Photo by Kevin Leclaire – Ultiphotos.com
Conditions were much improved compared to the Current’s matchup last week against the Boston Whitecaps. Temperatures were 40 degrees higher than the previous week, and if you were comparing the wind to last week’s it was a slight breeze. As a result the D.C. Current faithful showed up on “College Jersey Night” and gave the teams a raucous environment.
From the opening pull the Spinners controlled the Current’s offense. Errant turnovers by D.C.’s O-line led to two opening breaks for the away team, setting the tone for the entire game. In total, Philadelphia would convert four of the team’s eight breaks in the opening quarter. D.C. would only record five in the entire game.
For the Current, offensive struggles would plague the team as they would only be able to score 59% of the time and only 50% without a turnover.
“We’re trying to get used to how to cut off of each other. We’re being a little timid,” said Delrico Johnson. “It’s nice that we… make sure that we are not cutting anyone off, but at the same time we need to be more aggressive.”
Offensively for Philadelphia, Matt Glazer led the way with 6 goals, 2 assists, and 2 blocks along with completing 19 of his 20 throws. Whenever there was a chance for the Current to climb back, Glazer would respond.
Three straight breaks by the Spinners in the second quarter did not help the Current get out of their offensive funk. Many of the turnovers were not the result of blocked passes, just simple throwaways or drops. Of the game’s 41 total turnovers, only 18 were registered as actual blocks.
“A turn is a turn. Most of the turnovers that we got were earned turnovers for sure,”said defensive coordinator Jacob Nuxoll. “In the fourth quarter we adjusted but I guess it was a little too late and we could not close the gap.”
The five point lead built up by the Spinners would be enough to hold the Current at bay. The third quarter saw 10 offensive holds on a total of 11 points. In the final quarter there was not enough left in the tank for D.C. getting to only within two points.
“We came in with a lot of intensity. If we continue building on that, work on our chemistry and build our flow we are right where we want to be,”said cutter Gabe Webster (2 goals, 1 block).
The key moment though came in the final moments of the third. Mark Flores (1 goal, 2 assists) found Johnson for a layout score to bring the team within three points. Pulling with 10 seconds left, D.C. was only able to get the disc just past midfield. The Spinners quickly worked and found Glazer who put a desperation huck into the end zone with the Current’s defense set up.
Spinner Greg Martin (4 goals, 1 assist, 1 goal) however, would emerge from the crowd with the disc in hand. This momentum killing sky gave Philadelphia a four point lead, with them receiving the disc to start the final quarter.
Early in the first half, the crowd had a scare as Johnson got pelted from behind came crashing down to the ground hard after a 50-50 disc floated in the air. Johnson though did not let the injury slow him down and would return to the game and score three of his foul goals on the night in the second half.
“I think it was a spark,” Johnson said. “I didn’t want to feel the pain so I cut as hard as I could.”
The early Spinners lead though was too large for the Current to overcome.
The team desperately needed to claim a victory in the opening two weeks, at home, against last year’s playoff teams. With Philadelphia still undefeated and the Whitecaps at a comfortable 2-1, the team now will have to play from behind for the remainder of the season and have to claim multiple road victories.
Next week the Current will be right back at it at Cardinal Stadium, ending the team’s three game home stand. The team will take on the remaining team in the Eastern Conference, the New York Rumble (0-2), who will be playing the first leg of a doubleheader weekend. The loss puts the team in a tie for last in the conference, with the winner of next week’s matchup guaranteed to get their first win of the season.
“A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step. A loss is a loss but that does not define who we are and does not define the work we need to put in going forward,” Nuxoll said.