With weekend #6 of the MLL season rapidly approaching, I’m here to get you prepped for what should be another FOUR great games of Major League Lacrosse. I’ll preview all four match ups, tell you what to watch for and make some predictions on winners! So far I’m 14 for 18 on predictions… which is not too bad at all!
Right now the Boston Cannons and the Chesapeake Bayhawks both sit at 4-1 atop the league. The Denver Outlaws are in third place at 3-2, while Rochester and Long Island both sit at 2-2. Hamilton and Ohio are 1-3, and Charlotte is 1-4. The craziest team is Rochester, as they have beaten Boston (once) and Chesapeake, but also lost to Ohio, and were beaten badly by Boston on Opening Weekend, 15-3.
What looked like a one or two team race for the Steinfeld Cup early on has transformed into a pretty competitive season already, and things should only get better during weekend #6! All 4 games are being played at 7pm this Saturday night so check one out if it’s nearby. If you want to watch on TV or online, check out our Lacrosse On TV 2012 post for listings.
If you take a game in this weekend and see a pro player using traditional, send us an email and a photo so we can add them to our 2012 Professional Lacrosse All Traditional Team!
Long Island Lizards @ Boston Cannons
Boston is coming off a one goal loss to Rochester, and they’ll want to right the ship. This is a group of guys that seems to look at one loss as a bad thing, and 2 as unforgivable. The Cannons are a veteran team on a mission, so I expect them to come out hard in this one.
Long Island is coming off a great team win, where they truly dismantled the Ohio Machine, especially later in the game. It’s not like they made Ohio look bad, but Long Island really did their thing out there, played confident and together, and it showed. With an infusion of energy from the new owners, Long Island is looking up!
I’m pretty sure I’ll say this all season, so just bear with me… Boston will score goals. Their offense is clicking, and they have a couple of guys who can dodge to feed or score. Then they also have a couple guys who can just flat out put the ball away. And they have Ryan Boyle distributing. They will be dangerous as long as this group sticks together.
So can Long Island keep up? I actually think they can. Greg Gurenlian was dominant facing off last week, and he could definitely cause problems for Chris Eck. Gurenlian will need to be on, because those extra possessions for LI will be crucial. If they can get the extra offensive possessions, they’ll need to see success dodging with Siebald and Peyser again, but they will also need Matt Gibson to be involved again from behind.
In the end, I think Gurenlian will do well, but that Boston’s D will do a good job of limiting Seibald and Peyser. Because of that one area, I like Boston to win 16-13.
Charlotte Hounds @ Chesapeake Bayhawks
In my mind, Chesapeake is one of the top teams in the league. They have a host of strong middies, lots of veteran experience, and speed in some key places. I don’t know that they are as deep as the Cannons, but they certainly have talent all over. Charlotte also has a lot of talent, and so far, they haven’t been as cohesive a group as the Bayhawks, but I’m sure that will just take time. Charlotte is still capable of pouring in goals, especially if everyone is playing well.
Right now it’s just too early for that though. I think Chesapeake battles through some injuries, uses the home field advantage and team cohesion, and pulls out the win… in a close one. I like Chesapeake to win by only 1-3 goals, somewhere along the lines of 14-12.
24 Seven Lax will there in person, so be on the lookout if you head to the game!
Denver Outlaws @ Ohio Machine
This is a big statement game for Ohio. They were tight with Long Island last week for a while, and then it all slipped away pretty dramatically. Offensively, they looked more settled, and still tried to push the ball in transition. But defensively, they were a disaster. Early, predictable slides were made, and dodging midfielders often found their strong hands. And when I look at the group of players on Ohio, I just can’t see this happening for a second week straight, and not at home.
The Ohio defense needs to lead, and shut the opposition down. They can’t be passive, like they were last week, they need to dictate, and they have the talent to do so. Matt Casey is one of the best d-mids in the MLL, Megill is a talented pole, and the close D is strong and physical. Sitting back and letting the other team cleanly run their O isn’t an option in the MLL, and I think Ohio learned that last week.
Now Denver is obviously good, and I like how they’re made up for the long-term, but match-up wise I’m not sure this game is decidedly in their favor. Their strength on defense is their goalie (and an injured Eric Martin), but Ohio’s strength is transition and unsettled offense, so those two kind of wash each other out. Ohio’s defense is quite capable, and the chess game between them and the Denver attack should be awesome to watch.
At the end of the day, I think Denver pulls out the W here, especially if Mark Matthews has a big day. He can really open up the field for a spread Denver offense, and I can only imagine how happy Brendan Mundorf is right now to have a guy like that on the squad. Mundorf will have more room to dodge than ever before. I’ll take the Outlaws 15-12.
Rochester Rattlers @ Hamilton Nationals
So far Rochester has beaten the best, and lost to the not so best, and the best. So I’ll come right out and say it… this pick has nothing to do with anything except Rochester’s unpredictability: Hamilton wins.
I really think Rochester will win this game. They seem to coming together well, guys are stepping up and starting to shine, and their offense is looking much more dynamic than when they only managed to put 3 goals up on the Cannons to kick off the season. Hamilton, on the other hand, still has me scratching my head a bit. Yes, Powell and Walters are back to form, but I just don’t know about their team cohesion yet.
Of course none of that really matters as Powell can make a team seem cohesive all by himself, so Hamilton could actually win this one. Basically, I never get the Rochester picks right, so even thought I think the Rattlers will win, I’m picking Hamilton to win. That makes sense, right?
Maybe I just need a larger sample size and better statistical analysis.
Check back early next week for the Week 6 Recap, and in the meantime, check out If I Owned An MLL Team: Location And Name.