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Toronto Nationals Week 5 Preview

6/10/10 2:42 PM

Toronto Nationals Week 5 Preview


 

Toronto Week 5 Preview

Redmond Zmudzien

The Toronto Nationals return to action this Saturday after suffering a heart breaking, last second loss last weekend to the Chicago Machine.  The Nationals lost 14-13 to Chicago on a buzzer beating two point goal from Brett Garber.  Leading by one with under a minute to go the Nationals needed to carry the ball over and kill the clock, but they turned it over in the Chicago end.  Chicago midfielder Matt Streibel scooped it up and ran for the net, launching a shot that sailed high.  However, the Machine retained possession with three seconds remaining on the clock.  After a timeout, on the restart a Machine player found Garber at the top right behind the two point arc.  Garber received the pass and unloaded a shot just as time expired, which beat goalie Brett Queener for the dramatic Chicago win. 

“We should have never put ourselves in the spot to only be up by one at that stage of the game,” said Toronto head coach Dave Huntley.  “We had plenty of chances to be up by a lot more, but did not capitalize.”

 

While the Nationals are now 0-4 after yet another loss, aside from turnover problems they played a strong game.  Possession is something Huntley had been preaching all week leading up to the game, but a few costly turnovers ended up burning his team in the end.  Huntley didn’t seem overly concerned though, as long as they retain more possessions in the future they’ll be fine he said. 

However, being 0-4 doesn’t bode well for Toronto’s playoff chances as the Nationals now sit in last place.  They are three games out of the playoff hunt and will need a lot to fall their way from here on out if they hope to return to the postseason.

The Nationals reloaded at Sunday’s Collegiate Draft as they picked up key players, most notably standout Notre Dame goalie Scott Rodgers and Syracuse attackman Cody Jamieson.  Rodgers is a big, strong, physical goalie that can step in and set the tone for a team when on the field.  Rodgers figures to most likely split time in cage with Queener, it remains to be seen who will take duties in which half though.  Jamieson will bring to the Nationals something they’ve lacked at times this year; scoring.  Jamieson is a pure scorer and is described as a “finisher” by Huntley; a huge addition for a team that has missed a lot of chances on net.  However, it will take more than just the efforts of a couple to get the Nationals on track.

“I don’t think it would be fair to the players we drafted or the players who are on our roster to suggest that the new players’ efforts alone will get us in the win column,” Huntley said.  “It will take everyone making a good effort to get a win this week.”

 

The Nationals get back in action Saturday June 12 when they host the Chesapeake Bayhawks at Lamport Stadium.  Last time the two teams squared off, Chesapeake went off for 25 goals against Toronto.  Huntley seemed confident in his approach to this weekend’s rematch, saying he learned much from his team’s previous mistakes.

“Hopefully we will do a lot of things differently; we were outcoached and outplayed in every facet of the game,” he said.  “I think we will respond well.”

 

The Nationals will need to keep more Bayhawks off the board this week if they hope to get their first win.  Chesapeake is 3-1 and in a three-way tie for first place with Denver and Chicago. 

Peet Poillon leads the Bayhawks into Toronto, holding the label as the MLL’s leading scorer with 22 points through four games.  Poillon is a dangerous player, playing in his first full season the UMBC midfielder has exploded onto the scene with 12 goals and nine assists. 

Toronto will also have to be aware of midfielder Kyle Dixon who is just as dangerous, with 17 points on the year.  Dixon toasted the Nationals for seven points in the last matchup.  The Nationals will need to keep a body on Dixon at all times, especially when behind the two point arc.  Dixon has become known for his willingness to pull the trigger from deep.  He’s even been nicknamed Reggie Miller by teammates for his sharpshooting from behind the arc.  The midfielder already has five two-pointers on the season and he’ll be gunning for more Saturday night. 

“They have a lot of dangerous guys so we will do our best to limit all of them,” Huntley said.

The Nationals have many solid efforts this season, but nothing concrete.  They have failed to put all the necessary aspects of one game together.  At times they have played stout defense, while other times the goaltending has carried them, but there has been something lacking each week.  Heading into their fifth game, Huntley and the Nationals believe they are getting stronger and may finally be in line to get back in the playoff chase. 

Toronto’s game can be seen live Saturday June 12 on ESPN3 at 7 p.m.  It can also be seen live on TSN2 and Cox Sports Rhode Island.  Cox Sports New Orleans will have the game on tape delay Sunday June 13 at 12 p.m. CT.  The matchup will also be shown June 14 on Comcast Sports Mid Atlantic and Brighthouse Sports at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. respectively.

 

2010 Major League Lacrosse Championship Weekend presented by Warrior
August 21-22, Annapolis, MD
For information and tickets go to www.majorleaguelacrosse.com



Related Articles:

Date Title
06/17/2010 Top 10 Plays from Week 5
06/17/2010 John Tucker Post-Game Interview
06/17/2010 Kyle Dixon and Michael Kimmel Post-Game Interviews
06/17/2010 Dave Huntley and Cody Jamieson Post-Game
06/14/2010 MLL Announces Week 5 Award Winners
06/12/2010 Live Blog: Bayhawks vs Nationals
06/09/2010 Bayhawks Week 5 Preview
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