Photo by Sean Carpenter – UltiPhotos.com
The New York Rumble upset the Boston Whitecaps 18-17 at the Eagle’s Nest in Union City, N.J.
After losing 22-14 in Week 1, the Rumble defense came up big to limit the Whitecaps to one of their lowest point totals in franchise history.
The teams battled in the first quarter. New York played excellent defense, but Boston’s defense forced a stall and a travel on two Rumble possessions. Boston took a 3-2 lead after Christian Foster connected with Lee Farnsworth. But interceptions and deflections from Joe Anderson, Dave Vuckovich and Quinn Hunziker kept the Rumble contending early, tied at four at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Boston’s Jake Taylor scoobered to Henry Brecher to give the Whitecaps a 5-4 lead. Soon after, the referees declared a 20-minute storm delay due to thunder and lightning. When the teams returned to the field, they would battle a downpour that forced a few changes of possession. Anderson then intercepted a Boston pass and would later lay out for the score, fed from Vuckovich.
This game-tying score was the biggest possession of the game.
“We’re professional players,” said Chris Mazur. “We’ve played in slop before. We’ve all been there, and we knew we would play better.”
Ben Faust, who would follow up with a goal to keep the score even at six, said, “After the delay we were able to resettle. Boston was building a run but the storm froze it.”
While Boston had stalled the Rumble a couple of times, Boston also was stalled in the third quarter. With only 10 yards to go, the Rumble would find Faust to extend their lead to 8-6.
In the second half, the Rumble would find success in their deep throws. Mazur connected with Robbie Gillies who skied two Boston defenders to score. Faust found Jack Marsh in the end zone, before skying his defender later to raise the lead to 12-8.
The Rumble were firing on all cylinders. After a Matt Hennessy deflection, Mazur instinctively picked up and launched deep to Jonathan Cox for a 16-12 lead.
Boston fought to the end. Trailing 14-16, Boston elected to direct their following three pulls to roll to the sideline in order to double team the Rumble handlers. The strategy pressured New York but they did not succumb. With 30 seconds left, Dan Heijman passed to Marsh for a 18-16 lead.
After another Boston pull rolling out, a double teamed Mazur would throw a clutch hammer across the field to Gillies. Escaping the double team, the Rumble would let the clock run out and seal their 18-17 upset over Boston.
“We worked on fundamentals,” said Faust. “This year we introduced new people to our system with not much attention to the basics. We have players coming from different systems and are now learning to trust each other and to give up some of themselves for the benefit of the team.”
Coach Nuñez was especially impressed but not surprised by the team’s win. “Our offense was practically flawless. The delay recharged and refocused us. After the rain, we knew we could put Boston out of their game.”
Boston’s second loss keeps the Eastern Conference wide open and the New York Rumble just a game away from the D.C. Current. Facing the Current at D.C. next week, a New York win will tie them for first place in the East.