Photo by Pete Guion – UltiPhotos.com
Last week the D.C. Current accomplished something no other team in the MLU had been able to do: beat the Boston Whitecaps. A week later the Current’s goal remains the same, as D.C. will make the long trip up to Hormel Stadium in Boston to try and take down the Whitecaps once more.
The Current’s dramatic 18-17 last second victory is still fresh in the minds of the D.C. home crowd. But while the victory to snap Boston’s 13-game win streak was sweet, it won’t count towards anything when the two teams line up again this Saturday.
D.C. has to put last week behind them and focus on the challenge of earning a victory against one of the toughest teams in the league.
“I think it’s important to come back from last week hungry, and we are hungry,” said handler Markham Shofner. “I think thats the right way to approach the game. It’s not about the narrative of undefeated streaks or standings, it’s preparing yourself mentally to not underestimate any team.”
The Current should have a clear idea of what to expect from the Whitecaps after playing them last week. But strategies and throws that were successful at Cardinal Stadium might not work in the same way on Saturday. Both sides have had a chance to watch tape and digest all the information gained from going head-to-head, and adjustments are expected to be made.
“We’re switching (our defense) up for sure, because they’re going to look at the tape just like we went back and looked at the tape,” said Assistant Coach Will Smolinski. “To go in there with the same game plan would be silly. They’re going to realize that if they get the disc and look around a little bit that we were vulnerable on the flats. So we are going to have to start taking that away a little more than we did on Saturday.”
D.C.’s defense line played well all game long, but especially so in the fourth quarter when the team outscored Boston 5-2. With several D’s in the end zone, the Current were effective in covering Whitecaps deep threats.
“Ben Flemming got Danny (Clark) twice and then there was one where he had his eyes up, came off his guy, and got somebody in the back of the end zone,” said Smolinski. “He had a great game hustling to get to the disc and was huge, but on all of those there was somebody else doing work on the mark and working their assignment on the cutters.”
While the Current’s defense will have a tough task in shutting down the high powered offense of the Whitecaps, D.C.’s offense will face a different type of challenge as O-line starters Peter Prial and Sean Keegan will not be traveling with the team to Boston. Prial is tied for the team lead in points (with Alan Kolick at 12) and Keegan is a consistent cutting threat. While it will be nearly impossible to replace those players’ production, Head Coach Keven Moldenhauer is excited about the chance other players will have to step up.
“You can’t replace the quality of players like that, but it does give an avenue for someone else to step up and show that they deserve more playing time,” said Moldenhauer. “There are plenty of players on this team that are biting at the bit to get out there and show that they are quality. In many sports you will see that all a player needs is an opportunity, so they’re going to get their opportunity. Now they just need to prove they deserve it.”