Photo by Kevin Leclaire – Ultiphotos.com
The 2016 MLU Season keeps rolling into Week 3, with 7 of the 8 teams playing this coming weekend.
Whether you come out and join the crowd or watch comfortably from you home online, this weekend will be full of ultimate action!
Cardinal Stadium, Washington, D.C. – 7pm ET – TICKETS – WATCH LIVE
The first game this weekend will give clarity to the Eastern Conference standings, as the two winless teams in the east face off in D.C.. While both teams have suffered loses to the Spinners and Whitecaps, the storylines for the Rumble and D.C. Current could not be more different.
For D.C., a team trying to find its rhythm with veterans in new roles and rookies just getting their feet wet, a pair of close loses at home makes this week’s game a near must win if they hope to keep their playoff hopes alive. Look for strong games from veterans Lloyd Blake and Delrico Johnson, as well as impressive rookies Antoine Davis II, Mark Flores and Joe Freund.
For New York, a team trying to redefine its identity with a roster full of rookies, this game is their next chance to see if they can build some consistency around the flashes of impressive play they’ve shown so far this season, despite two big losses at home. This is the first test on the road for rookies Sean Mott, Mason Compton and Seth Canetti, the team’s three scoring leaders. And always keep an eye out for Marques Brownlee, currently leading the league in blocks (7).
Milawaukie High School Turf Field, Milwaukie, Ore. – 5pm PT – TICKETS – WATCH LIVE
This game will be a true litmus test for the Dogfish, and could serve as a bit of revenge for the Stags as the two unbeatens in the Western Conference meet in Portland. While the Stags looks to earn an early sweep of their rivals, having already beaten Vancouver and Seattle (twice), the Dogfish are looking to prove that their Opening Day victory over the Nighthawks was no fluke.
For Portland, this game is a chance to avenge a bit of a black mark on their 9-1 record from last year, as the Dogfish were the only team to beat the powerhouse Stags during their dominant 2015 regular season campaign. Look for strong performances from the usual names – Cody Bjorklund, Peter Woodside, Raphy Hayes, Ben McGinn and Timmy Perston to name a few. Also, keep an eye on Trevor Smith and Sam Franer, two rookies who have impressed so far.
From San Francisco’s point of view, the big win over Vancouver on Opening Day gave Dogfish fans a lot to be excited about after two years at the bottom of the standings. New Head Coach Jason Seidler seems to have something going with the Dogfish, who looked smooth and comfortable on the field behind veterans Gabe Saunkeah, James Sheridan, Thomas Pineda and James Yeager, as well as promising rookies Alex Cloud, Nate Young and Daniel Naruo. This matchup with Portland provides this new look Dogfish squad with the chance to show what they have against the best the conference has to offer.
Mt. Vernon High School, Mt. Vernon, Wash. – 6:30pm PT – TICKETS – WATCH LIVE
Similar to the New York vs. D.C. matchup earlier in the day, this game will establish the conference standings as we move into the heart of the season, with one of these two teams ensured to tally their first win of the season. A meeting between the last two Western Conference Champions (Vancouver in 2014, Seattle in 2015), both teams are looking to get back on track and get that elusive first victory.
Vancouver has started the season with two big loses to San Francisco and Portland, losing by double digit goals to both. That said, the games couldn’t have been more different. In the opener against the Dogfish, most of the young Nighthawks were seeing their first taste of the professional game, leading to a completion percentage of only 79.2% and an incredible 40 turns. Against Portland, the team made strides, completing 90.4% of their passes and only losing the disc 29 times to a historically potent Stags defense. Look for veterans Erik Hunter and Taylor Nadon to continue to lead the way, with rookies Graeme Barber, Ty Barbieri, Sascha Lo and Mitchell Dozzi-Daigle to make their mark.
Seattle, the reigning conference champions, have suffered two very different loses to the Portland Stags so far this season, but have plenty of good to focus on heading into their matchup with the Nighthawks. Despite getting beat badly during Opening Weekend, the Rainmakers held the lead against the Stags for most of their Week 2 rematch, only allowing Portland to take control in the closing minutes, becoming the only team this season to give the Stags a run for their money. Veterans Brad Houser, Eddie Feeley, and Evan Klein should have big games against the Nighthawks, while all eyes will be on the team’s injury report to see if Khalif El-Salaam will be back after being inactive for Week 2.
Carey Stadium, Fort Washington, Penn. – 12pm ET – TICKETS – WATCH LIVE
A rematch of the Opening Weekend matchup, the Rumble will stop in Philadelphia on the second half of their doubleheader for a tough matchup against the conference leading Spinners. These doubleheaders are tough, with only one team in league history winning two road games in the the same weekend, so the young Rumble are in for a long weekend.
With the doubleheader, Coaches Anthony Nuñez and Eileen Murray of the Rumble will have to see what kind of depth their young team has, utilizing the entire roster to keep their team’s legs fresh. Any Fantasy Ultimate players should be sure to check the team’s injury report when they are released on Thursday, to see who the Rumble will be without for the matchup. Look perhaps for contributions by veterans like Jibran Mieser, Matt Weintraub, Matt Wilson and Charlie Patten, who have dealt with these doubleheaders in years past.
For the Spinners, enjoying their best start in franchise history, Coach Darryl Stanley has been excellent so far at using his entire roster, with all but 3 players on the active roster playing at least 15 points in the team’s first three games. This game might see some of the younger players on the Spinners roster see significant time on the field. Look for rookies like Mike Arcata and Greg Martin to mix in with the usual suspects from Philly – Nick Hirannet, Michael Panna, Himalaya Mehta and Billy Sickles.