This afternoon the San Francisco Dogfish face the Portland Stags for the second week in a row. After a disappointing 18-16 loss in overtime last week, the Dogfish are ready to turn things around.
Comparing their 1-3 record to the Stags, who are 2-0, the Dogfish seem an unlikely candidate for an upset. But the Stags were an equally unlikely prospect when they beat the Dogfish in game four in 2013.
This season all of the pieces of the Dogfish offense have been present, but only partially assembled. Last Saturday’s game showed the team had gained a lot more cohesion and, frankly, was having a lot more fun than in previous games.
Dogfish team captain Evan Boucher leads the league in assists with 14, and James Yeager, winner of last week’s Innova Pulsar Throw of the Week, has added a balance of steadfast handling and showmanship to the Dogfish offensive line. The anticipated return of veteran Drew Kim will add extra energy to the Dogfish quest for a comeback this weekend.
The Stags struggled in 2013 but seem to have found their groove in 2014. With their win over San Francisco last weekend, Portland has shown they can, indeed, play competitively without star Timmy Perston. Look for Eli Friedman, Breeze Strout and Mark Burton to have a big hand in the Stags’ offensive play on Saturday.
San Francisco’s defense has consistently been a game-changer. First-year Fish Evan Brydon leads the league in defense and the Dogfish double-team continues to be an effective tool in the team’s arsenal.
Second-year Stag Cody Bjorklund led his team on defensive plays last weekend, but it was defensive cutter Topher Davis who led the team in assists, marking him as one for the Dogfish to watch.
Unfortunately for the Dogfish, they’re experiencing a bit of deja vu from two weeks ago. They’ll be on the road again for yet another double-header and down nine players. Absences include Aaron Caulfield, who is second in the league for goals scored and led the team on defensive plays last weekend. Also missing is Mac Taylor, who led the team in assists and overall points last weekend.
But the Dogfish have never shied away from a challenge, and their synergy is on the rise. As Head Coach Justin Safdie said this week in response to the MLU Power Rankings, “I believe we’re a better team than our record shows, and we plan on turning things around.”
The Dogfish controlled the first three quarters of last weekend’s game against the Stags. All they have to do this weekend is deliver on the fourth.
If you will be in Portland to see the action firsthand at Doc Harris Stadium, buy your tickets here. Otherwise, join your fellow Fish Faithful at Glen Park Station to watch the MLU Live stream and cheer the Dogfish on to victory!