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MLL: Denver Outlaws at Atlanta Blaze Photo Credit: Brett Davis

MLL Opening Reflection, Week Two Preview: What Went Wrong/Right?

Week one of the MLL season had its ups and downs. Players aired it out on social media, but it wasn’t all bad.

The MLL is back! I gave you massive season preview a week ago, so how about we take a look at what Week 1 gave us? Then perhaps go into some of the storylines that followed, and maybe a little preview into what week 2 will bring? Not bad for a little Friday reading.

Every team but Rochester saw action this past weekend. What was great about this was every single game came down to just a single point. Two were in overtime, while the other two were just close games. Was this exciting? Yes. Did this give some teams flashbacks to the crazy tiebreakers at the end of last season? Maybe.

Myles Jones Chesapeake Bayhawks New York Lizards MLL 2017
Photo Credit: Jermain Rangasammy

When you use the way last season ended to point to league parity, then their opening weekend is all one goal games, the parity talk will continue.

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Shaking It Off

For me, I do not feel particularly compelled to dive into each of these games and give you a matchup by matchup breakdown and see if there are any new schemes at play compared to last year. There are really two reasons for that. The first is there was A LOT of rust on display early in these games. Not everyone was rusty, and it was definitely not slow lacrosse. But there were more bad decisions than you typically see, passes a little bit off, and defenders showing more vulnerability than usual.

There were a few things that impressed me, though. One is that Ryan Brown for Charlotte came out firing. The Hounds are really relying on guys like Brown to make a big jump this season to bring them back into the playoffs.

Denver Outlaws Charlotte Hounds MLL 2017 Photo Credit: Paul Boskovich
Photo Credit: Paul Boskovich

As far as teams go, the Florida Launch were actually impressive in their loss to Boston. Oddly enough, the Launch have always played Boston close. I went back through their brief history and all but two of their games have been one goal games. Maybe it’s just a matchup that works well for the Launch?

I also liked the Blaze and Machine, once they got things going. It was a slow start, but by the end of the first quarter, they remembered how to play good lacrosse. Even without Tom Schreiber and Kyle Harrison, the Machine were able to make some big plays. Peter Baum is a pretty good midfielder. He has that whole Tewaaraton trophy thing for a reason.

The Blaze had the Kevin Rice to Dylan Donahue combo working well, but sadly that will be shelved for a bit. Atlanta announced this week that Rice was injured in that game and will be out indefinitely. They should get him back this season, but it is a major setback for them, not to mention for Rice on a personal level.

Airing It Out

After these games were done, the #Lax Twitter world took a turn I was not expecting. Players were venting some major frustrations for the league while even coaches and other front office members were upset about other things.

MLL: Denver Outlaws at Atlanta Blaze Photo Credit: Brett Davis
Photo Credit: Brett Davis

#1 Social Media

At issue were two main things. Social media presence and broadcasting. Regarding social media, it was really around the lack of content on Instagram. The MLL made a move this offseason to step up their infographic game, and it was all over Twitter. But Instagram was nearly silent.

This may seem like a small issue, but when you have the content and have a league full of players who rely on social media to help boost their earning potential, it creates a rift that needs to be fixed.

#2 Broadcasting

Secondly, broadcasting was an issue this past week. The biggest gap was the lack of instant replay which made watching game a slight nuisance. Apparently even inside the stadiums there were problems with getting the game on the jumbotrons. I don’t bring this up to take shots at LSN, but they are in season two of this whole broadcasting MLL games thing. Something like replay should be automatic. When you are the primary broadcaster for a professional league and the same investors are behind both organizations, this cannot happen.

Those I talked to said this will all be corrected for week 2, but I do not want to imagine the firestorm that will be created if there are more issues like that.

This Might Help

The MLL announced this morning that they will be doing a Game of the Week livestream each week for free on Twitter. This will alleviate some of the pressure to do more online for their players… hopefully.

Week 2 Saturday 4/29/2017 New York Denver 6:00 PM
Week 3 Saturday 5/6/2017 Ohio Rochester 7:00 PM
Week 4 Saturday 5/13/2017 Boston Rochester 7:00 PM
Week 5 Saturday 5/20/2017 Boston New York 7:00 PM
Week 6 Saturday 5/27/2017 Denver Rochester 8:30 PM
Week 7 Saturday 6/3/2017 Atlanta Charlotte 8:00 PM
Week 8 Saturday 6/10/2017 Florida New York 7:00 PM
Week 9 Saturday 6/17/2017 New York Rochester 7:00 PM
Week 10 Saturday 6/24/2017 Ohio Chesapeake 7:00 PM
Week 11 Saturday 7/1/2017 Atlanta Florida 7:00 PM
Week 11 Tuesday 7/4/2017 Denver Atlanta 8:30 PM
Week 12 Saturday 7/15/2017 Charlotte New York 7:30 PM
Week 13 Saturday 7/23/2017 Denver Ohio 8:00 PM
Week 14 Saturday 7/29/2017 Boston Florida 6:00 PM
Week 15 Saturday 8/5/2017 Boston Atlanta 6:00 PM
Semi-Final Saturday 8/12/2017 TBD TBD 5:00 PM
Semi-Final Saturday 8/12/2017 TBD TBD 7:30 PM

Trying Again

Now enough of that boring business talk, back to lacrosse. This weekend has four more games on tap. Florida, Atlanta, New York, and Charlotte are all playing host.

For New York, this is their home opener, while the others also played at home last week. Seeing their first action of the season is Rochester, who is visiting the Launch. Those two teams have only ever had one close game, but this will be interesting. Florida has improved and if Rochester shows any of the rust other teams had, it may be a rough game. They are without their core defense, and do not have John Galloway in net. I honestly am leaning slightly towards Florida in this one.

Boston going to Atlanta should be a great game. They played a very close game last year to open the season before Boston blew out Atlanta later on. It will be a new look to see how Atlanta handles no Kevin Rice before their compliment of NLL players joins in.

MLL: Boston Cannons @ Florida Launch
Photo Credit: Ben Thacker

Denver going to New York is a battle of the last two champs. They split their regular season series last year and Denver gave the Lizards their final loss of the year in the playoffs. With Denver still lacking many producers due to NLL, expect New York to take advantage.

Ohio goes to Charlotte to wrap things up. Another playoff rematch, the Machine had Charlotte down pat a season ago. Neither game was close. Even without their offense from last season right now, I still have to think Ohio’s defense is going to be too much for Charlotte to deal with right now.

Go, Watch, Cheer, Tweet!

So, if you live in any of those four cities, clear up your Saturday and go check out the game!

Two playoff rematches, the first look at Rochester, and an Atlanta squad still looking to show their home fans what MLL lacrosse is all about.

  • Outlaws @ Lizards – 6pm
  • Cannons @ Blaze – 7pm
  • Rattlers @ Launch – 7pm
  • Machine @ Hounds – 7:30pm

If these games are anything like last week, you will see some fast and entertaining lacrosse.

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