Three undefeated teams remain near the season's halfway point.
May 20, 2016 by Nathan Jesson in Rankings with 2 comments
Our AUDL Power Rankings continue to be updated each week, but with many teams halfway through their season, we take a deeper look at the state of the league.
1. Dallas Roughnecks (6-0)
The Roughnecks have erased any questions they might have faced coming into the season. Dallas has a 10.7 goal differential per game. They won on the road in Raleigh by six, and won a game against Austin when they were missing all of their team USA players. Even without Beau Kittredge playing for the foreseeable future, Dallas is still the unquestionable number one.
2. San Francisco FlameThrowers (7-0)
Since a shaky opening weekend with two games going to overtime, the FlameThrowers have looked very strong. As expected, Joel Schlachet and Robbie Cahill have become big contributors in their first AUDL seasons. Schlachet leads the team, while Cahill is third in assists and second in completions.
3. Toronto Rush (5-1)
Other than a 27-31 loss in Montreal when the core of Toronto’s team was playing with Team Canada in Colombia, the Rush have looked very strong. Two narrow wins over DC give the team pole position to finishing first in the East and getting that vital home field advantage come playoff time.
4. Madison Radicals (5-0)
The Radicals have addressed any doubters, winning all five of their games including a 22-18 win in Pittsburgh. The Radicals don’t play a fast paced style that lends itself to blowouts, yet they still have an average goal differential of 9.
5. DC Breeze (4-2)
The Breeze may have two losses on their resume, but both were to Toronto and only by one point. More concerning was needing double overtime at home to dispatch New York. The Breeze still feel like a team that is trying to figure how it wants to play together. Playing in the East, a division that is not very deep, should give them plenty of time to figure it out.
6. Seattle Cascades (5-3)
The Cascades stumbled out of the gate, and three weeks into the season they were only 1-3. Since then Seattle has taken it up a notch, easily sweeping a two game road trip in southern California and avenging an early season loss on the road against the Spiders by eking out a one point win in San Jose this past weekend.
7. Vancouver Riptide (2-2)
The Riptide are only 2-2, but both were semi-respectable four point losses to teams in the top six. And Vancouver has the largest margin of victory over any team in the top nine, having handed Seattle a 34-24 drubbing before the Cascades started their four game win streak.
8. New York Empire (4-2)
So far New York has beat teams in the bottom half of the league and lost to teams in the top half. Both of their losses came on the road, though, so the Empire have a chance to launch into a higher playoff spot if they can win when the Rush and Breeze come to New York.
9. Raleigh Flyers (4-3)
The Flyers are in the midst of a three game losing streak, which is never good. But one of those losses was to Dallas, and everybody loses to Dallas. The other two were by just one or two points on the road against strong playoff contenders. It may not be easy, but Raleigh still has a fairly direct path to the playoffs if it can take care of business at home.
10. Jacksonville Cannons (3-3)
It must be nice to have Mischa Freystaetter on your side. No team relies quite so much on its top trio to generate its offense: Freystaetter, Cole Sullivan, and Stephen Poulos lead the way. Those three have caught 43% of Jacksonville’s goals and thrown a ridiculous 64% of their assists. No other player on the team has completed 100 throws, while Freystaetter has thrown over 100 and Poulos and Sullivan have thrown about 200 each.
11. San Jose Spiders (1-3)
The Spiders have an underwhelming record, but the Spiders have yet to play a team outside of Seattle and San Francisco. San Jose is averaging an impressive 26 goals per game, and once the Spiders start to play teams outside the top six their wins will catch up with their talent.
12. Austin Sol (3-5)
Austin is coming off an impressive two game road trip, winning by seven in Nashville and then coming back to take down the Hustle in double overtime. Their 3-5 record isn’t indicative of how good this team is. Three of those losses came to Dallas, and the other two were by just one point on the road. With the schedule now getting easier, expect Austin to seriously enter the playoff conversation in a stacked south division.
13. Minnesota Wind Chill (6-1)
The Wind Chill have won the games they needed to over Indianapolis and Chicago to essentially lock up a playoff spot in mid May. Of course three of those wins were by just one point, and Minnesota’s one loss was by 14 to Madison. If the Wind Chill are going to be a true contender come playoff time rather than just happy to be there, they have a great opportunity to show it the next few weeks, with four of their next six games coming against Madison or Pittsburgh.
14. Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (4-2)
It’s difficult to ascertain where Pittsburgh is right now as a team. In the preseason they looked like the best challenge Madison has yet to face in the Midwest. But then they lost a home game to the Radicals. We haven’t seen Tyler Degirolamo play yet due to an injury, and it’s fair to question whether or not this team can really compete with Madison without him. Meanwhile the Thunderbirds went to Indianapolis without many of their best players and lost by eight, and haven’t yet beat a team outside perennial cellar dwellers Cincinnati and Detroit. There’s plenty of time to turn it around, but this team is facing more questions than originally anticipated.
15. Atlanta Hustle (4-3)
The Hustle are still technically in second place in the South. But what comes next? Atlanta has dropped games at home to both Austin and Nashville, and three of their four wins have come against Nashville and Charlotte. The second half of the season holds two games against Dallas, and five road games.
16. Indianapolis Alleycats (3-3)
It seemed like the world turned upside down when the AlleyCats got their first ever win over Pittsburgh this past weekend, winning 31-23. Of course Pittsburgh was playing without many of its best players. But that win still counts, and keeps their playoff hopes alive. Having been swept by Minnesota, the best chance for Indianapolis to get to the playoffs is to hope for a Pittsburgh collapse. That may be a long shot but the AlleyCats still control their own destiny, given that they still have two more chances to take the Thunderbirds down.
17. Los Angeles Aviators (1-3)
The Aviators forced an overtime game against San Francisco the first week of the season, and won at home against San Diego in week 2. But having lost in San Diego and by nine at home against Seattle since then, any good feelings have worn off. Add that Husayn Carnegie is now playing for the Cascades and it’s tough to see Los Angeles competing in the West.
18. San Diego Growlers (1-6)
The Growlers record doesn’t look pretty. That said, this team has a chance to put together a run. Their next three games are at home against Los Angeles, San Jose, and Vancouver — all winnable games. Even a three game win streak wouldn’t vault them into the playoff discussion, but it would be a big momentum shift for this team.
19. Chicago Wildfire (2-4)
This is not the same Chicago team as years past. Brett Matzuka and Jonathan Helton aren’t walking through that door. Chicago is young, exciting, and going to improve. It may just happen later in the season than they would have liked.
20. Charlotte Express (2-4)
The Express are on the periphery of the playoff discussion in the South. They can’t yet be counted out, but having already lost by five at home to Atlanta, it doesn’t seem like they’ll hang around for much longer. That could change if the Express extend Raleigh’s losing streak when the Flyers come to Charlotte this weekend.
21. Ottawa Outlaws (1-3)
Ottawa took care of business against Montreal for the fourth time in a row dating back to last year, but hasn’t yet given a good game to any of the top three teams in the division. There’s a big gap between the third and fourth best teams in the East, so while Ottawa may end up in fourth place at the end of the season, it won’t be much of a consolation prize.
22. Montreal Royal (2-4)
For the third season in a row, Montreal beat Toronto. But given that Toronto was missing most of its top talent and that win was bookended by a seven point loss in Ottawa and a five point loss at home to New York, it’s hard to put much stock in it.
23. Nashville Nightwatch (1-5)
The Nightwatch have had moments this year. An overtime win in Atlanta. A surprisingly close two point loss to Raleigh. But any momentum from those results was probably sapped by losing a very winnable home game against Charlotte.
24. Detroit Mechanix (2-4)
The Mechanix are no doubt improved this year, having already notched two wins against Cincinnati. The next step would be beating Cincinnati one last time on May 28, and getting just one more win against anybody else.
25. Cincinnati Revolution (0-8)
The Revolution have come very close to beating Detroit two different times, and have kept games against Chicago, Minnesota, and Indianapolis close late in the game. But all those games have ended in losses. Cincinnati can still avoid its first winless season in franchise history, but it’s starting to look increasingly likely.
26. Philadelphia Phoenix (0-4)
Three of Philadelphia’s losses have come at home, all by eight or nine points. The Phoenix have a couple more home games coming up, but it sure looks like they’re going to be outgunned and outmanned in this division.