With the American Ultimate Disc League poised for its season opener tonight in Cincinnati, it’s time to take stock of where the teams stack up.
With the Windy City Wildfire lining up a crop of Machine club players alongside AUDL season one MVP Jonathan “Goose” Helton and superstar Brodie Smith, the Chicago team is our pick for the #1 team in the league.
They are followed closely by the Toronto Rush, the clear favorite to win the Eastern Division.
Check out the full list on our dedicated rankings page, and read below for discussion.
1. Windy City Wildfire — With Alleycats defectors Goose Helton and Brodie Smith on the roster, the Wildfire have big names, big firepower, and a strong roster from top to bottom. They won’t have an easy time winning the deep Midwestern Conference, but they look to be in the best position to come out on top.
2. Toronto Rush – GOAT, the Toronto club team that many on the Rush’s roster play for, nearly took down #1 Boston Ironside at Regionals and eventual National Champion Austin Doublewide in quarterfinals at Nationals. This team has impressive depth. Watch for Jeff Lindquist to patrol the skies and fill up the stats sheet. It would be a surprise if this team didn’t win the Eastern Conference.
3. Madison Radicals – Ask the Madison guys and they’ll tell you they’re the best in the league. With names like Andrew Brown and Brian Hart, it’s understandable why they feel that way. Their games against the Wildfire will be the best of the regular season.
4. Minnesota Wind Chill – On paper, this team is extremely impressive, with big names like Grant Lindsley, Josh Klane, and Nick Simonelli peppering a deep roster. But they have had very limited practice time due to weather and other factors. Can the team gel soon enough to get past rivals Madison and Chicago?
5. Indianapolis Alleycats – Although the team lost its two biggest stars, there’s a lot to be said for having a year of experience in the league. Cameron Brock returns to continue his ascent onto the national scene and the Alleycats are sure to develop some new players into stars.
6. New York Empire – Led by Oregon standout Aaron Bell, the New York Empire brings together a mix of players from across the greatest city in the world. Husayn Carnegie is the team’s most explosive athlete, and will play with former NYU teammates Lu Wang and Sean Childers (also the Ultiworld Stats Editor). Some big pickups from the Connecticut Constitution will help solidify this team’s rotation.
7. Cincinnati Revolution – With a new home in Cincinnati, the Revolution are set to grind out games and take advantage of their underdog status. With four former Columbus Cranes players joining the roster, the team will be better than other teams expect. Watch out for Chris Powers to emerge as a surprise breakout star.
8. New Jersey Hammerheads – New Jersey hasn’t been known as a powerhouse Ultimate scene, but that’s because a lot of players end up playing in Philadelphia for the club season. The Hammerheads bring a lot of strong Jersey talent together. Rutgers stars Albert Alarcon and Jibran Mieser should be big playmakers, and captain Frank Harris will be an all-around leader.
9. Detroit Mechanix – The Mechanix boosted their fortunes this week with the signing of Ring of Fire’s Ken Porter, who will make an immediate impact for the team, both on the field and as a coach. The Mechanix also return many of their biggest playmakers from last season. Can those guys make up for a weaker bench?
10. Philadelphia Phoenix – With the departure of the Philadelphia Spinners to Major League Ultimate, the AUDL is at a big disadvantage in Philly. But the Phoenix have put together a pretty solid team, picking up a number of Millersville players and alums. There’s a heavy Heva Havas presence here — that team was one of the surprises of 2012.
11. Rochester Dragons – The Buffalo Hunters relocated to Rochester this year to settle into a more established ultimate scene. Western New York has better talent than many realize, thanks to developing college programs. Dave Ferraro (PoNY) is the standout player on the roster, adding a strong player to the 12 returners from Buffalo.
12. DC Breeze – Some Breeze players still haven’t signed their contracts after the team was distracted by coaching issues that led to the firing of the head coach Tom Coffin. Now the team is getting into the groove, but could the slow start make it harder for them to compete? Medicine Men, the DC/Baltimore area second-tier club team, has a strong presence on the roster.