Later today the San Francisco Dogfish (1-1) meet the Seattle Rainmakers (0-2) on Seattle’s home field at Rainier Beach Stadium. This will be the first matchup of 2015 between the two teams.
By the Numbers
The Rainmakers had 10 players return from last year and first-year player Mark Burton return after a year playing with Portland. Seattle’s first game this season was a 21-12 loss to the Portland Stags, suggesting they needed some time to gel as a team. Yet the following week they only lost to the Vancouver Nighthawks 22-20.
In addition to Burton, who is currently second in the league for points (14) and leads his team in assists (6), the Rainmakers will probably be looking to second-year players Henry Phan (5 assists) and Eddie Feeley, who leads the team in blocks (3), plus rookie Jeff Pape, who is second on the team for points (7) and tied with Burton for goals (6).
The Dogfish are facing the Rainmakers with a 1-1 record. After a 15-14 win over Vancouver in the first week, they lost a tough 15-12 matchup at home last week against Portland. While their defense remains their strong suit, their offense shows some hiccups in consistency.
Today the Dogfish face some additional challenges: playing on the road and playing without veterans Drew Kim, James Pollard, Sam Adamson and rookie defensive breakout Andrew Goldstein. They will, however, have David Abram, who has had an explosive return to the team after a hiatus last year and is in a four-way tie for second in the league for blocks (4), and Andrew Hooker, who is tied with Adamson and Goldstein for blocks (2). On offense, San Francisco will rely on Evan Boucher, who leads the team in points (5) and assists (4) and 2015 team captain Jackson Stearns, who is tied for second in points (4) and blocks (2).
Working the Win
The Dogfish have shown they can hang with the conference-leading Stags. Their defense remains strong, they just need consistent conversions. It was what plagued them last season, but they’ve already shown this year that they’re rapidly moving toward a more cohesive unit. If they can stick to their swing game and not buy into the desperate pace the Rainmakers have shown at times in their recent matchups, the Dogfish can take the victory in this away game and continue their challenge for leader of the conference.
The Rainmakers looked outpaced in their game against the Stags and more evenly matched in their game against the Nighthawks. They can expect a controlled game against the Dogfish, somewhere between the pace of their last two games. But even with their home-field advantage, if the Rainmakers can’t force the Dogfish out of their comfort zone, then steady San Francisco play will win this race.
The game starts at 1:30 p.m. PST. Follow the action on Twitter and be sure to check back here for the game recap, photos and video.