Photo by Pete Guion – Ultiphotos.com
The Rumble (1-2) recorded 10 points, including six breaks, in the fourth quarter to overcome a five-point deficit and deal the D.C. Current (0-3) another stunning loss.
Ahead 16-11 and seemingly in control of the game during the final nine minutes of play, the Washington D.C. Current appeared to be well on their way to their first victory of the season. However, a young, hungry, and determined New York Rumble squad refused to back down. By the middle of the fourth quarter, New York’s offense was getting well ahead of the D.C. defense for quick scores and New York’s defense was forcing D.C. turnovers and converting these costly errors into goals.
With the loss, D.C. drops to 0-3 for the first time in franchise history.
“We’re obviously disappointed,” said Head Coach Will Smolinski. “We won or tied three quarters: Crushed in the first quarter, tied the second quarter, won the third quarter, and then to have as bad as a fourth quarter as we did and lose all the work we put in is never easy.”
The Current had taken the early lead in the game by going up 5-2 just before the end of the first quarter, maintained their three-point lead going into halftime, and even extended their lead to 4 at the end of three quarters.
After the Rumble’s Andrew Mishtos quickly scored at the midway point of the final period, his team’s defense seized the momentum in the game when they blocked a D.C. pass at the back of the Current end zone and turned this play into their second of six fourth-quarter breaks.
New York went on to outscore D.C. 6-2 in the last five minutes of the game, taking their first and only lead with 1:17 left.
Despite losing in heartbreaking fashion in the 2016 season’s early going, the Current remain upbeat and will continue to work to become the team they believe they can be.
“I think we’ve shown that we’re a team that can play,” said cutter Trevor Griesman. “We’ve been in every single one of these games. They’ve been tough losses. It hurts, but I think that’s given us the motivation to move forward with the rest of our season and try to turn some of those losses into W’s.”
“We have to stay optimistic in that we’ve been in a position to win every single game and there’s no reason that we should think that 0-3 is a death sentence,” Smolinski noted. “It’s tougher for us to get to our goal of making the playoffs, but it’s doesn’t mean that we need to accept that and roll over for the rest of the season.”
If sports is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical, then the Current know that what ails them is not just how they have been playing the game, but how they have been thinking about the game. They are confident the pieces will fall into the places they want as they continue to work on their systems and processes.
“We have the pieces,” said cutter Chip Cobb. “We need to learn to control ourselves and our mental state a bit more. Do that, keep our energy up, keep ourselves focused on the things that we need to do, instead of worrying about what happened five minutes ago and we’re going to outrun people in the fourth quarter next time, instead of end up backpedaling. We’re going to put up some wins on the road, no question in my mind.
“I would say that I think there is no lack of effort on this team and there is no lack of desire. And we will put in the work to become the team that I think we can.”
The Current have the opportunity to prove their mettle when play their first road games of the season next weekend. They face the Boston Whitecaps at Hormel Stadium in Medford, Massachusetts on Saturday, April 30, and then travel to Bell Stadium in Orange, New Jersey to square off against the New York Rumble on Sunday, May 1.
To not only show their speed and energy, but also to prove their team’s determination to continue to push forward in the face of adversity, Cobb, Johnson, and Griesman, as well as handlers Joseph DiPaula and Erik Salmi, were running sprints immediately after the game ended.
“I think we start out really strong every game and I think that’s one of our strengths,” said handler Zach Norrbom. “I think everyone’s going to get a lot better this season, but we just have to keep working.”
Don’t worry if you can’t make the trip to Boston or New York, you can follow all D.C. Current games live via MLU Live!