Photo by Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com
After months of anticipation, the opening pull of the 2014 MLU season is just hours away. The D.C. Current enter the second season equipped with dynamic leadership, a relentless offense and the hard-to-shake disappointment resonating from last season’s playoff performance.
The 2013 season ended in heartbreak for D.C. as they were unable to top the eventual MLU Champion Boston Whitecaps in the Eastern Conference Final. The Current return their 2013 roster nearly entirely intact and have added several impact pieces to bolster their offensive and defensive lines. Their 2014 roster alone gives the Current a legitimate shot at capturing the MLU crown. Tomorrow, they will look to start the season off right in their season opener against Philadelphia.
Head Coach Keven Moldenhauer and Assistant Coach Will Smolinski will both return to their respective posts patrolling the sidelines. Moldenhauer won’t take the field this season like he did last year but he will continue to coach the offense, while Smolinski will focus on the defense.
The pair have a year’s worth of valuable experience to rely on this season and will have greater control over the game.
“We really struggled with the logistics of the game, and how a timed game works at the beginning of last year,” Smolinski said. “You could argue we lost to Boston because we didn’t understand clock management the first time we played them.”
All of those little kinks in D.C.’s game plan will be ironed out, allowing the team to get into a better overall flow.
All of D.C.’s top scorers from 2013 return for another campaign. The returning players include Jeff Wodatch, who led the team with 30 goals last year, Calvin Oung, who caught 21 scores, along with Robert Dulabon and David Cranston who each scored 15 times last season. In addition, Alan Kolick (13 goals, 34 assists), Markham Shofner who finished third in the MLU in assists (17 goals, 33 assists) and Sean Keegan (13 goals, 26 assists) return to form the backbone of one of the most potent offenses in the league.
“There are a lot of guys on this team that can do a lot of things really well,” Keegan said. “I could name anybody on our O-line who is more than capable of being a handler or receiver.”
Along with all of the Current’s returning firepower, D.C. added several pieces during the offseason that should only bolster their attack. After being acquired from Boston, last season’s league leading goal scorer, Peter Prial, will don a D.C. jersey this year and add another dangerous downfield target for the Current’s marksmen to aim for.
While Prial has prior experience in the league, D.C.’s defensive line will feature several faces not seen before in the MLU. Cody Johnston, Eddie Peters, and Freddie Tsai might lack professional experience but they posses all of the natural tools necessary to be impact players for the Current this season.
“It’s been great to play with a new group of guys who I’ve never really played with before,” Prial said. “I think it’s been good for me to learn what everybody can and can’t do; what everybody likes to do and what they have in their tool kit. I’m very excited and am really looking forward to playing with this group of guys.”
Get it Flowin’
The Current have one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the entire league. While Boston went undefeated last year, they’re unlikely to duplicate this feat in 2014. The Current should be able to steal at least one victory from the Whitecaps in their three meetings this season. D.C. will also look to take advantage of their other Eastern Conference brethren and will hope to have winning records in their three contests against New York and four matches with Philadelphia.
The road to the playoffs begins tomorrow in Philadelphia when the Current take on the Philadelphia Spinners at Franklin Field in University City.