Coming off a bye week last week, the New York Lizards (1-0) travel down to Florida to take on the Launch (0-2). In a press conference earlier this week, head coach of the Lizards Joe Spallina talked about the importance of the bye week.
“After week one we really needed that bye to rest up the legs. The first week is always a little more difficult after a long offseason. The bye came at a perfect time for us, but we’re ready to get back in gear.”
Last season, these two teams split the series between them. The first match went to the Lizards, who, at the time, were undefeated, 18-11. However, in the second meeting, the Launch took down the Lizards, handing them their second straight loss. The difference was Paul Rabil, who was on the Lizards injured list at the time. Don’t expect that to be a factor this time, though.
New York got a well-deserved bye week after having to fight their way back to a victory over the Rochester Rattlers in a much-anticipated rematch of the 2015 MLL Championship game. Rabil and Matt Gibson led the way for the Lizards in scoring with five goals each, including a two-point goal for Rabil.
Tommy Palasek also contributed to the win with three goals of his own. Palasek is now one goal away from his 100th career goal, so expect him to be looking to score goal 100. He isn’t the only one looking for his 100th career goal, however. Rob Pannell stands at 98 career goals, so also look for him to tally a couple goals in his stat line as well.
The New York Lizards defense is something worth keeping an eye on throughout the game. During the off week, the Lizards made a trade with the Denver Outlaws that sent Michael Skudin out west in exchange for Stephen Jahelka. Jahelka is still finishing up his season with Harvard, so it should interesting to see who coach Spallina will have dressed against the Launch.
Overall, this game seems to favor the Lizards. They rested this week, so they should be fresh when taking the field on Saturday. They have a couple goal scorers looking to achieve some milestones, but definitely look for everyone to get involved in the offense. The defense might be a question mark with the trade that sent Skudin to Denver, but it still has the major pieces, like Joe Fletcher and Brian Spallina.