Photo by Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com
After notching their first win of the season in an upset over the D.C. Current, the New York Rumble could not make lightning strike twice on the road Saturday and fell to D.C. 21-17.
Though the two teams traded points for most of the first half, the Rumble surrendered five consecutive goals to the Current in just six minutes of clock time, turning what was a 9-8 lead into a 13-9 deficit with four minutes left in the third quarter. Despite a valiant fourth-quarter effort, New York could not overcome this margin, dropping to 1-3 on the year. Here are three key takeaways from Saturday’s contest.
Road Woes Continue
With this defeat, the Rumble are now winless in three contests on the road, falling to each team in the Eastern Conference. Once again, New York’s traveling roster was depleted, as the team was missing key regulars like Mike Hennessy and Tim MacGougan, who caught a crucial fourth-quarter goal in the Rumble’s victory at home last week.
Earlier this season, the Rumble were forced to move their home opener against the Whitecaps to Boston, effectively playing an extra away game. That move may come back to haunt them if the Rumble continue to falter away from Belson Stadium. At the very least, New York will need a fuller roster to stay more competitive in future away contests.
Consistant Offensive Effort
D.C.’s offense responded resoundingly after an anemic 13-goal performance in the first leg of the home-and-home. The Current limited the Rumble to just three break conversions compared to their own nine breaks. Alan Kolick and Jeff Wodatch in particular had strong rebound performances after getting shut down by a stingy Rumble D-line, combining for eight goals and eight assists.
On the flipside, the Rumble killed their chances of a second-half comeback with unforced errors on their own possessions. Star handler Chris Mazur once again led the team with five assists, but his two turnovers on the Rumble’s o-point, down 13-15 in the fourth quarter swung the momentum back in D.C.’s favor.
All four teams in the Eastern Conference should like their chances of emerging out of the conference with a spot in the championship game. Given that there is no juggernaut team in the mold of Boston in 2013 or the Current last season, the Rumble should still have a reasonable shot of making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They can make up ground on their East competition in a rematch at Boston this weekend.