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PREVIEW: Florida at Charlotte

March 18, 2016
Florida Launch at Charlotte Hounds

Saturday, June 14 – 7:00 p.m. (ET) – American Legion Memorial Stadium, Charlotte, NC


Games Notes: FloridaCharlotte

The Florida Launch (4-2) look to take the 2014 season series sweep vs. the Charlotte Hounds (2-4); the Launch won the first meeting 11-8 on May 3, in Boca Raton, FL.

Last Time Out:

Florida: The Launch defeated the New York Lizards (3-3) 11-8. The Launch started the game quickly and led the Lizards 5-1 early in the second quarter. The Lizards were unable to establish consistent offensive production against the stout Launch defense. The Launch offense, led by Kieran McArdle (4g,1a), Casey Powell (2g,2a) and Jordan Hall (2g,1a) controlled the pace of play and extended the Florida lead to 5 goals by the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Launch held off a late Lizards push for the comeback to secure the victory.

Charlotte: The Hounds defeated the Denver Outlaws (5-1) 18-15, to snap the Outlaws MLL record 25 regular season game winning streak and avenge a 13-11 loss in Denver the week before. Eight different players scored goals for the Hounds, including three tallies from Captain Matt Danowski, Ryan Young and John Haus. Despite considerably less time of possession, the Outlaws utilized a fast transitional attack to tie the game 12-12 in the fourth quarter, however the Hounds responded with goals from six different players to regain control and win the game.

Three Storylines:

Young Bloods: Both Florida and Charlotte feature some of the top young players in the MLL. Kiernan McArdle leads all rookies in scoring with 12 goals in his first four games. McArdle was named the Cascade Rookie of the Week in Week 4 after his 5 goal performance in the Launch’s victory over Chesapeake. Justin Ward has only played two games for the Hounds, however he has identical performances on the stat sheet in both contests with 1 goal, 3 assists; for an impressive 8 points to start his career. He is the quarterback of the Hounds offense and natural ball distributor. Ward was named the Cascade Rookie of the Week this past Monday for his performance in the Hounds victory over the Outlaws. These two players will likely vie for the Rookie of the Year award in late August, but will first face each other on Saturday evening.

Elder Statesmen: The Florida-Charlotte match-up features two prolific veteran goal scorers, Casey Powell and 2014 MLL All-Star Matt Danowski. The 38 year-old Powell holds the MLL points record (434) and leads the Launch with 13 goals and 16 assists this season. Danowski, recently named to his 5 th All-Star team, has scored more than 30 points in each of his seven years playing in the MLL. He is currently 2 scores away from reaching the 150 goal mark in his career. While Powell continues to dominate opposing defenders, Danowski has appeared to have lost a step of quickness this season. Regardless, both Powell and Danowski are the leaders of their respective teams and will be relied upon in order to earn a victory.

Trouble at the X: Florida has struggled winning faceoffs this season with their primary faceoff midfielder Christopher Mattes winning only 47% of the draws (70-for-153). In their first matchup on May 3rd, the Hounds’ Tim Fallon had a career day and dominated the X winning 15 of 23 draws. Look for Mattes to rebound in the rematch Saturday. If he continues to struggle winning possession the Launch will be fighting an uphill battle to defeat the Hounds.

Players to Watch:

Florida: Garrett Thul, Attack: Thul is enjoying a breakout season for the Launch scoring 11 goals in five games played, including two game-winners. Thul, standing at 6’3”, 230 lbs, is natural scorer and has a commanding physical presence on the field. He will play for Team USA in the 2014 MLL All-Star Game on June 26 th at Harvard Stadium. Thul has enjoyed success in Florida playing along side playmakers Casey Powell and Kiernan McArdle. The trio is one of the most dangerous and balanced attack lines in the MLL.

Charlotte: Mike Chanenchuk, Midfield: The rookie played his first game for the Hounds Week 6 against the Outlaws and quickly made his presence known scoring 2 goals. Chanenchuk, a three time USILA All-American during his collegiate career at the University of Maryland, is a dual threat as a shooter and feeder. He poses a match-up nightmare for opposing defenders and is a critical player for the Hounds offensive success.

Statistical Leaders:

Florida: At attack, Casey Powel leads the Launch in goals (13), assists (16) and shooting percentage (50%). He also leads all Launch offensive players scooping up 9 groundballs. Powell is the quarterback of the Florida offense and is averaging nearly five points per game.

Charlotte: LSM Mason Poli has an impressive 57% shooting percentage. Poli has taken just 7 shots this season yet has netted 4 goals, including two 2pt tallies. The long pole leads the Hounds in goals scored beyond the arc as well.

2013 Season Series:

This is the Florida Launch’s first season playing in the MLL; they replaced the Hamilton Nationals who decided not to participate in the 2014 MLL Season.

Fun Facts:

·         Ryan Young has scored a point in 23 consecutive games for the Hounds.

·         The Launch have scored at least 10 goals in every game this season.

·         Ryan Flanagan will make his third straight MLL All-Star appearance on June 26 th; he currently leads the Hounds with 25 groundballs.

Heading to the game?:

Charlotte fans, support one of your four All-Stars by getting this Matt Danowski shirt from the MLL Shop before heading to the game on Saturday. It's available in both adult and youth sizes. Get yours here or by clicking the image to the right.

All-Star Game:

And don't forget the MLL All-star Game featuring Team MLL taking on Team USA is only 13 days away on Thursday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Historic Harvard Stadium. Tickets for the event can be found HERE.