MLL Semifinals are now upon us, we’re down to four teams, and it’s time to pick winners and dissect the most important games (so far) of the year. Then it’s on to title town for the final game of the year, and we know we won’t have a repeat winner as Denver is already out of the playoffs.
I finished up the regular season with a 32-19 overall record in predicting games correctly (I missed making prediction on 5 games this year due to work/travel). Last week, I went 3-1, and while I got the games with big implications right, I missed on one of the “pride” games. Florida took down Rochester to finish strong and I didn’t see it coming. Oh well, 3-1 in the last week with little on the line is acceptable.
Will my MLL Semifinals choice be any better? There are some TOUGH games, so who knows! Before we get to this week’s action, let’s give the top ballers from Week 15 their due!
Week 15 Players of the Week
PREDICTIONS – 2015 MLL Semifinals!
Boston @ New York – Saturday, August 1st, 6:30pm ET – New York has been looking a little shaky later in the season. While the Lizards still reigned supreme as most people’s favorite to win the title in 2015, there were some swirling doubts, and last week’s loss did not do much to boost that confidence. If you think I’m just talking about the fans, you’re wrong. Players and coaches are human beings, and a tough loss right before the MLL Semifinals doesn’t always help, especially when you’re the #1 seed, and heavy favorite.
Boston also lost a one goal game, this time to Ohio, and that contest determined whether they would host a game in Boston, or play at New York. Both teams scored a ton of goals, and it was almost as if playoff lacrosse happened a week early for these guys. The good news for Boston is that last week’s “playoff” loss didn’t knock them out of contention, and they still have a very real shot at bringing the Steinfeld trophy back to Beantown. Sometimes feeling the sting of one tight loss right before the playoffs can be a good thing, if your team can take it. And I think Boston can take it.
In my opinion, Boston enters Saturday’s MLL Semifinals game at full throttle. They know NY well, and have respect for them, but this game is going to be an intense battle from start to finish. Boston needs to play tough, and contest every little thing, because that is when they play their best. New York needs to settle down, and get great team possessions on offense. If Gurenlian goes on a tear, and the NY offense responds, the game will have to open up into a scoring marathon for Boston to win… but they’ve shown they can win those games.
I have an intense feeling that New York WILL score at least 13 goals in this game. New York also has a distinct advantage at the face off X. If Drew Adams and the D shows up, it could potentially be a long day for the Cannons. But if New York isn’t perfect, it’s anyone’s game. And since New York has been far from perfect towards the end of the season, this actually is anyone’s game!
At the end of the day, I’ll take Boston with a HUGE upset of the Lizards. New York was awesome early on, and on paper they still look legit, but their 2-4 record over their last six games speaks to PROBLEMS, and not the kind you just brush off. Boston will need to play a great game, and leave it all out there, but I think they like the underdog role enough to pull it off.
Rochester @ Ohio – Saturday, August 1st, 4pm ET – Now, Ohio won a huge game last weekend over Boston, and this gave them a home playoff game. Are they jazzed up about this? YOU BET! The crowds in Ohio have been getting better, and the set up out there is legit… so expect a solid turnout for Saturday’s game against Rochester.
While Ohio is all pumped up for the MLL Semifinals, Rochester is in a slightly different boat. They lost to Florida last week, and that seemed to come out of nowhere. After a run of solid wins, which got them into the playoffs, the Florida game was a total let down. But sometimes, after you secure a spot and make a run, you need a game off, so don’t count Rochester out of this one in any way.
These two teams played twice this year, and Rochester won the more recent match up (on July 4th) by one goal, 16-15. The two also played on June 28th, and Ohio won that game 17-12. Since I am having such a hard time really picking a winner here, I’m going to try something crazy, and average out the two teams’ scores and pick a winner that way.
My shady math has Ohio winning the game 16-14, so I’m picking the Machine. If that is the final score, it will be a miracle!
FINAL MLL Attendance Notes
Franchise – 2015 Attendance Average (+/- change from last week)
Denver – 9,502 from 10,011 (- 509) After their average dipped by 969 last week and another 500 this week, Denver finished below 10,000 fans per game for the year. Man, those last two weekends were ROUGH!
Chesapeake – 6,404 from 6,569 (-165) – The Bayhawks changed their game this year when it came to attendance. Impressive!
Boston – 6,061 (same) – Boston had a good run in Gilette in 2015, but they’ll want to get to Denver numbers next year to fill the stadium a bit more.
New York – 5,293 (same) – The Lizards have struggled with attendance often, but this new ownership group seems to be doing a lot of things to change that.
Ohio – 2,730 (same) – If Ohio can get another great turnout for this playoff game, they could crest a 3,000 person average.
Charlotte – 2,282 (same) – Charlotte’s smaller venue makes these numbers ok, but for the league’s longterm sake, they need to get to the 3k+ level, and stay there, soon.
Florida – 1,612 from 1,610 (+2) – Can pro lacrosse work in South Florida? The response has been tepid two years in… will that change? Hope so!
Rochester – 1,187 (same) – I don’t understand how this team doesn’t draw in more fans. Successful on the field? YES. Local players? YES. Team has been around and people know about it? YES. Are tickets affordable? YES. Is there a lot to do in Rochester? NO. So what gives Ratz fans?