As expected, our rankings have shifted considerably following last week’s results.
The reigning number-one team, the Philadelphia Spinners, fell in their home opener to the reenergized DC Current, leaving the top spot up for grabs. In San Francisco, a heated matchup between two Western Conference titans determined which team would fill the vacancy and catapult to number one.
Which team do you think deserves to be first in the rankings?
1. San Francisco Dogfish (3-0): After an inspiring comeback victory against the Rainmakers, the Dogfish have propelled themselves into the top spot. The ‘fish were shorthanded, playing without stars Kittredge, Taylor, Cochran, and Joye, but came together in the second half and played impeccable Ultimate. Give some of the credit to a clever coaching staff, which made a couple of great decisions at halftime, including switching to a vertical stack and a zone defense, opening the field up, and shutting down the Seattle offense. The Dogfish travel up to Portland this week, and look to stay undefeated against a scuffling Stags squad. Last Week: 2
2. Boston Whitecaps (3-0): Also undefeated after their victory in New York, the Whitecaps proved that they deserve to be called “the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.” They have scored 19.6 goals per game, making them the highest-powered offense in the league. Their defense has been shaky at times, but it looked solid late in the game last week, and they were able widen their lead to six goals by the final whistle. In two weeks, the Spinners travel to Boston in what should be a hard-fought and pivotal matchup. Last Week: 4
3. Seattle Rainmakers (2-1): The Rainmakers let one slip through their fingers this week in San Francisco, but expect them to learn quickly from the heartbreaking loss. They played nearly flawless offense and dominant defense in the first half, limiting the ‘fish to only 5 goals by halftime. However, they were unable to adapt to a zone defense in the second half, allowing San Francisco to strike and take control of the game. If they can extend their first-half play and adjust to different schemes, they have the talent to compete for the top seed in the West. Last Week: 3
4. Philadelphia Spinners (2-1): The Spinners have tumbled down in the rankings after a disappointing homecoming loss against the Current. After a couple of close victories on the road, the Spinners looked poised to have a strong home debut, but instead the Current exposed their weaknesses. They looked drained by the end of the game, and had trouble connecting on hucks downfield. Nevertheless, expect the Spinners to quickly rebound next week against an overmatched Rumble defense. Also, if there is anything positive the Spinners can take away from the loss, they did make ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10 with this play by Sean Murray (Ultiworld). Last Week: 1
5. Vancouver Nighthawks (2-2): The Nighthawks are ascending in the win column, and might start to make Seattle and San Francisco fans nervous. However, they need to improve their defense, especially against hucks. After last week’s game against the Stags, Coach/GM Andrew Lugsdin remarked, “[Portland] had their deep game humming and we were beaten on a ridiculous number of hucks.” If they are unable to tighten up their downfield defense, they might remain stagnant in the 3rd spot in the West. But, even if their two wins so far have been against the reeling Stags, their dynamic offense looked legitimate last Saturday in Portland. Expect them to ride that offense and continue to pose a threat to the top two teams. Last Week: 5
6. DC Current (1-2): Last week, Current head coach Keven Moldenhauer made a prediction. “I’ll tell you this, we are not going to go 0-3.” Not only was he right, his confidence finally seemed to rally his squad last week. Although they ended the first half down by one goal to the Spinners, the Current capitalized on timely turnovers in the second half and finished with a convincing 18-15 victory. They have now scored more goals than the Spinners, Dogfish, and Rainmakers over the short season. If they can get some more strong defensive play from stars like Ryan Todd, who was declared the “MVP” of the game by Moldenhauer because of his pressure on dump passes, the Current could keep rising. Last Week: 7
7. New York Rumble (0-3): New York was overwhelmed by Boston’s daunting offense last Saturday. While they have showed flashes of a well-balanced offense at times, on the defensive side they have struggled immensely. They have given up 19.3 goals per game, which is a league-worst through the first three games, a number they will need to trim if they are going to climb back in the Eastern standings. Last Week: 6
8. Portland Stags (0-4): The Stags need to quickly revamp their game plan if they are going to have any chance at knocking the top teams in the West out of the playoffs. They continue to struggle late into games, and gave up 24 goals against the Nighthawks. It didn’t help that they were missing ten players from their 25-man roster, but they looked fatigued in the second half. If they don’t steal one from the Dogfish this weekend in Portland, the Stags will have a steep uphill climb for any playoff hopes. Last Week: 8