Later today the Dogfish play the Rainmakers at Renton Memorial Stadium. It’s the third and final regular-season game between the two teams.

The Dogfish beat the Rainmakers in a season opener at home, 18-16, then lost to the Rainmakers on a road trip the following week, 21-20 in overtime.

What they have
Despite missing a huge chunk of their roster, including Mac Taylor, Taylor Grant, Aaron Caulfield and team captain Evan Boucher, the Dogfish bring a lot of capable talent to the table. Last year they were known for having a deep roster and that tradition continues this season. The Dogfish also have a strong pack defense they’ve used to great effect this season.

The Rainmakers are also missing key players, including throwers Mario O’Brien and Adam Simon and scorers Khalif El-Salaam and Sam Harkness. But they also have some aces up their sleeve, like Isaac Entz, who came down with their long throws in the last game against the Dogfish, Danny Trytiak, who leads the Rainmakers in points and goals, and Tommy Rosatto, who tore up the field in the teams’ last matchup.

What they need
The Dogfish have to dig deep after their loss yesterday to the Portland Stags. In their last on-the-road double-header they flagged on day two and the Vancouver Nighthawks secured a crushing 26-15 win. Although they’ve gotten better on their defensive conversions, the Dogfish need to keep a steady course on offense when things get high-pressure, and not feed into their opponent’s rushed play or huck mentality.

On defense, the Dogfish need to tighten their initial man-to-man matchups and be quicker on transitions if the zone or double-team doesn’t force a turn. Yesterday, Portland took advantage of open men on short throws that marched them up the field, and long throws to receivers left open deep. Seattle will be no different today.

The Rainmakers need to find ways to operate well without their big names on offense. Seattle played zone against San Francisco in their last game and, without the tricky winds the Dogfish are used to at home, they worked through the defense pretty easily. Given their tough game yesterday, Seattle may not want to give San Francisco too many opportunities to rest.

What we’ll see
Look for a more controlled Dogfish offense as the team builds on the connections it’s been creating, and Head Coach Justin Safdie pulls in the reins on the big throwaway plays we saw yesterday. Expect the team to use their pernicious double-team to great advantage, particularly with the absence of Simon and O’Brien. And watch for more great plays from Sam Adamson, Drew Kim and James Pollard.

Look for the Rainmakers to rely heavily on Trytiak, Entz and Rosatto on offense, and Henry Phan on defense. Expect Seattle to be a little less patient as they try to prepare for the traditional Dogfish second-half assault by banking more points earlier in the game.

The game starts at 1 pm PT. If you will be in the Seattle area, don’t miss it—buy your tickets here.

Fans can also follow the live Twitter feed, live scoring on the MLU site and/or look for Rapid Reactions and full recaps shortly after the game.

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