By Samantha Blair | 6/13/14 4:00 PM
New York Lizards at Denver Outlaws
Saturday, June 14 – 9:00 PM ET – Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High
Last Time Out
New York: The Lizards (3-3) suffered their third loss 8-11 last weekend against the Florida Launch. New York struggled to execute on the attack and their defense was no match for Florida’s strong offensive pressure. However, while their goals weren’t numerous, the first seven points by the Lizards were made by different athletes.
Denver: The Outlaws’ victorious reign came to end this weekend in a battle against the Hounds. After their loss two weeks ago against Denver, Charlotte came back ready to go. Outdoing the Outlaws in every offensive category, the Hounds won 18-15, tarnishing Denver’s perfect record (5-1).
Cleaning Up: Both teams from last weekend’s games are coming off of disappointing losses. While the Outlaws may hold a better season record, there was a common theme in both of last weekend’s stories. The Lizards flopped against the Launch because of their inability to execute on the attack, unnecessary turnovers, and causing penalties out of desperation. The Outlaws couldn’t keep their cool either against the Hounds. Denver was beat in every offensive category, an unusual circumstance for a usually dominant team. They also suffered from too many turnovers, an uncharacteristic trait for the Outlaws. It will be interesting to see who cleans up their game this week, and who will get stuck in the dust.
X Marks the Spot: Despite their first loss of the season, it’s fair to say that the Outlaws are used to being the top dog in the league. For many teams, their statistics alone would indicate the unlikeliness of upsetting Denver’s success. However, after the Hounds stepped up last game, the Outlaws realized they are not as indestructible as they thought. This week one of Denver’s biggest challenges will come at center field on the X. New York’s Greg Gurenlian is the top faceoff specialist in the league, with 97-160 wins. He is only five draws from his two-thousandth attempt. With Outlaws’ Anthony Kelly, the all time leader in faceoff wins and currently third in the league for wins, the X is sure to be a hot spot in this weekend’s game.
All Star Matchup: The upcoming All-Star game has taken the best of the best from the MLL in hopes to give Team USA a run for their money in a couple of weeks. The midfield in particular is comprised of a surprising number of Denver and New York players. The All-Star team will feature long stick midfielder Michael Simon, midfielder Jeremy Sieverts, and faceoff specialist Anthony Kelly from the Outlaws alongside defensive midfielders Kevin Unterstein and Steve DeNapoli from the Lizards. While the midfield will be stacked for the All-Star game, the matchup will be a tough one this weekend.
Players to Watch:
New York: Now in his second season with the Lizards, midfielder David Earl has a lot to live up to after last year. By the end of the 2013 season, Earl claimed third on his team for goals and overall points, fourth for assists, and fourth for ground balls. After his two goals against the Launch last week, we suspect Earl has found his groove, and will use his momentum to bring home a win this weekend.
Denver: Selected in the 2012 expansion draft, Curtis Dickson played his first game with the Outlaws last weekend. After scoring four goals and one assist against the Hounds, Dickson extinguished any doubts of his abilities and proved he has place on the already strong offense. As the Outlaws attempt to redeem their loss this week, the Lizards will have to add Dickson to their list of dangerous Outlaws to defend.
Rob Pannell is tied for fifth in the league for overall points, and leads the Lizards with eleven goals and eight assists. On the defensive end, Greg Gurenlian continues to dominate the faceoff, winning 97 of 160 this season. He also leads the team with 44 ground balls.
Denver: Eric Law is third in the league for points (25), with seventeen goals and eight assists. Jeremy Sieverts is tied for fifth with nineteen points. Anthony Kelly is fourth in the league with 85-155 faceoffs, and both Kelly (29) and Matt Bocklet (27) lead the team for ground balls.
2013 Season Series:
Last year in the midst of their flawless regular season, Denver dominated New York in both games. On the Fourth of July the Outlaws destroyed the Lizards in front of over 30,000 fans, winning 16-7 in the most highly attended MLL game ever at the Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Then, Denver did again, beating New York 13-10 on August 4th.
New York: Greg Gurenlian is five faceoffs away from his 2,000th attempt
Denver: The Outlaws have never lost a home game to the Lizards.
Root on your favorite team as they battle it out at the Sport Authority Field at Mile High. Keep warm on those cool summer nights in a Locker Room Hoodie with your team’s logo! Get yours here, or check out the rest of our great merchandise in the MLL Shop.
Can’t make it? Then tune in to ESPN3 Saturday, June 14th at 9:00 p.m. (ET) as the Denver Outlaws face off against the New York Lizards at the Sports Authority field at Mile High.
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.