On this week’s episode, the Going Offsides guys discuss the 2021 PLL Championship and what it will take for each team to come out triumphant.
Halfway through the season, it was fair to say that neither of these teams looked likely to make a return trip to championship weekend. The Whipsnakes appeared like a team that lacked identity, while the Chaos did their usual thing of, “let’s try everything out, and we’ll be ready for playoffs.”
Ultimately, both teams hit their strides moving into the playoffs, and we’re treated with a rematch of the 2020 bubble championship game for the 2021 PLL Championship.
2021 PLL Championship: What to Expect
The normal stars will show up for the Whips: Zed Williams, Matt Rambo, Brad Smith, Joe Nardella, and the close defense. The question will be, can the Whips get enough offensive production from their midfielders to make a difference and ease the burden on the attack? With early doubles headed to Zed and Rambo, who will benefit the most off ball? We suspect Juicy J Carlson will continue to dominate his inside role, and it’s a toss up as to which midfielder will step up the most (Justin Guterding, Connor Kirst, Mike Chanenchuk).
The Chaos will need Dhane Smith to continue to play out of his mind in the midfield to win their first PLL championship, creating opportunities for the off-ball finishes all over that roster. The play of long stick midfielders Troy Reh and CJ Costabile will also hold an important role, as they will be hounds on the Whipsnake midfielders, creating transition, and occasionally taking a coveted two-bomb.
Ryan puts a lot of the Chaos’s success on Coach Ryan Curtis’s gameplan. He credits Curtis with an excellent defensive scheme against Atlas, adapting the way they played picks at X to give the Bulls a lot of trouble and ultimately escape to the PLL championship.
The Whips love to initiate from X as well. Will Curtis reuse this strategy, or will he have another curveball? Time will soon tell.
The 100 rule
There is a theme this season with the Chaos, and it breaks down into two parts:
- The face-off play of Max Adler
- The goalie play of Blaze Riorden
It is my opinion that Adler, who sits at about 49% on faceoffs, and Riorden at 61% in net, need to combine for 100%. If Adler is at 40%, Riorden needs a 60% game to get those possessions back for the Chaos. If those two combine for 100% in their respective stat lines, the Chaos will win the 2021 PLL Championship.