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PREVIEW: Florida at Denver

March 18, 2016
  Florida Launch at Denver Outlaws

Sunday, July 20 — 3:00 PM ET — Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Watch: CBS Sports Network

Game Notes: Florida - Denver

The Florida Launch (4-6) will be looking to avenge their Week 1 loss to the Outlaws (7-3) and get their season back on track. Denver, finding themselves on a rare 2-game losing streak, will try to redeem themselves in front of their home crowd.

Last Time Out

Florida: The Launch dropped their fourth consecutive game, falling 20-11 to the New York Lizards. Florida struggled to contain the explosive New York offense, as four different Lizards recorded hat tricks. On the other end of the field, Casey Powell had another strong night, scoring three goals and adding two assists, while recent addition Stephen Keogh continued to impress, notching three goals of his own.

Denver: Although they had the support of a season-high 29,718 fans, the Outlaws couldn’t pull out the win over the Boston Cannons on July 4. Denver fought to keep the game close, but fell short in the final quarter, ultimately losing 17-13. Eric Law led the Outlaws with four goals and an assist, while Jeremy Sieverts and Zack Greer each added three goals.

Three Storylines

Trying for a Turnaround: The week off for World Championships couldn’t have come at a better time for the Launch and the Outlaws, as both teams will enter the game on a losing streak. They’ll each look to start fresh and begin the season’s final stretch on a high note. Many of the players will be coming into the matchup with extra rest and preparation; on the other hand, both Denver and Florida were well represented at Worlds, which might mean that some of their standouts will be either unavailable or, if they do play, at less than full strength.

New Faces: The Launch made headlines near the trade deadline with their deal that sent Kevin Crowley to the Chesapeake Bayhawks. In return, Florida picked up three midfielders that could be key to their late season success: David Earl, Steven Brooks, and Jon Hayes. The new additions could debut with the Launch this weekend, and Florida is hoping that they’ll be able to help the team finally pick up their fifth win.

Outlaws in Goal: Statistically, Denver goalie Jesse Schwartzman’s last MLL game was one of his roughest outings of the year, as he gave up 17 goals to Boston. If Schwartzman, also a member of Team USA, plays this week, look for him to bounce back and have a strong performance in the net. On the other hand, if the Outlaws need to go to their backup, Charlie Cipriano, they should still be in good hands. During Cipriano’s last appearance, he had ten saves and held the Rattlers to just five goals in 26 minutes.      

Players to Watch

Florida: Standout rookie Kieran McArdle continues to be a major part of the Launch offense. He is currently second on the team with 20 goals, despite not joining the MLL until Week 3. He also leads the Launch with 48 shots on goal. In Florida’s last game, he was held to just one goal and one assist, so he’ll be looking to rebound with a big game this week.

Denver: Midfielder Drew Snider is coming off a season-high four-goal game, and he’ll be carrying that momentum into this weekend’s matchup. Snider, who was second on the team with 46 points and 31 goals last year, has been a consistent source of offense for the Outlaws all season, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

Statistical Leaders

Florida: Casey Powell leads the Launch in points (46), goals (22), and assists (24). He also has a team-best shooting percentage of .537. Defensively, faceoff specialist Chris Mattes continues to lead the team in ground balls, with 62. Veteran goalie Brett Queener has played in nine of the team’s ten games, and has amassed 118 saves and a 12.64 goals against average in that time.

Denver: Sophomore star Eric Law has been on fire all season, and he currently leads the Outlaws with 41 points and 29 goals. John Grant, Jr. has a team-high 15 assists on the season. Jeremy Sieverts leads the team– and the league– with six 2-point goals. Anthony Kelly has a team-best 47 ground balls this year, although Matt Bocklet isn’t far behind, with 41 GBs.

2014 Season Series:

These two teams began the season against one another, and thanks to the Outlaws, Florida’s first game in club history was a 14-10 loss. It was a tale of two halves, as Denver ended the second quarter with an incredible 11-1 lead. However, the Launch came storming back after halftime, scoring seven unanswered. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough for the win, but that near-comeback was an impressive opening statement for the league’s newest team.

Fun Facts:

Denver hasn’t lost three consecutive games since July 2011, when they dropped four straight.

The Launch’s only 2-point goal of the season came against the Outlaws in Week 1, from midfielder Josh Amidon.

Heading to the Game?

If you’re going to Mile High to cheer on the Outlaws, make sure to get this sweet Denver snapback from our MLL Shop before you go! Get yours here or by clicking the image to the right.