Photo by Jason Honyotski – UltiPhotos.com
Article by Kristian Lundberg and Chris Gebhard
The New York Rumble outlasted the Philadelphia Spinners 24-23 in a double OT thriller on Saturday night for New York’s home opener.
While the Rumble beat the Spinners, there is still plenty of room for improvement. New York had a comfortable lead over the Spinners for much of the game, including a five-point lead at one point in the second half. However, the Spinners were able to claw their way back and force overtime on a last second play by Matt Esser. Capitalizing on a Rumble mistake, Esser again forced another overtime period, this time sudden death.
With a rematch set for this coming Saturday on Philly turf, New York will have to focus on a few key points in order to ensure they extend their win streak.
Keep the Foot on the Gas Pedal
The Rumble defensive line needs to provide support for the offensive production. New York will need to keep their foot on the gas pedal for a full 40 minutes to ensure they do not let their opponents cut their lead late in games.
“We were up by five and at one point the team game got away from us,” said Head Coach Anthony Nuñez. “Luckily we stayed focused and were able to pull off the win.”
Contain Handler Movement
While the Rumble shut down Philly cutters for the most part, they had trouble containing the Spinners handlers, namely Nick Hirannet and Alex Peters. Now that they have seen the Philly offense and have a week to adjust, New York can clamp down on Philly’s throwers to further contain their offense.
“Now we know their strengths and can’t take them for granted,” said Nuñez. “They have great handlers and we will need to work hard to contain them.”
Continue to Build Chemistry
Even though a short 10-game season doesn’t leave teams with much time to gel, the Rumble brought back a significant portion of their starting lineup. These players are still gaining chemistry and learning to play together more as each game passes. A team with vast potential on paper, New York can start to overpower teams once they get comfortable with each other.
“Our team is made up of many strong individual players,” said Nuñez. “When we work together as a team it will be hard for teams to stop us.”
Chris Mazur, the reigning Eastern Conference MVP and the face of New York Ultimate, proved once again why he’s an elite player. Following a pregame ceremony honoring his 2013 season, during which his mother participated in the ceremonial disc flip, Mazur as usual turned in a gritty performance. He registered two goals and an assist, but his impact was felt with a walk-off score in double-overtime from a feed by rookie Quinn Hunziker. Though many rookies came up big against the Spinners, during crunch time the team looked to the veteran Mazur, who, in true MVP form, stepped up and delivered.
Wide Open East
As the dust settles from a crazy weekend in MLU, it’s pretty clear that, even just two games into the season, the East can be anyone’s for the taking. The Rumble’s victory propels them into a tie for second in the East with the Whitecaps, who were stunned on a buzzer-beating hammer by the first-place Current. The fact that both D.C. and New York needed every last second to prevail in one-goal contests is an indication of the parity throughout the East. As Coach Anthony Nuñez and the Rumble prepare for next Saturday’s rematch in Philadelphia, they will enter the match knowing that it will be another four quarter scrap.
If the Rumble can improve on the shortcomings from their game last Saturday, they will be well on their way to fulfilling their vast potential. Catch the game on Saturday on MLU Live at 7 p.m.