Photo by Sean Carpenter – Ultiphotos.com
The Rumble (0-2) will play their first doubleheader of the 2016 season this weekend, facing the Washington D.C. Current (0-2) and Philadelphia Spinners (3-0).
The New York Rumble (0-2) will set out on their first doubleheader of the season this week, still looking for that elusive first victory.
On Saturday, April 23, the young Rumble will face the Washington D.C. Current (0-2) at Cardinal Stadium in Washington and then, on Sunday, they’ll travel north to match up against the <a href="http://philadelphia see this page.spinners.mlultimate.com” target=”_blank”>Philadelphia Spinners (3-0) for the second time this season. This will be a weekend of firsts –first away game, first doubleheader and, hopefully, a first win.
The Rumble and the D.C. Current have both lost their first two games of the 2016 season, each falling to Philadelphia and the Boston Whitecaps. The stories of those losses, however, have been very different. To put it simply, New York’s goal differential this season is -19 (worst in the Eastern conference) whereas D.C’s goal differential is -4. Last weekend at Bell Stadium, New York lost to the Whitecaps 22-13. New York did not convert any breaks until the fourth quarter and had 28 turnovers, only one fewer than their first game against the Spinners. Last weekend, however, Marques Brownlee had an incredible game, recording six blocks, the second-most blocks recorded in a single game in MLU history. Mason Compton, who played his first game of his professional career last weekend, also had a big game, scoring two goals and throwing two assists in only ten points played. Still, even with these big achievements, Boston trumped the Rumble’s efforts with their overall athleticism and veteran experience.
The D.C Current have had two close and frustrating games so far this season, losing to the Whitecaps 17-16 and to the Spinners 21-18. In their game last weekend the team completed 90% of their throws, Lloyd Blake himself completed 36 of 38 of this throws. In their most recent outing against the Spinners, D.C. won the third and fourth quarters, but had dug themselves into a first half hole, 12-7, which put them too far behind for it to make a difference. This is a familiar story for the Rumble, who have played strong in the second half in both their games this season.
At this point, the Rumble has given two similar performances and their fans and opponents may think their season is going to be predictable for them. But with little expectation, you can only go up. Hopefully.
That said, D.C has an added incentive to win this game: if they lose, it will be the first 0-3 start in franchise history. Doubly frustrating for the Current is that their home-game losses this season are already equal to their home-game losses from all of last season. The Current will be without Joe Freund this game and, potentially, without Delrico Johnson who is nursing a back injury. Freund scored three goals last game and Johnson four. The Current will be a different team without these two standouts but, whatever the final score is, one of these teams will be walking away with their first win.
The next day, New York will take a hike up to Philadelphia to meet the Spinners on their home turf. Coach Anthony Nuñez likes the traveling because it reveals something more about each players character, “You figure out who is the joker of the group, who sleeps the most, who loves keeping in contact with their significant other,” he says, but being on a bus for four to five hours is never easy. The Spinners are 3-0 for the season, and it’s hard to imagine anything will slow them down. With their lead in the Eastern Conference and a potential 4-0 start, which would be a first in franchise history, they will be gunning for the win. They have thus far converted 48.1% of their hold opportunities and have converted 57.1% of their break opportunities. Their last game against the Rumble was a horribly wet and cold day and ended 22-12 with the Spinners recording 13 breaks to the Rumble’s 3. Given this precedent the Spinners will be feeling very confident going into this game. Oddly enough, the Rumble are the only team in the league to have held a lead over the Spinners this season when the Rumble scored the first point of their first game. This fact seems hardly worth mentioning though, given how the rest of the game unfolded.
The Spinners have some amazing talent this year. Greg Martin is a definite early candidate for the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year; he has recorded six goals, three assists, and five blocks. Himalaya Mehta is also a front-runner for Breakout Player of the Year; he has eight goals, five assists and one block. The Spinners will be watching the Rumble’s game on Saturday against the D.C. Current. If the Rumble have changed their strategy since their first game against the Spinners, this will give them an opportunity to pick up on it.
Hopefully they won’t start celebrating their 4-0 record before the game starts. You can watch the game on our live stream or, if you’re feeling bold, make a trip of it. The Rumble will need all the support they can get.