Photo by Pete Guion – UltiPhotos.com
The D.C. Current defeated the visiting Philadelphia Spinners 18-15 on a cold, wet and dreary Saturday night inside of the Catholic University of America’s Cardinal Stadium.
The victory moved the Current into sole possession of first place in the MLU’s Eastern Conference.
It’s difficult to pin playoff implications to a Week 2 matchup, but Saturday’s contest carried significant weight for both teams. Coming off a disappointing 2014 campaign in which they were victorious just four times, the Philadelphia Spinners were eager to prove that their season-opening victory over Boston last week was no fluke while the defending MLU Champion Current could ill afford to drop a home game and fall into an early season hole in the standings.
D.C. (2-0) opened the contest with the disc and following a patient string of passes, Peter Prial found Alan Kolick for the score from 10 yards out. The Current were able to double their lead during the following point as the D.C. defense was able to force five turnovers before finally cashing in for the score on a pass from Ryan Nam to Brian Marshall.
“I thought we came out a lot sharper than in the Boston game,” said Coach Keven Moldenhauer. “You’re starting to see how our offense is designed to work.”
After the sides traded a trio of points, D.C. was able to convert an offensive point late in the first quarter to take a 4-2 lead into the second frame. The Current have made it a point of emphasis to try and score the final goal of each period this season and they were able to practice that skill on Saturday. They received the disc with less than 30 seconds remaining in the frame and were able to score on a pass from Markham Shofner to Chuck Cantone.
Philadelphia (1-1) would make the most of their first two offensive points in the second quarter. They found the end zone on both occasions to slice the D.C. advantage to a single score. The latter of those scores made it a 5-4 contest with 6:20 left to play in the opening half.
However, by the time the squads left the field for halftime D.C. had outscored the Spinners 6-3 over the final six minutes of the half.
That run started with a display of clean and patient offense followed by great team defense when the Current forced a stall call on the Spinners who were just feet outside of their own goal. D.C. took over possession and called a timeout to get their best offensive players on the field. After a string of passes Jeff Wodatch hit Prial in the end zone to put the Current ahead 7-4.
D.C.’s defense forced Philadelphia to dump, reset and swing the disc all night long and cashed in on their third break point of the match just before halftime. The Spinners went to move the disc to the center of the field but the intended receiver slipped coming out of his cut and never came close to catching it. The Current inched the disc closer to the goal before Nate Castine found Brent Bellinger wide open for the score to make it an 11-7 contest.
“The offense wasn’t broken in the first half which was pretty impressive,” said Moldenhauer. “The second half we loosened up some and had some unforced turnovers, but they took care of business when they needed to. The defense initially was earning the turns but wasn’t converting as we wanted to. We’re trying to get better at that and I’m seeing a lot of strides that are being made.”
The Spinners could not recover from that run in the second half even though they came within three scores several times but never any closer.
D.C. had several standout players in the contest, and Lloyd Blake led all players in scoring with four goals and two assists.
“This past week in practice coach talked to all of us about being aggressive and getting up field,” said Blake. “Just attacking and being relentless. I really tried to do that today and I felt good. I felt like the space was there for me for the majority of the game.”
Wodatch and Prial also recorded six-point nights, scoring three goals and three assists and two goals and four assists respectively. The Spinners were led by Billy Sickles who contributed one goal and four assists on the night.
The Current will take next week off before going on a two-game road trip the following weekend to play at Boston on May 9th before facing the New York Rumble for the first time on Sunday the 10th.