Last week we suffered our first losing weekend of the year thanks to the Whipsnakes one goal loss and the Chaos systematic dismantling of the Archers. The Whipsnakes impressive run of title game appearances has come to an end. Now, that narrative will follow the Chaos into the 2023 season.
At the half way point of the season, we asked a series of league wide questions including would there be new champion? In a few hours, we’ll have the answer to the question.
One of the advantages we liked for the Waterdogs was their athleticism in the midfield. Unfortunately, that advantage has been stunted a bit due to injury.
Mikie Schlosser will not play today. Will Zach Currier be able to pull a John Henry and do everything one more time? The weather in Philadelphia isn’t favorable at 84 degrees and sunny but it isn’t unbearable either.
The injury bug has plagued Schlosser all year and yet here the Dogs are, one win for their first ever title. The bigger question is, how healthy is Michael Sowers. The micro machine Philly native was uncoverable for a quarter against the Whipsnakes before getting nicked up. If he’s not 100% for the duration of the game, we’d have a hard time believing in the Waterdogs despite what they’ve accomplished to date.
What does Ryan Brown bring to the table today? He hasn’t played in the playoffs. During that time, the Dogs have scored 19 goals against the Atlas and 11 goals against the Whipsnakes. The Waterdogs signed Brown through 2023. He is arguably one of the best shooters in the world, but he hasn’t scored a goal in his last three games. The Atlas had no problem going without Jake Carraway all season. Perhaps, the Schlosser news forced their hand.
If you’re the Chaos, how fearful are you of Jack Hannah going off? He ended the regular season with a 4 for 7 performance against the Archers. He is 0 for 7 in the playoffs. He has fourth in the league in regular season shot attempts but has only scored multiple goals twice all year. Can he be a little more efficient today if the game slows down? Can he contribute two goals?
Of course, none of this matters if Blaze Riorden maintains his postseason form. He posted 83% against the Chrome and 65% against the Archers. The Chaos were up 5-1 at half against the Chrome and you knew the game was over. They had a 4-2 lead at half against the Archers and you knew the blue and orange locker room was silent during the intermission.
Believe Paul Carcaterra is often the one saying you can’t dodge and shoot against Blaze. You need multiple passes to get him moving and the defense out of position. Can the Waterdogs offense be that dynamic?
The Chaos have once again chosen to not deploy either of their 2022 first round draft picks. Defender Brett Kennedy hasn’t played since July 23rd so there’s no surprise. Zach Geddes, who does provide nitro speed in the middle third of the field, won’t dress again. Swiss army knife Ian MacKay will be in the line up instead. Geddes hasn’t played since August 13th so this isn’t an earth shattering roster move either.
Previously we’ve mentioned that young teams don’t know how to win until they learn how to lose specifically in big games. We felt like the Chrome were a year away from really capitalizing on their upgraded core. Despite earning the second seed, they couldn’t get out of the first round. This is new territory for the Waterdogs. They have not played the Chaos since June and that was not even close to the same Chaos group that is suiting up this afternoon.
However, this isn’t game seven of the Stanley Cup on the road. This isn’t the Super Bowl with a two week break compounded by a media circus and ticket requests from family members. As much as there is an aura around the playoff Chaos and their netminder, Dillon Ward has won a handful of big games on his own.
We’ve picked against the Chaos all year. We’ve been wrong the last two playoff rounds. One more time unto the breach, dear friends.
Week 1 Picks
Winners: Atlas, Whipsnakes, Chrome
Week 2 Picks
Winners: Atlas, Whipsnakes
Losers: Redwoods, Chaos
Week 3 Picks
Winners: Chrome, Archers, Redwoods
Week 4 Picks
Winners: Whipsnakes, Chrome, Atlas
Week 5 Picks
Winners: Archers, Atlas, Chaos
Week 6 Picks
Winners: Whipsnakes, Archers
Losers: Atlas, Chrome
Week 7 All Star Break
Week 8 Picks
Winners: Atlas, Whipsnakes, Waterdogs, Chaos
Week 9 Picks
Winners: Redwoods, Whipsnakes
Losers: Chaos, Atlas
Week 10 Picks:
Winners: Chrome, Whipsnakes
Losers: Chaos, Waterdogs
Week 11 Picks:
Winners: Chrome, Whipsnakes, Atlas
Week 12 Picks:
Winners: Archers, Whipsnakes, Waterdogs
Week 13 Picks:
Losers: Whipsnakes, Archers