Photo by Scobel Wiggins – UltiPhotos.com
10 – 25
This is all about the breaks of the game. First were the deflected discs, as seen elsewhere, for which a total catalog would take more space than we care to dive into here.
Second were the actual break goals. New York scored precisely zero break goals.
Philadelphia converted 13 breaks on 27 possessions spread out over 25 defensive points.
New York scored five times on offense without turning the disc over.
New York converted zero breaks on three possessions spread out over 12 defensive points.
Philadelphia scored nine times on offense without turning the disc over.
Which reminds me that the best way to do this game justice is to let the numbers speak:
Philly had 17 players combine to complete 144 passes without a turn.
New York had six players combine to complete 57 passes without a turn.
The Spinners had 23 of 25 players register at least one goal, assist or block.
The Rumble had 14 of 23 players register at least one goal, assist or block.
Philly had three drops.
New York had six drops.
The Spinners had zero players play more than 13 points, 20 players play 10 to 13 points and five players play fewer than 10 points.
The Rumble had nine players play 14-20 points, six players play 10 to 13 points and eight players play fewer than 10 points.
The table is yours, Philadelphia. We expect to see you in the Eastern Conference Final.
20 – 17
Between San Francisco’s performance last week and Seattle’s this week, it seems that the Stags are not quite as far ahead of their Western foes as we imagined in the early season. In the standings, they are still well ahead, but the gap in play has narrowed.
A few team-specific notes from this game:
Portland’s Vertical Stack
Often, when assessing the vertical stack offense of the Stags on video, it seems preternaturally still. There is often a huge swatch of space in front of the thrower in which there might be one player generally standing still, with no other cutters visible. Generally, when vertical stacks look like this, it is a sign of poorly orchestrated offense. Defenders can frequently sit underneath cutters who are too deep to prevent easy underneath passes content that any hucks will hang long enough that a play can be made.
In Portland’s case, this isn’t a bug, it is a feature:
Stoppage @ 5:33 in the First Quarter
We can see the top of the Stag stack a full 10 yards from the thrower, who is looking only at his reset, another 10 yards back, and completes a pass five more yards back. Then the reset puts the disc out wide for Cody Bjorklund, who catches it five yards in from the top of the stack, who is still there. I’m not sure how this works, but I’m sure it has something to do with Bjorklund.
Stoppage at 6:20 in the Third Quarter
The top of the stack starts 12 yards away, and the first throw is a huge OI flick to an open Stag. What? Why is that guy open and how is there no help defender?
In other instances, this sort of spacing for Portland leads to underneath cuts which gain 15-20 yards. They’re doing work to create space and attack it, but I’m not yet sure how they’re taking such consistent advantage of it within what is generally considered a suboptimal offensive structure for a vertical stack.
Nice work by the handler offense here.
Seattle sees the defender poach off of Jeff Pape (#27) into the throwing lane. Pape counters with the breakside reset cut and Danny Trytiak tosses the disc to Pape. Pape’s sefender swings wide to the backhand side in anticipation of closing down the mark. Pape bounces the disc immediately back to Trytiak, and cuts upline away from his defender.
Pape gets the disc back on an inside break with a trailing mark and pops it immediately out to Todd Sliva near the sideline. As Pape continues his upline cut, his gravity pulls in double coverage and leaves Sliva as an unmarked thrower.
This is a good look at the cat-and-mouse game played between handler defenders and handlers. Seattle’s Pape did well to leverage his advantage up the field and draw defensive attention away from his teammates.
This is a fantastic fast break which doubles as a highlight for Khalif El-Salaam’s positive influence on the Seattle offense.
Portland has just turned the disc over on an errant swing pass. Seattle’s thrower gets to the disc briskly and checks behind him to see where everyone is. (Two Stags defenders 10 yards downfield of thrower). He sees that one good upline cut already started from somewhere behind the disc and outside the frame.
As the throw goes up to this upline cut from Sliva, El-Salaam is even with the first thrower, his defender is one step ahead of him, one defender is giving him a 9-yard cushion and one is giving a 13-yard cushion.
(As the disc was in the air, El-Salaam was looking at the thrower. El-Salaam’s defender was looking down, ceding El-Salaam the advantage.)
As the new thrower (Sliva) catches the disc on a 15-yard gain, Salaam is one yard behind him, defender trailing by two yards. One defender has chosen to ignore El-Salaam while a second is giving a 6-yard cushion.
When Sliva sets his pivot foot, El-Salaam is one yard ahead with his defender two yards behind and a second defender with a 4-yard cushion. As the throw goes up, the defender still has a 2-yard cushion and the original defender is still trailing by two yards.
When El-Salaam catches the disc 40 yards later, the second defender’s cushion is -2 yards and the original defender’s outstretched arm is -2 feet from the disc.
This is the difference that one trusted cutter can make in an offense. This is an unscripted play which coalesced on the fly around the confidence the Rainmakers have in El-Salaam to reward his cut even in double coverage.
Seven On & On Anon…
1. Second Assists
I know I love numbers which have yet to reveal their meaning…and I hope you do too. In this week’s installment, here are the league leaders in “Hockey Assists” or “Second Assists” or “The pass which leads to the assist”:
Again, I’m not sure what this means other than “these players complete passes near the end zone” (Which is a subset of all of these players being high-usage players within their respective offenses) but that in and of itself is somewhat interesting. The stats folks at MLU are generating all kinds of numbers. Making sense of them may take a while yet as we continue to tabulate the data.
2. Blocks Per Point
In 2014 there were seven players who, over the course of the season, averaged one more than one block per 10 points played:
|Player||Team||Points Played per Block|
In 2015, through seven weeks, there are 10 (minimum 10 points played):
|Player||Team||Points Played per Block|
The three repeat appearances (Hatchett, Gibson, Castine) are unlikely to be flukes. These three are certainly players who generate blocks on defense regardless of what else is happening in their games. And the mind boggles at the idea of Mieser possibly keeping up that sort of performance (eight blocks in 26 points played) over a season! His injury is unfortunate.
In 2014, 54 of 182 (29.67%) players averaged at least one block per 20 points played. In 2015, 66 of 241 (27.39%) players are averaging at least one block per 20 points played.
3. That was a better catch than you acted.
Back in the summary of the Portland at Seattle game. Go back to 6:33 in the video. Tad Jensen sends a disc up the flick side to Bjorklund who needs to adjust his cut angle and then layout to catch the OI flick with his *inside* (aka right) hand which presents a very difficult disc to hand angle of incidence. Did you almost leap out of your chair at that catch? It was that worthy. A little jump in your seat, but not a full-on stand-up.
4. Time is a fleeting gift…
… take a moment to appreciate how little is left. Further Support to my claim that Seattle’s coaching staff knows what’s up: Let the pull fall, wait for receivers to get down field. Then begin play.
5. Offense on Defense, Cats and Dogs Living Together, Mass Hysteria![iframe width=”628″ height=”360″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/JmzuRXLzqKk” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]
Normally, if we see the offensive line playing defense, it is a sign that something is rotten. In the case of the Philadelphia pile-on against New York, it was a sign of how sweet the night was for the Spinners. At 16-5 Jake Rainwater casually pulled 80 yards before the Rumble quelled the hysteria and scored rather easily on an midrange huck to Robbie Gillies.
6. This is a better play than you acted.
Bjorklund catches the low throw and pivots toward the center of the field. This maintains his ability to survey the field and see his teammates. It also establishes that the mark ran too close to Bjorklund to set an effective backhand force, as the inside pivot establishes Bjorklnd’s flickside leverage.
It also establishes control over the space around his torso. He sees Matt Melius cutting upline with his defender trailing high on the flick side. Using the space he established on the inside pivot, Bjorklund pivots to the sideline and delivers the backhand to the upline cut while his mark overcorrects to a backhand force.
Now, if we run it back and consider the defender: He sprints toward the sideline and starts off with a backhand force. However, his vision is compromised as he is looking directly into the empty stands and cannot see the upline cut and does not know that Bjorklund lacks any quick and easy arounds or resets despite his step-through inside pivot. The mark then concedes all backhands, which includes the open throw for a goal as the defender was in no position to challenge.
Bjorklund is my early leader for Western MVP. He’s omnipresent on offense for the best team in the West and provides a two-way cutting threat who is more than happy to power discs out for Timmy Perston to chase down or to work the short game as a thrower.
Instead of a full-length layout catch in traffic to a massive hammer for a goal (check Perston angling for the hammer early here), we’ve what turns out to be an impressive chasedown block for Raphy Hayes on the throw.
Midfield Heave as Time Expires
Woah. The Bjorklund to McGinn catch which almost was…