Photo by Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com

The D.C. Current (1-0) can grab an early advantage in the race for the Eastern Conference crown as they host the Philadelphia Spinners (1-0) Saturday evening.

Last weekend the Current kicked off their 2015 campaign with a dramatic 19-18 double overtime victory over Boston. D.C. will look to carry some momentum into their matchup against Philadelphia, who also beat the Whitecaps during the opening weekend of the season.

The Current swept their season series against the Spinners last season, walking away winners from each of the four contests. But D.C. knows those victories didn’t come easily as three of the contests were won by three goals or less.

“Trey [Katzenbach] had a huge game against us at our first home game against Philly last year,” said defensive cutter Brian Marshall. “I don’t know how that man does it, but he seems to get open and does damage under the radar.”

Katzenbach, an offensive handler, put up four points (3 goals, 1 assist) and completed all 22 of his passes during the Spinners’ 22-20 Week 1 win over Boston.

Another player the Current will have to keep close tabs on is defensive cutter Patrick Diviney, who scored 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) and had two blocks in three games against D.C. last season.

“Diviney is always exciting to play against because he’s one of the faster guys in the league,” said Marshall. “He could do some damage with a good thrower pairing.”

Besides guarding against Philadelphia’s deep passes and long runs, the D.C. defense’s ability to convert turnovers into points will be key in Saturday’s game. During their windy season-opener against the Whitecaps, the Current converted on only 5 of 15 defensive points that featured at least one Boston turnover.

“We must take advantage of our break opportunities,” said defensive handler Freddie Tsai. “It was a struggle on Saturday because of the swirling wind, but Boston had to deal with it as well. We just have to be better at executing on transition – wind or no wind. We know we can create turnovers, we just need to work on turning them into scores.”

The coaches are confident that the team will make necessary adjustments for Saturday.

“Our defense takes pride in their ability to convert a high percentage of turns into breaks,” said Head Coach Keven Moldenhauer. “Expect the defense to rebound and start converting at a higher percentage. I would expect the offense to find a groove this upcoming game. Look for standout games by Jeff Wodatch and Alan Kolick.”

“You should see an improved defense and a more efficient offense,” Assistant Coach Tim Eubanks said. “The oscillating and gusty wind we had in the Boston game was a great equalizer.”

D.C. will be without defensive handlers Dominique Gibson, Zach Norrbom and Erik Salmi, as well as cutters Tim Jackson and Eric Miner against Philadelphia.

But D.C. will see the 2015 debut of offensive handler Nate Castine on Saturday.

“Nate…has been an invaluable player at practices so far,” said Eubanks. “He has great field IQ and seems to have a calming effect on everyone around him.”

Across eight meetings in the series history between the Current and the Spinners, D.C. has won six times while Philadelphia has won just twice.

Come support the Current at Cardinal Stadium as D.C. tries to extend their undefeated record inside of the Dojo against the Spinners. First pull is at 6:00 p.m.

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