The San Francisco Dogfish will play the third of four games this season against the Portland Stags this Sunday on their home field at Kezar Stadium. The series is currently tied, with Portland handing San Francisco its only loss of the season in their last meeting. The Dogfish feel that they let a winnable game slip away and look to make a statement on Sunday.

The Dogfish overall record is 4-1 and they appear to be on track to face the Seattle Rainmakers in the Western Conference Championships on June 29th. The 1-4 Stags would need to win all their remaining games and see an epic collapse by the competition to make the playoffs. The primary motivation for both teams this weekend will revolve around winning their season series.

The Dogfish won their home opener against the Stags 14-11, but were played tight by Portland for three quarters. A three-point outburst by the Dogfish in the beginning of the fourth was the difference in the game.

In the Dogfish loss to the Stags in Portland, the team was missing several players. San Francisco’s depth allowed them to hold a lead for most of the game, including a two-point cushion with three minutes to play, but the team could not prevail. A series of uncharacteristic turnovers by the Dogfish O line, combined with outstanding play by the Stags D led to a four-point run by the Stags. The final score was a frustrating 19-18 San Francisco defeat.

The Stags know that they match up well against the Dogfish and would like to prove that their win was earned and not the result of a couple of lucky breaks. The Dogfish, on the other hand, were stung by the defeat and would like to make clear that they are the dominant team.

The Dogfish game plan will include continued use and development of their deep roster, the team’s greatest strength. The Dogfish will run multiple defensive lines against Portland, and expect to see scoring runs go San Francisco’s way as the game wears on. The Dogfish may also switch defensive schemes to test the effectiveness of strategies against the Portland style of play. Portland shares a reliance on inside break-mark throws with Seattle, and Coach Justin Safdie would like to identify tactics that will work against the Rainmakers.

For the Stags to win they have to repeat their performance from the victory in Portland. They need to keep the game close and use their athleticism to step up the pressure at the end of the game.

The Stags will rely heavily on the play of star Timmy Perston, one of the league’s leading scorers. Perston burned the Dogfish for seven goals in the Stags win, despite the Dogfish keying on keeping him out of the end-zone. One-man highlight reel Andrew Hagen had his moments playing D against Perston in Portland, and this week his efforts will be bolstered by the return of defensive star Martin Cochran.

This is the second-to-last home game for the Dogfish, and promises to be a great event. The theme is “Promoting Women in Sports.” Halftime will feature a women’s rugby demonstration by Berkeley All Blues women’s rugby club, and the Bay Area Breeze women’s professional soccer team will play the Colorado Rush following the ultimate game. One ticket buys entrance to both the Ultimate and  soccer showdowns.

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