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MLL Season Day 3 (Monday) – Photos, Recaps, News + MORE

We’ve seen all of the MLL teams twice now and surprises are coming around every corner. Connecticut looked a whole lot better, that’s something that can be said without wearing rose colored glasses. Philly just looked closer to where they should be, because, we’ll say it again, they’re a good team.

You know who is a great team? Chesapeake. That’s not an argument.

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MLL Standings after Day 3

Team

W

L

PF

PA

Chesapeake

3

0

49

37

Denver

2

0

33

16

Boston

1

1

29

29

Philadelphia

1

2

35

41

Connecticut

0

2

16

32

New York

0

2

27

34

Big Stat Guys

  • Matt Whitcher (PHI) 5GB, 2CT
  • Brendan Sunday (PHI) 4G, 1A
  • Mark Matthews (PHI) 4G, 2A
  • Ryan Beville (CT) 3GB, 3CT
  • Noah Rak (CT) 13/24 FO, 2G
  • Mike Skudin (BOS) 2GB, 4CT
  • Lyle Thompson (CHE) 4G, 1A

Philadelphia Barrage 14, Connecticut Hammerheads 10

Early on in this game, the story was the physicality, and it was all one-sided.

With both teams coming into the game winless, something had to give. Assuming by their tough opening schedule, the Barrage were looking to show they’re the team everyone thought they were and ready to impose their will. Surprisingly, it was actually the Hammerheads that came out swinging.

Unfortunately, it was swinging a little too much.

Connecticut wound up giving the Barrage five extra man opportunities with their penalties, and gave up three goals off of them.

Connecticut Hammerheads Philadelphia Barrage 2020 Major League Lacrosse Pretty Instant-5
Photo: Pretty Instant / MLL

The struggle for the Hammerheads is all about the offense at the moment. It was somewhat expected since there was next to no familiarity with most of these players. The attack line of Voigt, Sands, and Kraus had never player with each other. Middies have a little more history, but when your attack line is having trouble establishing roles and getting in sync, it does not give the middies many options.

Where things are still going well for Connecticut is with their goalie and face-off unit.

Noah Rak’s two goals today kept them in the game. While is overall percentage is not particularly notable, it is when you realize it was going against Alex Woodall. Sean Sconone was incredible between the pipes in this game. Their opener may not have left much confidence, but he was making save after save today to give his team a chance. The final percentage may not have been jaw dropping, but he was making the saves he had no business making.

Hooray, Barrage, your first MLL win in 12 years!

Opening against two of the most difficult opponents was a heck of as schedule draw, so this game was much needed. The biggest revelation was actually the emergence of Mark Matthews. He had kept pretty quiet in the first two games so far. If the Barrage are hoping to make the playoffs and make a run at the title, they need Matthews to be a playmaker. He is just a matchup nightmare that demands a slide at the ready when he’s a threat.

If that threat isn’t there, players like Tommy Palasek, Shayne Jackson, Brendan Sunday and Tyson Gibson can’t work their magic off-ball. Speaking of Gibson, he was on the wrong end of the Connecticut physicality more than once in this game, but just kept popping back up ready to play. Following the 140 degree game yesterday, this is actually quite a feat.

One of the names that is really starting to emerge in this week of games is Matt Whitcher. Whitcher was on the Blaze last year as well, but entered as a bit of an unknown following his career at DIII York. He’s making a strong case right now as one of the best short stick defensive midfielders in the league. He’s incredibly reliable in the clearing game and his one-on-one defense, as evidenced by his two caused turnovers today. A few more games like this, and he’ll me known for much more than just his York career.

Chesapeake Bayhawks 15, Boston Cannons 13

Going into the season, this matchup on paper was looking to be the game. And to be honest, it (pretty much) lived up to it.

Photo: Pretty Instant / MLL
Cannons Bayhawks Major League Lacrosse MLL 2020 Pretty Instant

Were teams perfect? No. Even as the Cannons are still trying to figure themselves out, they’re an incredibly dangerous team. Chesapeake is making no doubt of who the reigning MLL champs are. Lyle Thompson is still able to nonchalantly shed double teams while Andrew Kew is turning into one of the most dangerous off-ball players in the league. Getting him the ball when he has a step on the defense is almost a guaranteed goal at this point.

Even though the final score of this game was pretty close, the game itself really didn’t feel like it. Chesapeake was dominant for large stretches of this game. There was one point in the first half where I think they were able to get four or five shot clock resets with multiple shots, recovering ground balls, and creating turnovers in the ride. Boston was absolutely making some mistakes in this stretch, but props have to be given to Chesapeake. They’re 3-0, with a day off, looking incredible, having clinched a playoff spot, and have only had three games together. That’s a (good) yikes!

Cannons Bayhawks Major League Lacrosse MLL 2020 Pretty Instant-50Cannons Bayhawks Major League Lacrosse MLL 2020 Pretty Instant-50
Photo: Pretty Instant / MLL

Boston still has plenty of encouraging takeaways from this loss. A driving question going into tonight was how they could involved Bryan Cole, and could Randy Staats take more control of the offense. The answer became: kinda. In an interesting plot twist, it’s looking more and more like Bryce Wasserman is actually their best option behind the cage. His quickness looks even more sped up when he gets a running start dodging from X. Staats is not taking on a role where he needs to be the primary dodger, either. If he likes his matchup, he is still able to work effectively, which is giving the midfield another opportunity.

Cole still didn’t quite get the opportunities he should have, but he also had a few golden opportunities that he will want back. The other impressive matchup of the game for the Cannons was Justin Pugal on Lyle Thompson. Even though (or perhaps because of) slides and double were quick to Thompson, Pugal did an excellent job on-ball. There was a great series where Thompson had gone up top for an invert look, and there was a pick to switch to Zach Goodrich to Pugal. After doing a great job battling Thompson, once the ball when to his teammate, they weren’t ready for that same intensity, leading to an immediate turnover.

Photo: Pretty Instant / MLL

Without too much time left to come together, the Cannons did a decent job against potentially the best team in the league. They have bright spots at nearly every position of the field, so there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about this group still.

Tuesday’s Games

  • Boston vs Philadelphia – 4 p.m. ET, ESPN+
  • New York vs Denver – 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+
[lasso rel=”espn” id=”210268″ link_id=”57610″ ref=”espn”]

The day of rest was much need for the 0-2 Lizards, but unfortunately the juggernauts from Denver await them in the evening. The matinee MLL game is actually the can’t-miss of the day.

Both Boston and Philadelphia are telling similar stories via output, but while the Cannons are still struggling for a complete game, the Barrage are starting to come together in a way the’ve been expected to. Boston’s attack is still trying to maximize on their potential and a Philly backline growing ever confident will make that continuously difficult.

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