August 9, 2012 by Wes Cronk in News, Preview with 1 comments
After a grueling summer of tryout tournaments and tune-up games, top club teams from across North America are set to face off this weekend at the 2012 Emerald City Classic. For most of the teams, the quest for Sarasota begins in Seattle, making it the premier event of the early club season.
Every August, elite club teams head west for a chance to test their still-settling rosters against other top competition. Despite the fact that ECC generally falls more than two months before most teams aim to peak, it still is widely regarded as the regular season’s most competitive tournament. Of the teams attending this year, 8 of 12 Open teams and 11 of 14 Women’s teams made it to the 2011 Club Championships. Even though the season is still young, the quality of competition is impossible to find elsewhere.
The tournament’s format also lends itself to added excitement. ECC has historically employed an innovative single pool, round-robin format meant to highlight the elite level of play and maximize games. Scheduling competitive match-ups every round makes for close, intense games that always have the potential for fireworks.
Particularly intriguing about ECC 2012 is the effect of USA Ultimate’s modified bid allocation process for the 2012 Club Series. For the majority of teams in attendance, ECC will be their first USAU sanctioned event of the season and the results will have significant implications on the distribution of wildcard bids. In the recently released USAU Club Open rankings, perennial contenders Johnny Bravo, Chain Lightning, and Ring of Fire — none of which will be in attendance — held the top three spots but that could easily change. A strong weekend against ECC’s elite competition has the potential to send a team flying up in the rankings.
Ultiworld will be in Seattle this weekend to cover the tournament, reporting the games, shooting video, and talking to teams. Stay tuned next week for full ECC coverage: recaps, highlights, and more.
There is little reason to think any that team other than San Francisco’s Revolver is the favorite going into this weekend. Fresh off a World Championship, the reigning 2011 Club Champions are still standing far ahead of the pack. Especially without the likes of Bravo, Chain or Ring to contend with, Revolver should be able to pick up the team’s third ECC title in four years.
For a breakdown of each team, check out Skyd’s preview.
As has been trend in the past, the ECC title will likely come down to a battle between the hometown Seattle Riot and San Francisco’s Fury. Those two teams are the only ones to ever win ECC. All signs suggest that the top two teams from the 2011 season will be reloaded and ready this year, foreshadowing another epic battle between the familiar combatants.