Photo by Rodney Chen – Ultiphotos.com
Ultimate is a sport of big moments – the long downfield huck, the layout goal, the end zone sky and the list goes on. Over the past four years of Major League Ultimate, those moments have been captured by our partners at Ultiphotos. In our new series, Caught in Action, we will look at some of the great moments from MLU’s history and how they have been captured by the talented photographers at Ultiphotos.com.
This week, we are looking at the clinching moments from one of the most important games in MLU history, as captured by photographer Rodney Chen. Starting in 2016, Major League Ultimate began hosting cross-divisional matchups during the regular season, with teams from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference playing outside the MLU Championship for the first time ever. The first of these cross-divisional games saw the New York Rumble become the first Eastern Conference team to play out west as they flew to face the San Francisco Dogfish.
While the Rumble led for the majority of the contest, the Dogfish had proved time and again that they will fight to the last buzzer, and this game was no exception. With the Rumble enjoying a sizable lead, the Dogfish quickly went on a four goal run late in the final quarter. With their lead down to just a pair of goals, the Rumble looked to put the game away. Working the disc downfield, and realizing that with the clock was on their side, a single goal would certainly put the game out a reach, the Rumble found themselves right outside their end zone, looking to punch the disc in for the win. With the disc entering play, veteran handler Matt Weintraub gave a quick flick fake, then found teammate Scott Xu with a backhand. Xu, standing about 10 yards from the goalline, surveyed the field before finding Casey Startzell cutting away from his defender into space. Xu lunged and an outside-in backhand to Startzell, who nearly dropped the pass but was about to pull it in for the gaming sealing goal. (BOXSCORE – WATCH GAME)
As Xu released the disc, Chen snapped the shot from the back corner of the end zone capturing the focus of Xu and the look on the faces of the Dogfish sideline as their comeback fell short.