Photo by Kevin Leclaire – Ultiphotos.com
Being at the end of a rebuilding season, the Current’s results have not been up to par as much as the coaching staff would like. However, their record is not too surprising considering what the team had to adjust to at the start of the season.
Right now though, it is time to win. The team has been working on finding their new identity all season long and going out on a high note would be a signal to the organization that the plan is working.
“We have performed well over the season and last couple of weeks,” leading scorer for the team, Delrico Johnson, said. “We know how to play at a high level and with each team.”
This game could be a huge indicator on how the franchise is prepared for the future, primarily for the next two seasons.
It will not be an easy game though. Despite having already clinched a playoff spot, Philadelphia does not look to be taking their foot off of the pedal. So far this season the Spinners are 3-0 against D.C., with a chance to sweep their regional rival, something they have never done before.
In 2016 the Spinners have the Current’s number. Combined on all three games on the season, D.C. has a point differential of -15 against Philadelphia. Against all other opponents the Current is -5.
“The Spinners are great at capitalizing on mistakes,” Johnson said. “Their run reminds me of ours in 2014, where the defense really stepped up and put pressure on the opposing offense to play nearly perfect.”
With the team implementing a new offensive style for 2016, the Spinners have caused problems for the offense all season long. Even ten weeks into the season, D.C. looked lost against the Philadelphia defense. The offensive line was only able to score with no turnovers on 23.1 percent of their possessions (first hold scoring efficiency).
Making it even more difficult to overcome the Spinners, their offense has been one of the most consistent units in the league. The team’s offensive scoring efficiency stands at 68.9 percent, only second to the Portland Stags. In the last matchup the Current was able to hold it to under 60 percent but not enough to cause a disruption in their flow.
The offense has been led by MVP candidate Billy Sickles and Matt Glazer. While D.C. has been able to hold Sickles to a small impact (five goals, two assists in three games), there are too many weapons to slow down their offense. Nick Hirannet, Michael Panna, and Matt Esser have all had strong performances against the Current this season. They are players with more than one skillset, allowing them to cut and throw effectively.
In order to stop the Spinners the Current’s defensive offense must be on point. There will be only a few times that Philadelphia turns the disc over and only a few opportunities for the team to get a break. If the defense is scoring more it will take pressure off of the offense.
All time the Current lead the series 8-7, with five of the seven wins for Philadelphia coming in the past two seasons. The Boston Whitecaps are the only team they have played that D.C. does not lead in a head-to-head series.
If Philadelphia were to win they would tie the Current (2014) and Portland Stags (2015) for second best regular season record in league history. If D.C. were to lose they would have their worst season in team history but a win would match the team’s record from 2013 (4-6).