MLU Week 10 Preview: Who Wants It More?

The New York Rumble's Joe "Smash" Anderson.
Photo by Brian Canniff — UltiPhotos.com

It all comes down to the DC Current v. New York Rumble matchup on Sunday. Here’s a preview of this week’s games.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

DC Current @ Philadelphia Spinners

You might think that, given the magnitude of the Current’s Sunday game against the Rumble, they will rest their starters and pay no mind to the outcome of this game. Wrong.

Both Keven Moldenhauer and Dan Kantor said after the Rumble game two weeks ago that they will be playing to win against the Spinners, their rival two hours north. The Current want to finish out this season at .500.

You should expect to see Alan Kolick, who will be a game-time decision (hamstring) against the Rumble, on the bench against the Spinners, but other starters are likely to play.

The Current own a 2-1 season series advantage and can definitively claim supremacy over the Spinners with a win on Saturday. This game is about pride and bragging rights for both teams; despite the looming Current must-win on Sunday, this game won’t be a snoozer.

New York Rumble @ Boston Whitecaps

In contrast to the Current/Spinners game, the Rumble/Whitecaps game should be a lot less hard-fought. The Rumble are dealing with a multitude of injuries. Combining that with the brutal drive they have to make Saturday night from Boston to Washington means that they are likely to rest many of their top players who will be fatigued simply from the long travel times.

Boston will be playing at home for a chance at a perfect regular season. The league announced today that Boston will also play host to the Eastern Conference Championship game next weekend.

The Whitecaps will also be dealing with the half-game suspension issued to offensive line handler Brandon “Muffin” Malacek.

The Whitecaps have an opportunity to become the first professional ultimate team to finish a regular season undefeated. They will face the winner of the Current/Rumble game on Sunday in the Conference Championship next week.

New York Rumble @ DC Current

It all comes down to this. The New York Rumble head down to DC for the MLU game of the season with a playoff spot on the line.

On paper, these teams are dead even. They’ve split their season series 1-1, with the Current winning their most recent matchup in overtime.

These teams know each other well and this game will come down to the fundamentals: which team can manage their dump sets better, which team can easier maintain the space on the field with strong deep cutting, and which stars will step up. That last point may be the most critical. Both teams are star-studded and rely on those players to run the offense; nearly 50% of the goals and assists on the Rumble come from four players (Mazur, Heijmen, Terry, Kuzmowycz). The Current are similarly top-heavy (Kolick, Keegan, Shofner, Wodatch, Oung). Considering the injuries to Chris Mazur (ankle) and Kolick, how will the teams respond?

A big blow for the Rumble: Dan Heijmen is out for the season with a torn meniscus in his right knee. He has been a critical part of their success this season.

Although MLU has not yet announced their livestreaming coverage for this weekend, we assume they will have this game on the docket. It will be must-watch ultimate.

Tune in and enjoy the battle.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle Rainmakers @ Vancouver Nighthawks

Seattle and Vancouver meet for the final Northwest rivalry matchup, but it unfortunately won’t have a must-win, playoff feel. Seattle has owned the season series so far, 3-0, and will be looking to close out the sweep on the road.

Vancouver, with their pride on the line and no upcoming games, will be playing their hearts out. Vancouver’s home crowd is one of the best and biggest in the league — it should be a full house with Seattle in town.

Seattle, with the playoffs next weekend already settled, should be playing to win, not to rest. They’ll have their contingent of players (and their coach Ben Wiggins) who were in Amsterdam for Windmill Windup back in the fold.

San Francisco Dogfish @ Portland Stags

The Dogfish head north this weekend for a rare MLU doubleheader. First, they face the Portland Stags, the only team in the league to take down San Francisco this season.

The Dogfish responded handily to that loss in their most recent match against the Stags, where they walked away with a 31-13 blowout win.

This game should be closer, both because the Stags will be finishing up their season and because the Dogfish may be resting some players in advance of the Rainmakers game on Sunday.

The Stags may not look impressive in the standings, but they’ve been playing some thrilling ultimate the past few weeks. Their game last week against the Nighthawks was a great game to watch.

San Francisco Dogfish @ Seattle Rainmakers

A playoff preview in the final week of the regular season? Perfect.

The Dogfish have mounted two wild second half comebacks to beat the Rainmakers in their first two meetings; a third win would give the Dogfish a seriously psychological edge heading into the playoffs.

The Western Conference finals between these two teams will be back down in San Francisco next week. How much of their hand will each team show this week?

This game should be a good one. Both teams have a chance to make one last statement before their win-or-go-home game next weekend.

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