July 5, 2014 by Alec Surmani in News, Preview with 0 comments
In a rematch of Friday’s thrilling final round, San Francisco Revolver and Boston Ironside will face off once again in the semifinals of the U.S. Open.
It will also be a rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final. And two of the last four Nationals title games. And countless other big matches.
Needless to say, there’s a lot of history here.
One could make the case that the stakes are lower here, partly because it’s semis of the first tournament of the season and partly because Worlds still looms larger than most anything at this point.
Ironside Captain Russell Wallack described his team’s focus at the tournament thusly: “We want to pick up on things we can use further down the line.”
That may be true, likely of both sides, but that doesn’t mean that these teams don’t want to win or that there’s no investment here.
These squads know each other so well that virtually every time they play each other something’s on the line.
This particular meeting may only yield bragging rights—or at the very least one more game to practice against a worthy opponent before Worlds—but it’s still something.
Despite the wind, their contest yesterday became essentially reduced to an offensive display on both sides, where both O lines shredded defenses and every turnover became a crucial opportunity to gain leverage.
Ironside turned it over just twice in the second half. None of which led to breaks.
Perhaps more importantly, they managed to capitalize on a crucial overthrow at 14-13 with a nice double move from John Stubbs, and that was the game.
The wind looks to be even worse today, but given these teams skill and experience, don’t be too surprised if the match is decided by just a few keys possessions and miscues once again.
As both teams are still feeling out their new rosters and trying to see what they can and can’t do, much of the game’s result could also be determined by how well each squad’s new players fit into their systems and play in the season’s first high-pressure situation.
Following their impressive victory over Sub Zero Friday, Revolver Coach Mike Payne talked about how he liked seeing his younger players step up, noting the contribution of UC Santa Cruz transplant Greg Cohen in the contest.
Reflecting on this, Payne mentioned that he wanted to see more involvement and stellar play from the younger side of San Francisco’s roster.
“We want to get the Beaus out of the way and let the Gregs dominate,” he said.
While one can be assured that there will still be plenty of Beau Kittredge and the rest of Revolver’s veterans doing plenty of work in the semis, a greater spread of contribution across both rosters seems a sure bet and how new role players perform will likely play a large part in how the match goes down.
Look for inspired play from Revolver’s Cohen, Eli Kerns, and Simon Higgins, as well as from Ironside’s John Stubbs and Thomas Sayre-McCord.
Though, even if the contest gets a little heated and both teams start to fall back on their stars, one thing’s for sure: it’s going to be a great game.