As the first half of the season has come and gone, three titans have emerged in the MLU.
Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle have distinguished themselves as the premier teams in the league. With wins in each of their week five matches, these three teams have made it nearly impossible for their competition to pass them in the standings.
Luckily for the struggling Eastern Conference teams, the second playoff spot is still completely up for grabs. The Rumble are becoming the favorites after a nice win against the Spinners in week four, and against the Current last weekend.
1. Boston Whitecaps (5-0): The Whitecaps keep barreling through their opponents. They have essentially locked up the top playoff spot in the East, by continuing to demolish teams with their dynamic offensive attack. With a total of 105 goals, 21 per game, the Whitecaps have yet to face a defense that can contain them. While the Spinners gave them a scare (tied after three quarters), Boston took control late, and remains the only undefeated team in the MLU. They do have a back to back this weekend against the Spinners and Rumble, so fatigue could play a factor. Last Week: 1
2. San Francisco Dogfish (4-1): The reinforcements arrived just in time for the Dogfish. After a disappointing loss to the winless Stags, San Francisco returned home with a renewed roster against the surging and underrated Nighthawks. The result was a resounding and impressive 23-13 victory. The 10-point margin was by far their largest of the season. Among the stars that returned from a training camp in Moscow, Martin Cocoran had a huge game, leading the Dogfish with five goals. Although they are heading into a bye this weekend, they will undoubtedly be keeping tabs on the Rainmakers/Nighthawks matchup. Last Week: 2
3. Seattle Rainmakers (4-1): Fully aware of what happened to the Dogfish in week four, the Rainmakers were focused and prepared for their match against the Stags. In true Seattle fashion, they jumped out to a big early lead in the first half and coasted in the second half, leading to a 19-14 win. Their fast-paced offense was simply too much for the Stags to handle, and at times it looked almost impossible to defend. However, despite the win, it seems that they still have not treated their second-half issues, and they will be exposed if they continue late into the season or into the playoffs. The Rainmakers will cross the border this weekend to face the Nighthawks, and hopefully they can stop the second-half bleeding. Last Week: 3
4. New York Rumble (2-3): The Rumble have started playing their best Ultimate in the last two weeks, and have slipped into the second playoff spot in the east. In front of a hefty crowd donned in black shirts for “blackout” night, the action was back and forth for most of the game. The two teams traded points, until a huge grab from Lucas Murphy swung the momentum in New York’s favor. The catch was not only at a pivotal moment, but it also landed on ESPN’s Top 10. However, the Rumble might not be able to hold onto the second seed for long, since Boston is coming to town, and their rivals are poised to remain undefeated. Last Week: 6
5. Philadelphia Spinners (2-3): The Spinners, behind a valiant effort from many of their players including star Sean Murray, did everything they could to try to limit the torrid Whitecaps offense. While the game was tied through the first three quarters, Boston pulled ahead in the fourth, and the Spinners lost their third game in a row. With the loss, they have fallen behind the Rumble in the standings (same record but higher point differential), and thus out of a playoff spot. They will look to turn it around this weekend in Philadelphia in a rematch with the Whitecaps. Last Week: 5
6. Vancouver Nighthawks (2-4): After the blowout loss the Nighthawks suffered in San Francisco last weekend, they have dug themselves into a very deep hole. Unfortunately, they were missing two of their stars in the critical match, handler Oscar Pottinger and defensive star Morgan Hibbert. With the loss, they are now 2.5 games back of both the Rainmakers and Dogfish with only four games left to play (including two games against Seattle). Most likely, if the Nighthawks don’t win the rest of their games, they will not be able to knock out either powerhouse nor sneak into the playoffs. Last Week: 4
7. DC Current (1-4): The Current has simply struggled on the offensive end. While their defense has been able to keep games close (except week four versus the Whitecaps), they have been unable to maintain a consistent attack and it is costing them tight matches. Luckily, even though they are in the basement of the conference, they are only one game back of both the Spinners and Rumble for the second Eastern playoff spot. So with five left to play, the Current are still very much in contention for the playoffs. Last Week: 8
8. Portland Stags (1-5): Hoping to ride the momentum after their win against the Dogfish, the Stags failed to take down the equally tough Rainmakers. They are still barely holding onto playoff hopes, but with four games remaining, three against the top Western Conference teams, the Stags should now look to play the role of spoiler. If they can upset either the Rainmakers or the Dogfish (again) in one of these games down the stretch, they might be able to shake up the standings. Also, the upcoming games will allow them to develop their bright stars, like the league’s leading scorer Timmy Perston. Last Week: 7