Photo Credit: Michael Bury
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This weekend the Los Angeles Aviators head to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Vancouver Riptide and Seattle Cascades for their last road trip of the 2016 AUDL season.
The playoff picture with three weeks left in the season is still incredibly muddled for the West division. The San Francisco FlameThrowers (9-3) maintain the position they’ve had all season at the top of the standings. They finish their season with two home games, against the San Jose Spiders (4-7) and San Diego Growlers (1-9). The Seattle Cascades (8-4) are hot on their heels, with home games against the Aviators and Riptide to close out their season. Vancouver (6-5) is currently in third, with three remaining games: At home against L.A. this weekend, then back-to-back road games in Los Angeles and Seattle to finish. Los Angeles (5-5) has the most remaining games (4), with the road trip this weekend followed by finishing the last two games back home against Vancouver next week and San Diego in the season finale. San Jose has not yet been eliminated by virtue of complicated tie-breaking scenarios. They finish by hosting San Diego, traveling to San Diego, and going to San Francisco. They have to win all three, and need specific kinds of help from L.A. and Vancouver to slide past both of them.
First pull for Los Angeles at Vancouver’s Swangard Stadium is at 6:00 pm Saturday evening. Their only meeting so far this season was last week’s 31-24 Aviator victory. Highlight Video. Los Angeles hopes to keep their offensive resurgence during the middle part of the season going, and intend to avoid any late-game circumstance resembling the disappointment of last season’s visit to Vancouver. In that game, Los Angeles had the lead and the disc with the last seconds winding down. A hasty miscalculation led to firing the disc downfield, which Vancouver recovered and returned back towards the Aviators’ end zone. The Riptide caught the desperation heave, scored the game-tying goal as regulation expired, then went on to win the game in overtime, 27-24.
Following that deflating loss last season, the Aviators went on to Seattle the next afternoon and were unable to put up much of a fight. Seattle won handily, 29-19. In L.A.’s first trip to Seattle this year, they provided much stiffer competition. Seattle needed a last-second huck to overcome a furious Aviator comeback and prevent the potential upset, 27-26. First pull on Sunday afternoon in Seattle’s Memorial Stadium is at 2:00 pm.
A sweep of the weekend action would put Los Angeles in great position to advance to the playoffs. A victory over just Vancouver is helpful in its own right, and keeps the Aviators’ destiny in their own hands. Whatever the case, the playoff picture will be much clearer after this weekend.