Aviators vs Cascades
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Aviators (1-2) will host the Seattle Cascades (1-3) for the first of three matchups between the two teams in the 2016 AUDL season.
Both teams enter the game coming off of a bye week last week. However, Seattle will be in San Diego on Saturday evening taking on the Growlers before making the trip up to LA for the 1:30 first pull Sunday afternoon.
To this point in the season, Seattle has to be disappointed with their results. After a win over the Vancouver Riptide (1-1) in their home opener, the Cascades have suffered some setbacks on the road. First came a 1-point loss to the San Jose Spiders (1-1). Then a 9-point defeat at the hands of the still-undefeated San Francisco Flamethrowers (5-0). Most recently, a rematch with the Riptide in Vancouver ended in a 34-24 loss. As a championship contender heading into the season, Seattle’s below-.500 start seems to be an anomaly that will be righted very soon.
The Aviators have felt a similar sting at the start of their season. In their lone victory, a potential blowout over San Diego turned into a nail-biter. In their rematch with the Growlers, Los Angeles experienced moments of synchronization scattered amongst ebbs and flows of discord and miscommunication. Seattle, in their other loss to the Spiders, fell flat at the end of the game, giving up a late lead in a prime opportunity to add to the win column.
Seattle’s biggest threat this year has been Mark Burton. Through the Cascades’ first four games, Burton has accumulated 24 assists and 18 goals. The second-highest assist total is 9, by Reid Koss, while the second-most goals is 10 by Donnie Clark and Matt Rehder. In addition to all those names, the Aviators must limit the production of Danny Karlinsky and Adam Simon, and avoid letting big-time defenders Sam Hart and Kieran Kelly make plays against them. (Side note: It will be fun watching Kelly line up against the Aviators, since he was a member of the Santa Barbara Condors this past club season, as were many Aviators.)
The task of beating Seattle will not be easy as multiple key players will be missing: Zach Theodore to injury; Tyler Bacon and Nicholas Alexander are coaching at college regionals; Andrew Kohl is playing at college regionals; Bryan Nguyen and Jack Marsh are unavailable due to other obligations. Los Angeles hopes that newcomers Michael Kiyoi and Eli Friedman will be more comfortable in their second games with the team (and making their home debuts) to help in their quest towards victory.
by Jacob Baumer
Aviators Beat Writer & Correspondent