June 27, 2019
By Adam Ruffner
Parenthetical numbers indicate team's ranking in previous list.
21. Detroit Mechanix (21)
After sticking close with opponents through the first half of their season, the Mechanix have dropped their last two games by a combined 21 scores, and have now lost four of their last six by margins of eight goals or more. The team's top three block getters all play a majority of their points on the offense, which speaks to the club's lack of defensive pressure—they're last in takeaways at 7.50 per game.
20. Seattle Cascades (18)
The Cascades made a few different runs at home to trim the Growlers lead this past Saturday, but ultimately the division leaders prevailed over Seattle for the second time in three matchups in 2019. The league's second most porous defense—the Cascades are allowing nearly 25 goals per game—Seattle has not held an opponent under 20 goals all season; the Cascades have allowed 24+ goals in seven of their nine games. Zach Sabin, Shane Worthington, and Khalif El-Salaam are capable defenders, but there is little in the way of defensive scheming that slows down West opponents.
19. San Jose Spiders (19)
Similar to Seattle, San Jose has personnel that could help stem the tide, but the Spiders lack of structure and consistency have been the primary causes behind their league-worst 25 goals per game allowed. Saturday's loss to the Aviators was the second time in five weeks they surrendered 30+ goals, and the Spiders have given up 136 scores in their last five games (1-4 record).
18. Austin Sol (20)
Taking advantage of a Tampa Bay team playing their second game in as many days, the Sol earned their largest win of the 2019 season on Sunday to improve to 3-8 with one game remaining on their schedule. Despite making the playoffs last year, Austin struggled with lineup management and injuries, rostering the most players of any team in the league. Similar issues have beset them this year, as only one player, Robert Lewis, has suited up for every Sol game. The lack of reliable lineups has forced many players in and out of their comfort roles, sapping the Sol of any cohesion.
17. Ottawa Outlaws (16)
After beginning the season with some uncompetitive results, the Outlaws have tidied up their play a lot in the last month despite occupying the same spot in the East Division standings—last. Ottawa is 2-3 in their last five games after dropping Sunday's home contest against Toronto, with both of those wins requiring overtime. Alec Arsenault and Jeremy Hill have combined for 35 goals in that span of games, giving the third-to-last Outlaws offense some potency downfield.
16. Philadelphia Phoenix (15)
Philly started the 2019 season as a playoff contender, but suffering their fourth straight defeat on Saturday—and third in three matchups against DC this season—all but eliminated the Phoenix from playoff contention for the sixth straight season. This team has continually demonstrated an ability to hang with every team in the division for stretches at a time, but at 2-6, have put together very few, full-four-quarters effort games this year. Philly is last in team completion percentage (91.40 percent) and turnovers per game (24.88).
15. Tampa Bay Cannons (14)
The Cannons 0-2 weekend in Texas eliminated them from the playoffs for the second straight season, but Tampa Bay is on the come up. Andrew Roney has played like a true MVP, leading the team in assists (52), completions (454), blocks (13), and points played (272), while Bradley Seuntjens has emerged as one of the better downfield receiving options in the division. He lead the Cannons with a career-high 32 goals, tied for 11th overall in the AUDL in 2019.
14. Atlanta Hustle (13)
With two of their remaining three games—one at home and one in Dallas—against the Roughnecks, the not-playoff-bound Hustle are suddenly the lynchpin to home field advantage in the South Division. Atlanta has played Dallas well since the Roughnecks inception in 2016, but has never taken a game from the three-time divisional champs. Matt Smith has been as consistent as anyone against Dallas, throwing 11 assists on 176-of-181 (97.24 percent) throws to go along with 24 goals in nine career games against the Roughnecks.
13. Montreal Royal (17)
Kevin Quinlan pitched a perfect handler outing on Saturday with a ridiculous 12-assist, 29-for-29 throwing performance against one of the best defenses in the league in the Rush. But somehow, he was still upstaged by fellow teammate and league leading goal scorer Quentin Bonnaud, who notched a career-high 11 goals, three assists, zero turnovers, and the game-clinching INT. Bonnaud now has 60 goals in nine games, including 30 in his last four outings alone.
12. Madison Radicals (11)
In totally unchartered territory—first time ever with a losing record, and potentially facing their first absence from the playoffs in seven seasons as a franchise—the Radicals officially have their backs against the wall. Their final three games are at home, where the Radicals have been prodigious...except of late, as they've dropped back-to-back games at Breese Stevens Field for the first time ever. Madison controls its playoff destiny with a win tomorrow night against Chicago, a team they haven't lost to since 2014.
11. Minnesota Wind Chill (10)
Josh Klane, Quinn Snider, and Bryan Vohnoutka all had stellar offensive performances in Week 12, but the Wind Chill defense struggled to get the AlleyCats offense out of rhythm in a 24-23 loss in Indy that puts Minnesota in deep water. The Wind Chill are in the top half of the league in takeaways—Jimmy Kittlesen leads the league with 22 blocks—but fourth worst in opponents scoring at 21.80 goals allowed. Saturday's loss was their third time in four games Minnesota allowed 24+ goals in a game. The Wind Chill have opportunities for breaks, but can't seem to find an efficient way to capitalize them, and that may cost them a spot in the playoffs.
10. Chicago Wildfire (9)
As was mentioned two paragraphs back, the Chicago Wildfire haven't made good on the "rivalry" part of their matchups with Madison in years. But this is a fundamentally different Wildfire lineup than in years past. Especially with the addition of Matt Rehder, a Radicals killer from his lone matchup in Madison 2016. Chicago was imbued with a special dynasty-toppling quality when they added Rehder this past offseason, and tomorrow night in Madison they have a chance to end the Radicals reign in the Midwest in dramatic fashion.
9. Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (12)
And if Chicago wants a blueprint of how to shuck years of a rivalry-bound monkey off their back, they can take the blueprint the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds executed last weekend at home to get their first win over Madison since 2015. Winners of five straight, Max Sheppard was once again electric for Pittsburgh as a playmaker, tossing three assists and scoring a game-high seven goals; he now has a career-high 33 goal, tied for ninth in the league, to go along with 24 assists. But just as impressive was the performance by Thomas Edmonds, who has emerged this season as a premier, full arsenal thrower in the Midwest. He had seven assists on 71-of-72 throws on Saturday against a stingy Radicals defense, upping his season totals to 31 and 398-of-410 (97 percent). Both are team highs for a Thunderbirds team on the cusp of qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in two years.
8. Toronto Rush (5)
Intertwined since their 2013 AUDL championship meeting, there is something symmetrical and fitting about the Toronto Rush's rise-and-fall synchronizing with Madison. No two franchises have won more games in league history, but after the Rush's loss in Montreal last Saturday, their four losses in 2019 set a new franchise high for most in a single season. Toronto's defense allows the least goals in the league (18.40 per game) and registers the fourth most takeaways at 11.20 per game. The Rush offense isn't bad, but it has visibly worsened over the past two seasons. Most alarming, though, is the Rush's performance in close games this year, despite the team's historical pedigree in big games: Toronto is 1-3 in contests decided by two goals or fewer.
7. Los Angeles Aviators (8)
After scoring just 36 goals total in their prior two matchups, the Los Angeles Aviators exploded for a season-high 31 in their win over the Spiders to clinch their fourth straight playoff appearance. And once again, their young lineup continues to excel expectations, particularly when it comes to poise, as the Aviators completed 240-of-247 throws (97 percent) against San Jose as a team, led again by rookie Calvin Brown's 7-assists, 43-for-43 performance in just his second game as a pro. And once again, it bears mentioning that this team lost most of its starting offense during the offseason, and is now third in the league in 2019 averaging 22.70 goals per game.
6. San Diego Growlers (7)
A win this Saturday at home against Seattle would give the San Diego Growlers their first West Division regular season title in franchise history. Two-time MVP Goose Helton continues to have his most efficient offensive season in his eigth year as a pro, and Tim Okita and Sean Ham are doing everything well in their their handling and receiving roles, respectively. But Travis Dunn has been a showstopper for the second straight season and is as legit an MVP candidate as anyone in the AUDL this season. He's fifth in the league in assists with 45 on 290 completions (94.50 percent), and is equally dangerous as a receiver with 30 goals. More importantly, he visibly stands out as the quarterback of the Growlers offense on any point he takes the field for the team with the second most wins in the league.
5. Indianapolis AlleyCats (6)
Keegan North has emerged as an x-factor for a first place Indianapolis AlleyCats team looking to make its first return to Championship Weekend since the inaugural showcase in 2012. But no player is more important to the success of this team than Travis Carpenter, who has played his way into the MVP discussion with his dogged effort and not-so-suddenly great throwing abilties. Carpenter has a laser focus with his reads when he has the disc, and is having his best season ever, and by a wide margin, as a distributor. He ranks in the top 12 in the league in assists (38), assists per game (4.22), and completions (368), and his 96.30 completion rate ranks 11th out of passers with 300+ completions; only Pawel Janas has more assists and completions with a better efficiency in 2019.
4. DC Breeze (4)
Winners of three straight and five of their last six, the DC Breeze continue to get it done with contributions from every person in their active lineup, each week. Rowan McDonnell continues to galvanize the young Breeze roster, and everyone has responded, putting the team in the top ten in both scoring offense and defense. Maybe most importantly for their overall success, the team is second in the league in completion percentage (95.10 percent) while ranking fifth in completions per game (253.36). Nate Prior, Max Cassell, and Jeff Wodatch have all improved their passing efficiency as team veterans, and it's translated to the rookies following suit as Cody Johnston, Garrett Braun, Jarrod Banks, and Jacques Nissen are completing 638-of-659 of their throws (96.81 percent) combined.
3. Dallas Roughnecks (3)
The Dallas Roughnecks offense has been a top-five scoring unit using the three-headed utility combo of Abe Coffin, Jay Froude, and Carson Wilder, with Kevin Richardson—the team's second leading goal scorer from the 2018 regular season—working his way back into the rotation after missing the first half of the 2019 season due to injury. And other than their June 15 setback against Raleigh, the Roughnecks have been winning games decisively with an average margin of defeat of six goals in their last four victories. Dallas has been to the AUDL Championship game in two of the past four years, and have the roster for another legit shot at the title. If Dallas can lock up home field advantage with wins down the stretch, including a must-win against the Flyers in Raleigh on June 5, the Roughnecks will be a hard team to bet against at Championship Weekend.
2. Raleigh Flyers (2)
The Raleigh Flyers took the lone undefeated team to the brink in an instant classic "Game Of The Week". But once again, Raleigh fretted away a late lead in a big matchup, as they have done against Dallas and Madison in marquee matchups of the past. The Flyers showed they have a lineup as talented as any in the league when they traded punches with the Empire; 10 different Raleigh players have thrown for 10+ assists on the season, and seven different members have 10 or more goals. But there is some nebulous force standing between this franchise's talent and depth, and the ultimate success of winning it all.
1. New York Empire (1)
Ben Jagt contributed 15 scores on the night, Harper Garvey bombed the disc anywhere he please, but it was the defensive playmaking of Jeff Babbitt and Beau Kittredge that sealed the New York Empire's most critical showing of the season. The two hulk smashed away the Flyers hopes down the stretch, masking their veteran defensive savvy with truly overpowering displays of athleticism when it mattered most. Though this roster has much different personnel from the days of the "faceless mob" Empire of old, the "next man up" spirit is carried on each point, each week with rigid consistency.