Photo by Brian Canniff – Ultiphoto.com
There are serious playoff implications as the 2016 MLU Season rolls into Week 9, with 7 of the 8 teams playing significant matchups.
Whether you come out and join the crowd or watch comfortably from you home online, this weekend will be full of ultimate action!
Carey Stadium, Fort Washington, Pa. – 4pm ET – TICKETS – WATCH LIVE
The Whitecaps travel to Philadelphia this weekend for their third and final regular season matchup with the Spinners. Both teams have won the home portion of their season series so far.
The Whitecaps are hitting their stride at the right time, having knocked off consecutive undefeated teams in their past two games. First, they defeated the Spinners (the victor in Boston’s only loss this season), before defeating the powerhouse Portland Stags as part of the league’s inaugural cross-divisonal game the following week. With a bye last weekend, we’d expect to see a rested Whitecaps roster this Saturday, but due to a laundry list of inactives, the team will need to dig deep for the victory.
The Spinners bounced back from their loss to Boston with a victory over the Washington D.C. Current last weekend. The victory knocked D.C. out of playoff contention and solidified the Spinners date with the Whitecaps in the Eastern Conference final this season, a rematch of 2015. With the season series tied 1-1, this weekend’s game becomes incredibly important, as both teams will be striving for home field advantage in the playoffs.
Yellowjacket Stadium, Berkeley, Ca. – 3PM PT – TICKETS – WATCH LIVE
The Rainmakers and Dogfish will meet this weekend for the second time this season. In their previous meeting, the Rainmakers defended their home turf with vigor, pummeling the visiting Dogfish, 29-16.
The Dogfish have had a rough go of things since their Week 1 victory over the Nighthawks, losing 5 straight contests. While they have looked outmatched at time by more veteran squads from Portland and Seattle, but have also lost close games to both Vancouver and New York. San Francisco will be looking to prove this weekend that they can not only compete with young teams, but also established veteran teams. Look for San Francisco’s veterans like Gabe Saunkeah, Thomas Pineda and James Sheridan to lead the way.
The Rainmakers’ season has been quite different, having won 5 straight after losing their first 2 games to the Portland Stags. The Rainmakers have found their identity in 2016, under the leadership of Head Coaches Kate Kingery and Fiona McKibben. Impressive campaigns by veterans Brad Houser, Cam Bailey and Evan Klein, supplemented by solid play from Khalif El-Salaam and Steve Gussin. With a win this weekend against San Francisco, the Rainmakers can punch their ticket to the postseason, looking to repeat their 2015 Western Conference Championship.
Milwaukie High School, Milwaukie, Ore. – 3PM PT – TICKETS – WATCH LIVE
The Nighthawks travel south to take on the Stags this weekend, for the third and final meeting between these two teams this season. The Stags won both earlier meetings handily, using veteran experience and a deep roster to dismantle the inexperienced Vancouver squad.
The young Nighthawks have been making serious progress over the past few seasons, notching their first win of the season against the Dogfish and catching Seattle off guard last weekend, before ultimately falling to the home team Rainmakers. Erik Hunter has emerged as a powerful presence in the Western Conference, ranking third in the league in scoring. Rookies Graeme Barber, Victor Cheng and Sascha Lo have joined Hunter and fellow veteran Taylor Nadon to lead a talented group of promising players under Head Coach Patrick Gatien.
While Vancouver looks to build for the future, the Stags are committed to winning not just the Western Conference, but the 2016 MLU Championship in July. Boasting a roster full of superstars, Portland has already clinched home-field advantage for the playoffs, but shows no sign of slowing down. League scoring leader Cody Bjorklund recently became the first player in MLU history to record 100 assists, while teammate Timmy Perston became the first to eclipse the 100 goals mark. While Bjorklund and Perston have been their usual offensive studs, some would say Raphy Hayes has been the most impressive Stag this season, dominating on both sides of the disc.
Bell Stadium, Orange, N.J. – 4PM ET – TICKETS – WATCH LIVE
The Rumble will host the visiting Whitecaps on Sunday, the second leg of Boston’s doubleheader weekend. This is only the second time these teams have met this season, with Boston taking the first game, 22-13.
The Whitecaps have easily handled the Rumble in recent seasons, but this may prove to be a tough game for the Head Coach Sam Rosenthal’s squad, who will be coming off a tough game against the Spinners on Saturday, and who will be traveling with a very limited roster.
The Rumble have struggled in 2016, the result of high turnover on the roster and an influx of young, albeit inexperienced players. Head Coaches Eileen Murray and Anthony Nuñez have begun building something with their young talent, but the have had several near victories snatched away at the last minute. Lead by veterans Matt Weintraub, Scott Xu and Marques Brownlee, and aided by talented rookie Sean Mott, the Rumble will continue to grow and look to upset a few rivals along the way.