Photo by Jason Honyotski – Ultiphotos

Two weeks removed from a disappointing 23-6 loss to the Boston Whitecaps, the New York Rumble will look to climb out of the Eastern Conference cellar when they host the Philadelphia Spinners Sunday afternoon.

The Rumble (2-5) and the Spinners (2-5) are tied for the worst record in the East, with the Spinners ahead only in point differential. With just three games left in the regular season, the Rumble find themselves two games behind Boston for the conference’s last playoff spot.

For the Rumble to make the playoffs at the expense of the second-place Whitecaps, they most likely will need to win out and get a lot of help.

Still, Rumble Coach Anthony Nuñez said his team is just taking it one game at a time.

“We are not focusing on anything other than our game and our team,” Nuñez said. “Playoffs could happen but we have short term goals that are more important to us.”

If this week’s game is anything like the past two meetings between the Spinners and the Rumble, fans may want to bring a heart rate monitor.

The two teams traded nerve-wracking one-point losses during a thrilling home-and-home series in Weeks 2 and 3. The Rumble earned their first win of the season in controversial fashion when Chris Mazur scored the game-winner in double overtime, sending a packed house at the Eagles’ Nest into a frenzy. The Spinners protested, believing that the whistle to initiate play on Mazur’s score had actually been a whistle for an injury timeout.

Nevertheless, Philadelphia exacted revenge when it returned to home the following week, capitalizing on a stunning end-zone drop from Jonathan Cox in the second overtime to notch a sudden-death victory of its own.

“We have learned that no matter how much of a lead you have against the Spinners, they can come back at any point,” Nuñez said.

This week, the Rumble will also face the extra challenge of shutting down the Spinners’ recent additions out of Pittsburgh. Fresh off of leading Pittsburgh’s En Sabah Nur, one of the best college ultimate programs in the country, to a quarterfinals finish at College Nationals, college stars Trent Dillon, Marcus Ranii-Dropcho, and Max Thorne will all square off against New York for the first time this year. In his MLU debut against the D.C. Current last week, Ranii-Dropcho made his presence known with this amazing catch for a goal.

“I am excited to play against their new additions this weekend,” Nuñez added. “I have known several of the Pitt guys for a lot of years and know they are talented players.”

The Rumble will look for strong performances from D-line standouts Brenton Hard and Marques Brownlee, who earned the Week 7 Spikeball Defensive Play of the Week for his catch-block against the Whitecaps.

On the other side of the disc, handlers Chris Mazur and Isaac Saul will lead a Rumble offense hoping to rebound from a miserable performance against Boston.

This Sunday’s game will be Kids’ Day at the Eagles’ Nest, with face-painting, juggling, two pre-game clinics and a special halftime performance. Tickets for the game are on sale now at the Rumble Ticketleap page.

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