Photo by Pete Krautscheid – UltiPhotos.com
The D.C. Current wrapped up the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a dominant 21-16 victory on the road over the Boston Whitecaps. While there were many standout plays on Saturday, here are just a few takeaways from the Current’s fourth consecutive victory.
Fuel for the Fire
The eight-hour bus ride from D.C. to Boston is a behemoth. It tests players mentally and physically and can be one of the hardest obstacles to overcome in the MLU.
In Week 3 the Current made a direct trip to the Hormel Stadium in Medford, Mass., but last Saturday D.C. broke up their Week 9 road trip. The Current’s convoy pulled off the highway and into the driveway of Jeff Wodatch‘s parents house in Connecticut.
The Wodatch family welcomed the entire team and treated the squad to a nice lunch. The break from the bus allowed players time to stretch out their legs, enjoy a few laughs and refocus for the task ahead.
“We were able to cut our trip in half by going to Jeff Wodatch’s parents house,” said Current Head Coach Keven Moldenhauer. “We went to their house and had a lovely lunch. We were there for about an hour and we only had a two hour drive left to Boston. To me that set the tone; it made the trip not terrible so everyone was in good spirits going into the game.”
The 21-16 victory over the Whitecaps secured D.C.’s spot at the top of the Eastern Conference and locked in a home playoff game to take place at Cardinal Stadium on June 28. So while the Current only have one more regular season home game left, D.C. will get to show off their stuff in front of their fans twice more this season.
“It’s an awesome feeling to give the fans a playoff game,” said Moldenhauer. “I know we’re going to have people come out and it will be an awesome experience. We still have another home game coming up, but I think everyone is excited that one of our major goals this season has been achieved. Now there is only one more, and we have to go and do that.”
D.C.’s win on the road was their third victory away from home this season. The Current have now defeated each of their Eastern Conference rivals on their own turf, while D.C. has yet to be beat at home this season.
D.C. has now dealt Boston their first ever defeat in MLU play, taking down the Whitecaps 18-17 in Week 2, and their first ever home loss in Week 9, 21-16.
“This one is a little bit special. We were the first team to beat Boston, and now we are the first team to go up to Boston and win,” said Current Assistant Coach Will Smolinski. “But we knew at the beginning of the season that we had the potential to do this, no one on our team is surprised about how we’ve played. We’re excited about it, happy about it, but we’ve known that when we put together a clean game we are tough to beat.”
Beating Up on the East
Two weeks of the regular season play still remain but the Current checked off one of the last remaining regular season to-do boxes on Saturday by beating Boston. The victory over the Whitecaps ensured that the Current will win each of their season series against the other three squads in the Eastern Conference. D.C took two of three meetings from Boston, and has won each of their three meetings against the Spinners and two against the Rumble with one contest left remaining against those squads.
“We won every season series regardless of what happens in our last two games,” said Smolinski. “We beat every team in those series. We are pretty proud and happy about that.”
While D.C.’s defense was unable to string together four-straight break points for a fifth-consecutive week, they were still incredibly effective. By halftime the Current’s offensive line had scored six points, the Whitecaps offensive line had scored six points and D.C.’s defensive line had scored six points. Boston was able to get two break points in the second half, one in each quarter, but was never able to make the game close because of the D.C. D-lines first 20 minutes of play.
“Coming into the season we knew that the reason we had a losing record last year and the reason we couldn’t beat Boston was because we couldn’t convert turns to breaks,” said Smolinski. “We’ve been doing some stat keeping of our own, and our defensive numbers get better each week – not necessarily how many turns we produce but in how productive we are with those turns.”
Come out and cheer on D.C. during their final regular season home game of the year, June 14 against the New York Rumble. Buy your tickets here.