) and James Carroll (9-38) will be the guys for Charlotte. Jerry Ragonese will be in the Hounds lineup as well this weekend, adding another midfielder/faceoff guy, who went 14-40 when he played with Rochester in 2011.
Rochester: Crotty/Boyle vs. Flanagan, Boyle/Leveille vs. Cinosky and Leveille/Hardy vs. Ridgway
Charlotte: Danowski vs. Manley, Boltus vs. Lade and Bitter vs. Montelli
Charlotte: Striebel/Crotty vs. Pages/Schmidt, MacIntosh/Ross/Rotanz/DeNapoli vs. Short Stick D-Mids
Rochester: Berger vs. White, Miller vs. Lang and Amidon vs. Drew