The LXM PRO is in Atlanta, GA this weekend as Maverik United tries to even the all-time series with Team STX at three games apiece. I’m assuming you can do basic math, but if you can’t, the above means Mav is 2-3, while STX is 3-2. Most of the games between these two squads have been relatively tight, and both teams are capable of winning on any given day. So what will be the deciding factors in Saturday’s 6:15pm tilt?
Let’s take a look at the rosters for both teams first, and then I’ll get to some pre-game analysis:
New STX Goalie
As you can see, Matt Russell is out this week. He broke his thumb last time out (but finished the game) and is being replaced by Pierce Bassett, of Johns Hopkins fame, for this game. Bassett is an excellent goalie, and his likely familiarity with Matt Drennan (another Hop guy) could help make the transition back into the cage a bit easier.
Some Changes for Maverik
From the roster, it looks like Rhamel Bratton will be out of action, however Mav has added on a couple of new guys, and some could be impact players. I’m excited to see Stephen Ianzito play, and believe he could spark some transition and exciting play through the box. I’m curious to see if Stepehen Torkington can step up and score some goals at attack for Mav. Krum and Christmas have their roles, so I’m curious to see how he fits in.
Kyle Harrison – The Deciding Factor
K18 is in a unique position for this game. Like some of the other black players, he will be playing for The Ambassadors on Friday in two one-hour scrimmages, and then flying to Atlanta on Friday evening. He’s not the only guy doing this (Bratton, Casimir, etc are too) so what makes him unique?
Kyle is the only LXM guy currently on the Team USA training team. He is fighting for a spot on a 23 man roster with 52 other guys right now. Those 52 guys are truly some of the best in the world. The competition level, according to all the guys still involved that I have talked to, is higher than anything they’ve ever seen before. All have remarked the speed of the play is faster than any games they’ve ever played in. The hits have been punishing. These guys are pushing themselves for the highest honor in the land. They’re on a different level right now.
While there is a risk that Kyle will be tired from two scrimmages on Friday, or jet lagged and feeling sapped from a long plane ride, he’s probably as used to that right now as he’s ever been, and just in a solid groove. For this LXM game, most of my attention is going to be focused on him. If Maverik wants to win, they may want to take a similar approach.
Am I putting extra pressure on Kyle Harrison with this prediction? Maybe, but I think he can take it.
If Peter Baum and the Ritz Brothers can produce some points, and Sam Bradman notches a couple of goals, STX should be the favorite with K18 dominating. Krum, Christmas, Corp, Bitter, and Bratton will be dangerous as always, and if K18 is banged up, or tired, this game could easily go the other way.
It should be an exciting game, so check it out for yourself on The Lacrosse Network this Saturday at 6:15pm ET.