Photo by Brandon Wu – Ultiphotos.com
As we prepare to celebrate the third anniversary of the founding of Major League Ultimate, we take a look back at the inaugural week of MLU play, specifically the match-up on April 20th, 2013 between the Philadelphia Spinners and the Washington DC Current at Blazer Stadium at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The Philadelphia roster was made up primarily of holdovers from the 2012 professional season, in which that incarnation of the Spinners had won the championship.
The DC Current, playing in their franchise’s first game, drew most of their players from Truck Stop, an elite Washington-area club team.
Excitement was in no short supply for the inaugural game of professional ultimate in the D.C. area as a crowd of over 1,000 fans packed the house. They did not leave disappointed.
In one of the most exciting games of the 2013 MLU season, the first three-quarters saw three ties, two lead changes and neither team building more than a two-point lead. In what would be the first of many career highlights, Delrico Johnson of the Current drew wild applause as he leap up and grabbed the disc from the air to prevent a long completion to Spinners captain Trey Katzenbach. The play would go on to be named the Defensive Play of the Week.
Despite a fantastic defensive showing from Johnson and the rest of the Current, Philadelphia’s Patrick Diviney came off the bench and caught the goal to tie the game at 14-14 late in the 4th. The Current tried to answer, but their scoring attempt was broken up in the end zone by Leon Chou and Ben Feng. After bring down a long huck to Katzenbach found Sean Murray in the endzone, giving the Spinners the lead for good.
The Spinners were able to win with strong performances from veterans Katzenbach (4G, 1A), Murray (3G) and Nick Hirannet,(3A, 95% Completion Percentage) but also saw the emergence of DC stars Johnson (Defensive Play of the Week), Alan Kolick (6A, 97% Completion Percentage) and Jeff Wodatch (3G, 1A, 100% Completion Percentage).
While the Spinners would head back to Philadelphia victorious, the Current would go on to finish 2nd in the Eastern Conference to the undefeated Boston Whitecaps in 2013, before posting a (9 – 1) record on the road to the MLU Championship in 2014.
The Spinners would win just 2 more games in 2013, finishing a disappointing season tied for last in the East, followed up by increasingly successful campaigns in 2014 and 2015. Philadelphia’s latest campaign ended in the 2015 Eastern Conference Final, losing to the eventual champions, the Boston Whitecaps.