Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 3 Power Rankings

It was redemption weekend in the Eastern Conference of the MLU this weekend as both the Spinners and Whitecaps were able to get wins against the teams that they lost to last weekend. Meanwhile the West continues to be unpredictable as the lone 1-9 team from last year beat the defending Conference Champions.

1. Boston Whitecaps: 2-1

Last Week: 2  Change: +1

Defeated DC Current 17-12

Redemption? Yes, unexpected? No. The defending champions proved again that they are still the best team in the league after their win at home over the DC Current. The team took complete control of the game in second half thanks to Jon Hirschberger and Brandon Malecek giving the Whitecaps a 7-0 record at home in their existence as a franchise. This week the team travels to New York for the first time this season, looking to start another winning streak.

2. DC Current: 2-1

Last Week: 1  Change: -1

Lost to Boston Whitecaps 12-17

Despite coming out with an early 2-0 lead over the Whitecaps, the DC Current appeared to still be riding the high from giving a franchise their first loss ever.  The offense seemed to be out of sync with a lot of throw aways and simply bad throws. Encouraging for DC though is that their D-line looked good when they were on against one of the cleanest offenses in the MLU.  The Current look to rebound next week as they host the Spinners.

3. Portland Stags: 2-0

Last Week: 6  Change: +3

Defeated San Francisco Dogfish 18-16 OT

Portland continues to impress with yet another victory of a Western Conference foe. What makes this win even more impressive is that they did it without their best player, Timmy Perston.  This game was won from the entire team with impressive outings from a majority of players including Chris Hancock. Another impressive feat is that San Fran had eight players come back after missing last weekend's roadtrip, but Portland was still able to comeback and get their franchise's first road win.

4. Seattle Rainmakers: 2-1

Last Week: 7 Change: +3

Defeated Vancouver Nighthawks 20-15

In the first annual "Border Bid" as both teams are now claiming their rivalry, Seattle held strong. The key for the Rainmakers to defeated the preseason conference favorites, was through their defense. Danny Trytiak and Donnie Clark had huge performances on the D-line after earning continuous breaks over and over again.

5. New York Rumble: 1-2

Last Week: 3  Change: -2

Lost to Philadelphia Spinners 12-13 2OT

In a much lower scoring affair, the Rumble vs. Spinners game went once again to double overtime. This time the victors were on the other side of the field in the Philadelphia Spinners. Everything was playing out to have a result similar to last week with the Rumble receiving the pull and working down the field until Johnathan Cox dropped the would-be winning goal. This was a main theme for the entire game of both team just having sloppy play. Hopefully next week the wind won't as be as huge of a factor as they challenge the Whitecaps at home.

6. Philadelphia Spinners: 1-2

Last Week: 8  Change: +2

Defeated NY Rumble 13-12 2OT

If the Spinners continue to play like they have this season, their fans are not going to have any fingernails left after a while. Another double overtime game, different result for the Spinners this weekend, giving the only winless team in the MLU their first win of the season.  Matt Esser continues to be a huge presence on the field with multiple D's and scores for the Spinners. Next week they have another opportunity to prove themselves as they head to DC for a game with the Current.

7. Vancouver Nighthawks: 1-2

Last Week: 4  Change: -3

Lost to Seattle Rainmakers 15-20

The Nighthawks last week looked like preseason favorites that everyone thought they were, this week they fell back to earth.  Unable to convert on opportunities upwind, the Nighthawks trailed a majority of the game against the Rainmakers.  Being the first team to play every team in their conference, the Nighthawks have been under-preforming this year to say the least. Their lone win came against the defending Western Conference Champs, Dogfish, and losses against two teams expected to continue to struggle this season (I know it doesn't make sense but welcome to the Western Conference).

8. San Francisco Dogfish: 1-3

Last Week: 5  Change: -3

Lost to Portland Stags 21-20 OT

Lets face it, this is not the team that we saw in the MLU Championship this season.  Last year after going up by 2-3 points the 2013 Dogfish would have shut the door on the Stags and cruised to victory. However the 2014 Dogfish allowed Portland to stay in striking range until eventually they came back and gave the Dogfish their 3rd straight loss, their longest losing streak in franchise history.

Going to be another rematch weekend in the Eastern Conference this week as the Spinners travel to DC and the Whitecaps to New York.  I expect similar results to what we all saw in Week 1 with the only difference being in the location.  In the Western Conference, the Dogfish will have another back-to-back roadtrip weekend traveling to Portland for their first match of the season, and then to Seattle on Sunday for their final matchup of the season. Vancouver will have their bye this weekend as they hope to rebound in Week 5.

Don't agree? Tell me what I missed in the comments section and who you think 
should be at the top.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 2 Power Rankings

Wow what a week for the MLU. Three of the four games this weekend were decided by one-point, one of which went into double overtime. San Francisco played their first two game weekend of the year, and it showed, oh and did I mention that the defending champs lost their first game in franchise history?

1. DC Current: 2-0

Last Week: 2  Change: +1

Defeated Boston Whitecaps 18-17

The DC Current did what everyone thought was impossible, they defeated the Boston Whitecaps. Earlier this year I called DC taking at least one of the two games they would play in the regular season this year. It wasn't a situation where Boston had an off-day, no the Current came out and beat the defending champions at their own game. On another note, Peter Prial is only player 14-0 in the MLU.

2. Boston Whitecaps: 1-1

Last Week: 1  Change: -1

Lost to DC Current 17-18

13-1. Even after a loss their franchise record is still pretty impressive. One cause of concern would have to be Brandon Malecek's 3 fouls in this past game, including the foul on the last play to set DC up for the game winning hammer. Either way you know the team is still good when the only concern is three fouls by a player. Next week Boston will have a chance to seek revenge at home to put themselves back on top of the league.

3. New York Rumble: 1-1

Last Week: 4  Change: +1

Defeated Philadelphia Spinners 24-23 2OT

While the Current was busy ending Boston's undefeated run, the Rumble was busy battling the Spinners into not only one overtime but a "universe point" in double overtime. After letting Philly battle back into the game, New York forced overtime and then the second. Chris Mazur continued doing what MVPs do by scoring the sudden death point in the second overtime.

4. Vancouver Nighthawks: 1-1

Last Week: 5  Change: +1

Defeated San Francisco Dogfish 26-15

The Nighthawks took advantage of a team that was playing in a back-to-back situation and also showed why they were the favorites to win the Western Conference this year.  The Nighthawks were in charge the entire game and prevented the Dogfish from even making a run. Definitely made up for their Week 1 loss against Portland. But don't forget to take into account that this was the second game of the weekend for San Francisco.

5. San Francisco Dogfish: 1-2

Last Week: 3  Change: -2

Lost to Seattle Rainmakers 21-20 & Lost to Vancouver Nighthawks 26-15

San Francisco had the unfortunate luck to play in back-to-back games this weekend. After coming off a heart breaking loss to Seattle on Saturday, where the team was missing eight players from their win last week, to then traveling to Vancouver again with a depleted roster. However Evan Boucher is currently on track to being one of the favorites for Western Conference MVP.

6. Portland Stags: 2013: 1-0

Last Week: 7  Change: +1

Bye Week

The Portland Stags coming off their home opening win against the Vancouver Nighthawks had a bye this week.  In my opinion this was a very unfortunate scheduling snafu where they could have carried the momentum from last week into another game. Nonetheless the fact that Vancouver just shut down San Francisco makes the Stags stock rise even higher.

7. Seattle Rainmakers: 1-1

Last Week: 8 Change: +1

Defeated San Francisco Dogfish 21-20 OT

Big win by Seattle getting revenge over the Dogfish this weekend. It looked like Seattle was going to win comfortably until San Francisco was able to force an overtime period. But due to 2013 MVP Adam Simon, the Rainmakers were able to get their first win of the season.

8. Philadelphia Spinners: 0-2

Last Week: 6  Change: -2

Lost to NY Rumble 24-23 2OT

Unfortunately for the Spinners the team is two-three points away from being 2-0 this season, instead of where they are now. And also unfortunate for them is that some team has to finish last in the Power Rankings. A good sign for Philly is that everything is coming together a lot soon than anticipated, along with former AUDL star, Matt Esser, leading the team.

Proud to say that I called the DC upset over Boston this past week to highlight Week 2 of the MLU season. This weekend is looking to be just as exciting as Boston and Philly both go for revenge against the Current and Rumble, while on the West Coast Portland gets to prove how good they really are against last year's Western Conference Champions, San Francisco, and Vancouver and Seattle plan on challenging the scoreboard.

Don't agree? Tell me what I missed in the comments section and who you think 
should be at the top.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 1 Power Rankings

Week 1 is in the books and we all now have seen what each team is looking like for the 2014 season. Although its only one game, there is a lot clearer picture of these teams now than there was last week.

1. Boston Whitecaps: 1-0

Last Week: 1  Change: --

Defeated NY Rumble 22-14

The team remains undefeated in the MLU after their 22-14 win over the NY Rumble.  Their defense was dominant like it was last season, scoring ten times in game that they were in control the entire time. The offense was clean and precise, only being scored on twice. Jeff Graham and others are making sure the winning nature in Boston stays that way as the head to the big game in DC next weekend.

2. DC Current: 1-0

Last Week: 2  Change: --

Defeated Philadelphia Spinners 21-18

The offseason favorites to knock of the Whitecaps, struggled to put away
the Philly Spinners 21-18. Whether it was the Spinners doing better than everyone thought, or the Current under performing (more than likely the first option), everyone expected a bigger game for DC.  Peter Prial showed he is still going to score a lot of points and Alan Kolick showed he is going to be one of the top performers in DC.  Other than that there was no reason to drop the Current below #2

3. San Francisco Dogfish: 1-0

Last Week: 5  Change: +2

Defeated Seattle Rainmakers 18-16

San Francisco pulled out the win this weekend against the Rainmakers in a rematch of the 2013 Western Conference Championship Game. However, this game was nothing compared to what it was last year. With errors and trouble on offense, the Dogfish somehow were able to pull away with the victory with help from Evan Boucher, Mac Taylor, and Jordan Jeffery. Don' take too much account in the #3 ranking.

4. New York Rumble: 0-1

Last Week: 4  Change: --

Lost to Boston Whitecaps 14-22

The "New Look" Rumble this season fell to the defending champions on opening day. It was clear that there was miss communication between the veterans and the rookies on the team. Chris Mazur was impressive as always and there was strong performances by new members of the team. However the Rumble showed that when they are on point, it is difficult for them to be stopped

5. Vancouver Nighthawks: 0-1

Last Week: 3  Change: -2

Lost to Portland Stags 21-23

The Nighthawks played liked it was their first game of the season, lucky for them it was, but it was also lucky for Portland. The bottom line of this game for Vancouver was that of a tennis match, unforced errors.  Way to many problems with the Vancouver's offense prevented Vancouver from taking this game. The Nighthawks did show to me that Mark Leduc and Tayuka Saito will be exciting to watch and will keep them in every game this season.

6. Philadelphia Spinners: 0-1

Last Week: 7  Change: +1

Lost to DC Current 18-21

Okay I'm going to be honest, the Spinners surprised me this weekend against the Current. In the fourth quarter the team scored eight goals in an attempt to send the game into overtime. However the team was halted by the Current to eventually get the three point loss. Looking to the future, former AUDL star, Matt Esser proved to be one of the top players for this season along with 2012 Spinners, David Brandolph and Jake Rainwater, who took a year off from the team

7. Portland Stags: 2013: 1-0

Last Week: 8  Change: +1

Defeated Vancouver Nighthawks 23-21

The Portland Stags arguably played their best game as a franchise of the MLU this weekend as they matched their win total from the 2013 season in Week 1.  Through newcomer Mark Burton and veteran Timmy Perston the Stags were able to drop the preseason Western Conference favorites, Vancouver Nighthawks.  The team will still have to work on closing teams out in how they let Vancouver stay in the game, but look for Portland to make some noise in the West.

8. Seattle Rainmakers: 0-1

Last Week: 6 Change: -2

Lost to San Francisco Dogfish 16-18

This is going to be an interesting year for Seattle and the Western Conference. Adam Simon is still showing that he will keep up with his play from last season, but the rest of the team not so much. A ton of turnovers plagued the Rainmakers and need to get it together if they want to contend in the West this season.

I'm much more confident with my rankings this week after being able to see the teams in action this past weekend. This upcoming weekend will be a big outlook for the rest of the season as Boston travels into DC and San Francisco plays the first two game weekend of the year, as Portland gets a bye.

Don't agree? Tell me what I missed in the comments section and who you think 
should be at the top.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Preseason Power Rankings

Now I'm going to start off by saying that I am not a huge fan of preseason rankings. I feel that it is impossible to tell the true judgement of how a team will perform until they actually get on the field. There are too many variables that could possibly change the outcome of what will happen, like a coaching change, new players, rookies, new matchups, etc. Its honestly unpredictable. One thing I do know is that the competition in the MLU will be even better in 2014, all teams have improved and once again all the teams have a chance to make and win the MLU Championship. However due to the demand for Preseason Rankings and fan hopefuls wondering  how their team's season will play out, here are my rankings based on this interesting offseason:

1. Boston Whitecaps: 2013: 10-0, MLU Champions

It's one thing to make it to the top, its another to stay there. This offseason the defending champions lost the league's leading goal scorer, Peter Prial, to DC. However, the rest of the team has remained intact and until someone shows that they can beat the Whitecaps they are going to be favorites to win it again.

2. DC Current: 2013: 4-6, Eastern Conference Runner-Up

Its going to be very interesting to watch what is happening this year in DC. The team was able to keep all their core players from last year and even added leading goal scorer, Peter Prial. This year look for DC to at least take one of the games against Boston and once again contend for the Eastern Conference Championship or even the MLU Championship.

3. Vancouver Nighthawks: 2013: 3-7, Missed Playoffs

If  you want to follow a come from behind team this year, it will be the Nighthawks. Last season the Nighthawks were in every game and could have easily had a 7-3 record and contended for the Western Conference Title. With other teams like San Francisco and Seattle falling back in the crowd, look for Kirk Savage to lead his team to the top of the Western Conference.

4. New York Rumble: 2013: 3-7, Missed Playoffs

I honestly don't know what to think of this team, yes they have the 2013 Eastern Conference MVP in Chris Mazur, but the team has a completely different look for the season. The team got some great offseason signings in Jack Marsh, Isaac Saul, and Sean Murray but will the team be able to put it all together. If you want a dark horse this season look into the Rumble because if they put the team together early on they will be one tough team to stop.

5. San Francisco Dogfish: 2013: 8-2, Western Conference Champions

I'm going to give San Fran the benefit of the doubt of them making it to the Championship Game last season to put them at #5. Losing Beau Kittredge is huge for this team along with the loss of Eric Greenwood, its going to be interesting to see the young talent step up for the Dogfish when they need it. Don't ever count them out though, they have arguably one of the best coaching circles in the league and still have a ton of experience.

6. Seattle Rainmakers: 2013: 8-2, Western Conference Runner-Up

Seattle, much like a majority of 2013, are in a very similar situation as the Dogfish. The Rainmakers come into the season losing a lot of key players, including Mark Burton to conference rival Portland.  They may only be sixth in the rankings but this season the Western Conference is wide open and I would not be at all surprised with a Seattle playoff run.

7. Philadelphia Spinners: 2013: 3-7, Missed Playoffs

Fans I give the 2013-2014 MLU offseason clearing house winner. This year the roster for Philly will be completely different from what we saw last year, but not too different from their AUDL days. Some huge stars from the 2013 College Champions, Pitt Ultimate, are now joining the team and looking to make an impact. With all of these signings its clear the Spinners are trying to build toward the future but they will still give some of the leagues top teams a run for their money.

8. Portland Stags: 2013: 1-9, Missed Playoffs

Its unfair that a team has to be in last place for these rankings because Portland does not deserve to be in the basement. The core players from last year will all be returning and team management has built a team this offseason to compete with the Seattle and San Francisco teams of last year. With the Rainmakers and Dogfish lacking on star power, Portland may be in the perfect opportunity to make a splash or even make the playoffs this year.

Again these are just preliminary power rankings, these are not my picks to make the playoffs. At the end of the season I could see all of the rankings flipped upside down (which is not very likely). I'm excited to see this season play out and some new teams try and challenge the Boston Whitecaps (who I would also bet money that they will not go undefeated again) for the championship.

Don't agree? Tell me what I missed in the comments section and who you think 
should be at the top.