Dramatic weekend in the league with each game creating their own story-line. Boston kicked things off with another thrilling game against the Current in the latest chapter of the best rivalry in the league. With D.C.'s playoff hopes bleak, New York opened the door by upsetting the Spinners at home. The Stags won, yet again, but I would not go as far to say they are boring. In the other West coast game, the key factor of "travel" was prevalent, as has been the case in the league all year.
#1 Portland Stags: 8-1
For the remainder of the regular season, I can say without a doubt, that the Stags will be the top team in the rankings. Once again Seattle gave them a tough battle, and even with experimenting with new lines, Portland was able to get the victory. With the Stags having an ample amount of superstars, the 'sub-par' performances by Eli Friedman, Peter Woodside, Riley Meinershagen, Topher Davis, and Tyler Cable did not even hurt them. Taking their place, Ben McGinn stepped up in a huge way with a season high seven assists. Only one game remains on their schedule and it comes against the Nighthawks who have a league leading 5 game losing streak.
#2 Boston Whitecaps: 5-3
A huge win in D.C. just moved the 2013 MLU Champions to being the top favorite to make the Eastern Conference Finals. This game was another classic in the Boston- D.C. saga that was once again not decided until the final second of play. With an injured Jeff Graham and missing Teddy Browar-Jarus, the entire team stepped up and won in typical Whitecaps fashion. Josh Markette was the leader of the pack as Christian Foster saw increased action by moving to the O-line. In terms of playoffs, Boston's magic number to clinch is one game.
#3 DC Current: 4-4
Heartbreaking loss to Whitecaps at home, to make matters worse they had two chances to send it overtime. Biggest question from this game is where was Markham Shofner? He had only six total throws in a game that had pivotal playoff implications. Without Peter Prial, the Current needed Shofner to step up big. Despite his low production it stayed close but with all of D.C.'s unnecessary turns, he should have been a huge factor. Luckily for the Current, they still control their playoff destiny with a lot of credit that should be given to the Rumble.
#4 Philadelphia Spinners: 5-3
Philadelphia has now dropped two games in a row and has went from being the favorite in the East to a team that now has the roughest path to the playoffs. Offensively the team has gotten away from what made them so successful by valuing the disc (27 turnovers really kills a team). The Spinners lead the league in throws per possession, yet in this past game only one player averaged more than one touch per offensive opportunity. I do not want to criticize the Spinners too much though because it is more about the Rumble winning the game.
#5 Seattle Rainmakers: 4-4
Not having Khalif El-Salaam drastically changes the flow of this team. When El-Salaam is on the active roster the team is 3-1, when he is not they are 1-3. It is a shame that he was unable to play because his Seattle teammates did well against a Stags team that was 'experimenting' with their lineups. Each week I get eager to watch this talent heavy Rainmaker team but they keep leaving me hanging. If they do not kick it into gear, the Dogfish are not done fighting yet.
#6 San Francisco Dogfish: 3-5
This win already puts the Dogfish ahead of last year's team and gives them a chance to still be fighting for a playoff spot. In this game, San Francisco looked as strong as they have looked all season and dictated the outcome of this game. The final score was not indicative of how the team played and gave the Dogfish a chance to play with their lineups. Of the 30 points in the game only 3 players saw more than 15 points, not overworking the top of their roster.
#7 New York Rumble: 2-6
Who would have thought that the Rumble would have had such a big impact on the playoffs in the East. In this game New York's offense gave the team a chance to win, which proved to be enough to give the D-line some momentum. The team's ability to convert on break opportunities is something we have yet to see from this squad and gave the team confidence. With two strong games in a row, New York does not appear to be done just yet and may take advantage of the Whitecaps and Current underestimating them.
#8 Vancouver Nighthawks: 1-6
A controversial call may keep the Nighthawks from making a late postseason run. A lot of fuss was made off of a travel call that would have tied the game at 15 but I am not going to get into that. Bottom line, the reason why Vancouver lost this game would be the traveling (pun intended). The dreaded trip to the Bay Area has not been well to the Nighthawks this year, for this game only 19 players made the trek down. Even with the loss, the Nighthawks are not eliminated yet! They need a three way tie to occur but first must take care of business by winning their final three games.
The regular season is finally winding down with a lot of playoff positioning still up for grabs. At this point the Stags are the only team to clinch a spot and the Rumble are the only team that is officially eliminated. Since I mentioned it multiple times, on both coasts their is a possibility of their being a three way tie to determine who makes the postseason. If this were to be the case, the two teams that made it to the championship game last season would need to drastically catch up on point differential in order to make the cut. In other news the Dogfish will end their regular season with a doubleheader against the Nighthawks and Rainmakers, while in the East, D.C. and Philadelphia will battle in a pivotal matchup.
Formerly the "MLUltimate Fan Blog". New site, new name, same source.