Photo by Sandy Canetti – Ultiphotos.com
The Rumble (1-4) were unable to bring home the victory in their rematch with the D.C. Current (1-4).
Before the Washington D.C. Current sent the first pull sailing across the field, Coach Anthony Nuñez was able to pinpoint what the New York Rumble’s greatest challenge would be in defeating the Current for a second time this season. “Both teams have a lot of players missing,” said Nuñez, “Let’s hope it will be an interesting game.” It was clear that without some of the big contributors such as Charles Cannon, Andrew Bosco and an injured Christian Duess, Coach Nuñez wasn’t sure how the cards would fall on this rainy and cold afternoon in Orange, New Jersey.
Unfortunately for New York, Coach Nuñez’s hesitance was justified, and D.C. was able to stay ahead of New York for the entire game, winning with a two-point lead, 19-17. Still, this was the most consistent game the Rumble has played this season. They never fell behind by more than five points and ended the half only down by three, which is another first for this young and upcoming team. Additionally, they only turned the disc 24 times, which is a low for this season, as well as recording a higher Hold Possession Scoring Efficiency (HPSE) than D.C.. Breaking out of the narrative for an underdog, there was no spectacular win or loss and no single player that won the game. Instead, New York had flow and everyone on the field pulled their weight.
The first quarter was the most difficult for New York and, arguably, cost them the game. They allowed the Current to go on a four-point run, two of which were scored by rookie Michael Moses. For New York, the best point of the quarter was a quick one, two, three. After D.C pulled, the disc went from Sean Mott to Steven Willis to Quinn Hunziker for the score. It was quick, effective and more of what we’d like to see from New York.
New York paced D.C. in the second quarter, each team earning five holds and two breaks. Despite the even score this was a messy quarter for both teams. The first point was a frenzy and towards the end there were some unfortunate errors such as discs being thrown out of bounds and bids being missed. Still, Bo Li and Hunziker should be recognized for their incredible bids. A play that is sure to make it into the highlight reel happened in the last moments of the quarter. In traditional New York fashion, the Rumble had their last opportunity to score and only seven seconds on the clock: Matthew Weintraub dumped the disc to Andrew O’Connor who launched it downfield into a sea of players only for Marques Brownlee to come down with it, giving the Rumble one more point before the half was over and flashing a hint of the spectacular, giving their fans hope that a comeback was still possible.
The two teams fought hard in the third quarter and the Rumble even managed to make it to a one-point game, but that was fleeting. After the half, D.C. rookie Kyle Khalifa really established himself as a dominant force on the field, scoring two points and assisting another. He would go on to record five goals this game and one block. Rivaling his stats for the game would be the Rumble’s Scott Xu, who had a terrific game recording two goals, four assists and a block. The quarter ended with Rumble down by two, a deficit they wouldn’t be able to overcome in the final quarter.
With 3:53 left in the game the score was 19-16, with the Current in the lead and New York pulling the disc. Magnificently, they were able to score thanks to Xu who had a huge block and then found John Irvine for the score. But there simply wasn’t enough time for New York to comeback. With the short roster there simply wasn’t enough gas in the tank to overcome the D.C. Current.
After the game Coach Eileen Murray said, “If there had just been…four more players…” echoing Coach Nuñez’s prescient comments earlier. The two teams will meet again on May 21st in the District. New York will hopefully have a more robust roster and will also have two more games under their belt.
This weekend, the Rumble host the Philadelphia Spinners, who remain undefeated this year. Last time these two teams met New York suffered their worst loss of the season, ending the game 25-10. They will need their full roster and all their focus to close that window next weekend. Win or lose, you can be sure that the Rumble will embrace their underdog role and come out fighting.