Photo by Sean Carpenter – UltiPhotos.com
DC began and ended their game with the New York Rumble in the same way: with great skill wasted.
The first pull of the game in Union City, New Jersey was a beauty from captain Sean Keegan, followed by fellow captain Dan Kantor sprinting down to jumpstart the defense by nearly recording a block on the first throw of the game. Only “nearly” is all it would remain as the New York Rumble would score the first point of the game in just over a minute. While Washington would work back to tie the game at 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, New York never relinquished the lead.
With 7 minutes left in the third quarter, the teams were tied for the last time in the game. Despite persistent pressure from the Current defenders across the board, the Rumble worked the disc up the flick sideline with patience and tempo to extend a one-point lead.
This one-point advantage had happened seven times previously in the game, and DC responded six of seven times (not at 1-2) to prevent the one-goal lead from widening to a two-goal lead.
In the next point (DC 8, NY 10), the following occurred:
– Brent Bellinger turfed a throw for DC.
– Joe Anderson threw a huck to no one for NY.
– Bobby Gordon dropped a swing pass for DC.
– Anderson threw a 40-yard up-line, leading pass to Lucas Murphy, who finished the play with a fantastic layout for a goal.
One might argue that it was four bad throws, one of which was covered up by a teammate. One might argue that random errors happen in large enough sample sizes. One cannot argue that the game was never really close again after this pivotal point.
The remainder of the game was post-script to the denouement of the two-point lead. New York widened to three after another well-timed time out. DC had to force the issue the rest of the way due to the pressure of time, and New York had the luxury of over-aggressive DC defenders. DC was finally finished off by Jonathan Cox who, in the span of 32 seconds, caught a goal to push the lead to 10-14, and then on the ensuing pull, tallied a layout block in the end zone and set up a strong isolation cut for the goal that put the score at 10-15.
After this point, DC kept fighting, and even had the disc down 14-17 with 2:30 left to play, but were unable to capitalize on the short field gifted them by an in-cut block from Ryan Todd — which was representative of the game as a whole, and possibly Washington’s overall sense of the season after a 1-4 start.
With the season halfway through, the focus must still be on the future. There are five more games left, and only three other teams in the race. A 5-0 run will put the team at a 6-4 record. It will also tag the Philadelphia Spinners (2-3) and New York Rumble (2-3) with two losses each. If both Philly and New York are sitting with five losses, Washington will avoid various tie-break scenarios by beating the Boston Whitecaps (5-0). If they drop to the Whitecaps, then a logjam of two or three teams could well finish 5-5.
In fact, make that two, three or four teams since, as of this moment, Boston could finish 5-5.
This inaugural MLU season is at its midway point. It may seem like forever since the league had tryouts and no one knew what would come of it all, but it has only been five weeks since regular season play began. With five more weeks of play for each team (save the Portland Stags) remaining, every spot is in play and no team in the league is guaranteed a losing or winning record, let alone a playoff berth.
The MLU story has only just begun.
Come see the Current write their next chapter on May 26 when the Spinners visit the nation’s capital in the rubber match of their season series, knotted for now at 1-1. Play will begin at 7 pm at Blazer Stadium in Silver Spring, Maryland.