June 21, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in Preview with 8 comments
If the AUDL season ended today, the Indianapolis Alleycats would make the playoffs. But this weekend they will see their team put to the test as they face the Midwestern Division’s second place team, the Radicals, before facing the rising Wind Chill on Sunday. The road back-to-back has proven difficult for every team in the league. How will the Alleycats respond?
Here’s a look at this week’s games.
Windy City Wildfire @ Detroit Mechanix
The top of the division versus the bottom. The Windy City Wildfire (10-1) head to Detroit to take on the Mechanix (3-8). The Wildfire are looking to continue to extend their lead over the Radicals at the top of the Midwest as the Mechanix battle just to stay in the playoff race.
The Mechanix play much better at home inside their dome, where player-coach Ken Porter can run amok.
Despite being five games below .500, the Mechanix still have a shot at the playoffs if they can win most of their games down the stretch.
Indianapolis Alleycats @ Madison Radicals
Indianapolis heads out on a critical road trip this week. Sitting at 5-5 and in third place in the division, they begin their weekend with a big time matchup against the Radicals, who currently sit in second place.
The Radicals edged out the Alleycats 24-22 last week in Indianapolis; the Alleycats are hungry for another shot.
As the Alleycats try to fend off challengers in the playoff race, a win against Madison — which is a longshot on the road — would be huge. The challenge for the Alleycats is to determine how much energy to expend when they have an even more important game on Sunday.
Indianapolis Alleycats @ Minnesota Wind Chill
After facing off against the Radicals, the Alleycats hit the road to play the Wind Chill for the second time this season. This is the first of three upcoming matchups between the two teams; the series winner will be in a good position to take the third and final playoff spot in the Midwest.
Right now, the Wind Chill are an unthreatening 3-8 on the year. But they took a nine point win over the Alleycats in week one and that record sells their talent short. Their point differential (+18) is a full 24 points better than the Alleycats’ — that suggests that the Wind Chill, despite the worse record, are the favorite in this game, particularly since they are playing in Minneapolis.
The Alleycats have had this game circled on their calendar for weeks now. All the Midwest Conference eyes are going to be on the results of this game.
Windy City Wildfire @ Cincinnati Revolution
The Wildfire finish up their weekend doubleheader with a game in Cincinnati against the Revolution. Cincy stopped a big slide last week with a critical win over a weakened Radicals team.
They’ll have their work cut out for them against the Wildfire who have beaten them in both meetings this season.
The Wildfire have a good shot at winning both games of another back-to-back road trip and moving to 12-1 on the season. They have already clinched a playoff berth.
DC Breeze @ Toronto Rush
The Breeze travel north this weekend for a back-to-back against the Rush and Dragons. Toronto dominated the Breeze in one of the biggest blowouts of the year in the AUDL, 30-13, in week two.
The Rush are looking to continue their undefeated season this week with a win and should have little trouble handling the lack of depth of the Breeze.
Philadelphia Phoenix @ New York Empire
The Empire and Phoenix meet for the third and final time this season. New York has owned the series so far, narrowly taking the first game in Brooklyn before dominating the Phoenix on the road in Philadelphia.
A win this week for the Empire would mean a significant lead in 2nd place of the division.
However, the Empire will be playing without some of their top playmakers, including Husayn Carnegie, who are away at Boston Invite, an important early season club tournament.
That could give the Phoenix an edge in this important late season matchup as the Phoenix look to stave off a rising Rochester team in the Division’s playoff race.
DC Breeze @ Rochester Dragons
Rochester has a chance to continue their impressive success at home and move to within one game of .500 with a win over the Breeze this weekend.
The Breeze are 1-1 (both games at home) against the Dragons; both the games were exceedingly close. The Breeze took the first game by one in double overtime and lost by just two in the second meeting.
Rochester’s only home loss has come to Toronto. A win would move them to within just a game of the final playoff spot in the East.
Both teams know that this is a critical game in their season — expect a barnburner.
New York Empire @ New Jersey Hammerheads
The Empire head back to New Jersey after drubbing the Hammerheads by eight in late May. New Jersey has lost ten games straight since opening the season with a win.
The Empire are hot, on a five-game winning streak dating back to their last win against the Hammerheads. They will look to keep that streak alive this weekend.
Like in the Phoenix game, the Empire will be missing some of their starters, which at least gives the Hammerheads hope that they can stop their losing streak.