Tuesday Toss: Another Wild Weekend

July 20, 2021
By Evan Lepler

Remember when we all boldly proclaimed DC was the league’s best team?

That was Friday, just four days ago, when AUDL insiders Adam Ruffner, Daniel Cohen, and I unanimously selected the DC Breeze as the league’s top team at the midway point of the season. We piled on praise and admired their offensive brilliance, all anointing Jonny Malks as the midseason MVP. 

Then, on Saturday, the Breeze scored three goals in the first quarter, three more in the second, and just one in the third against Atlanta, en route to their 17-13 loss on their home field. 

And we’re supposed to be the “experts!”

Hey, we were not wrong! There’s no question that the Breeze’s resume through the first six weeks of the season was superb, but if there’s anything we have learned from the 2021 AUDL, it’s that narratives can pivot more quickly than Pawel Janas, and there’s always someone coming for the crown.

The Breeze will certainly drop from the top spot in the power rankings after scoring a season-low 13 goals against Atlanta in Week 7, as the Hustle avenged their ugly home loss from the week before by prevailing in DC on Saturday night. That was just one of the myriad of meaningful results we witnessed in recent days, with the West Division continuing to churn out thrillers that are both riveting and baffling, as the Dallas Roughnecks still remain in the thick of the race despite baring little resemblance to their powerhouse days of the past. 

With the dust still settling on another wild weekend, the outlook for Week 8 is even more invigorating, with matchups of the top two teams in all three divisions set to take the stage in arguably the most important slate of games we will see all season.

But prior to propelling ourselves into the future, we must first investigate the past. We could start with one of the three one-goal games or do a deep dive into Dallas’ tantalizing potential and maddening inconsistency. All those details are ahead, but first more on the Hustle’s adjustments that transformed a ‘fraud’ back into first place. 

The Full Field Layout

Before any revenge could be had against the Breeze, the Atlanta Hustle traveled to Philadelphia, desperate to avoid a second consecutive loss.

“We came into the weekend just focused on Philly, since losing that would keep us teetering in/out of the playoffs,” said Hustle Coach Miranda Knowles. “On Friday, it was awesome to come out so strong in the first quarter, particularly on defense.”

Atlanta converted all three of its first quarter O-points in 50 seconds or less and broke the Phoenix four times in the first 12 minutes, building a 7-2 first quarter lead that became a 20-15 victory. The Hustle were only broken once in nine chances for the game and led by as many as seven in a convincing win.

“I’d say there were two main stories of the Philly game,” said Atlanta’s Austin Taylor. “The first was our defense’s ability to create turnovers and punch in breaks, particularly in the first quarter. We’ve struggled to get out in front early in games this season, so it was a focus for this weekend. The second story of the game was the breakout performance of Karl Ekwurtzel. He has typically been a defensive player for us, but we decided to play him on offense this weekend, and he did not disappoint. His size and athleticism makes him a tough matchup downfield, and his ability to throw with both hands makes him tough to mark. He’s typically known for his ability to get up, but he ate up yards underneath and made quick moves to get open in the end zone.”

Ekwurtzel, who entered the weekend +8 in 16 career games, compiled a sensational +8 just against the Phoenix on Friday night, with five goals, two assists, one block, and no turns in 18 throws. Taylor paced the Hustle with 460 total yards and Brett Hulsmeyer had three blocks in the satisfying victory. Positive vibes permeated the team as they began traveling to DC. 

“The message after winning [in Philadelphia] was ‘we’ve done what we needed to do, now we get to do what we want to do’ as we headed to DC,” said Knowles. “I think a little reduced pressure and having lots of fun worked wonders and had everyone breathing more easily.”

The target may not have been on the Hustle’s back like it was when they were undefeated, which had everyone more relaxed and eager to be the underdog. But they still had to figure out ways to limit DC’s productivity. After the Breeze had plenty of success working through Atlanta’s trademark zone in Week 6, the Hustle introduced a brand new zone set in Week 7, with great success.

“We used a zone look that we really hadn’t shown before the weekend and used it to take away a couple of the ways that their offense was effective against us the previous week,” said Atlanta’s Kelvin Williams. “We also simplified our person-to-person defensive look to limit some of their small ball, handler-dominant maneuvers at which they excel. But overall, we wanted to increase the pressure that we applied across the board on defense, particularly on their handlers.”

The ploy worked wonders, as the Breeze scored on just seven of their 26 offensive possessions, a 26.9 percent efficiency that was far and away DC’s lowest of the season. After recording just three breaks against DC in the first matchup, the Hustle broke the Breeze eight times this past Saturday. 

“It was always going to be a battle between who could figure out their offensive issues first,” said DC Head Coach Darryl Stanley. “They ran an effective zone which would limit the amount of space we had to throw over the tops and punish us for narrow, low-tempo probing of the zone and put more pressure on the person with the disc and forcing the action to their stronger defensive wing—Kelvin’s side.”

Amazingly, the Breeze finished the game with 419 completions, the most in a single contest for any team this season, but only one of approximately every 32 completions went for a score. 

“The defense was obviously just phenomenal, and I am so proud of them for buying into some new strategies and putting it all out there two nights in a row,” said Knowles. 

The Hustle also implemented several key offensive adjustments that enabled them to look much more crisp in the rematch. 

“Tactically, our O went out of a horizontal [stack] much more to make the DC poaches harder and then just focused on using our handlers close to the disc for a few passes before looking to the cutters,” said Knowles. “I loved most that our red zone was 10/10 vs. DC. That’s something that we’ve been working on the last few weeks and it really showed.”

Taylor led the Hustle in total yardage for the second straight day with 530, including 395 throwing yards, while Hulsmeyer registered four more blocks against the Breeze to give him seven on the weekend and 18 for the season, tops in the league. 

“I was proud of our team’s ability to bounce back after taking a hit,” said Taylor. “Last weekend was rough with DC coming to our home turf and taking our first ever top ranking in the league back home with them. It just made this weekend all that much sweeter, to see us bounce back.”

Malks completed 67 of his 70 throws, but finished -2, his lowest plus/minus of the season. Tons of touches for Rowan McDonnell and the Norrbom brothers, quite simply, did not produce goals. Atlanta’s Taylor had four assists on his 31 completions, while Malks, McDonnell, Zach and Gus Norrbom, Jacques Nissen, and Garrett Braun combined had three assists on their 313 completions. 

“I was most proud of our ability to focus and show extraordinary grit,” said Williams, who had two blocks on Saturday against the Breeze. “We knew what awaited us in the mid-Atlantic region, a feisty Philly squad looking to finish a strong performance that they’d given us through three quarters on the road a couple of weeks earlier and a really tough DC team against whom we’d have to not only show how versatile we could be in executing a completely different game plan from the previous week, but to do so on the second half of a road trip. Having that kind of resolve is not likely something we would have been able to see through in years past, so completing that kind of road trip in mostly dominating fashion against two quality teams, one of which was considered the best in the league, is something that made me smile on the journey back home.”

Of course, the road ahead does not get easier for Atlanta, as the now 6-1 Hustle host 4-1 New York this Saturday night, with the winner taking the inside track on the top seed in the division. 

“It looks like New York has all the usual suspects available for our game Saturday, which will be great—a true showdown,” said Knowles.


The Austin Sol know drama.

Over the past dozen days, the Sol have played four games, all of which have been decided by one goal. For the season, six of their nine contests have had a margin of one or zero at the end of regulation, including their two-goal overtime win over Los Angeles back in June. 

The rematch with the Aviators this past Saturday may have been an even more unlikely victory, considering the Sol trailed 9-4 midway through the second quarter. But a timely 4-0 spurt before halftime brought Austin back, and another thrilling second half involving the Sol beckoned. 

“The main storyline of the LA game was another test of our mental fortitude in the face of another talented opponent,” said Austin’s Eric Brodbeck. “One of the turning points was when our captain, Evan Swiatek, made a huge grab early in the third quarter. It showed that we were there to fight and gave the team a fire to rally behind in the second half.”

It was far from the prettiest game of the weekend—the two teams combined for 51 turnovers and nine players finished with a negative plus/minus—but the Sol led 20-17 with 2:22 left and held on for the 21-20 victory, handing the Aviators another late-game heartbreaker. 

“We didn’t play that well overall,” said Austin’s Ryan Purcell. “But we showed a ton of heart, a common theme all year…We’re such a young team, but this was the first game where we were able to make some significant in-game adjustments—mentally and tactically—that eventually won us the game.”

LA’s Sean McDougall finished +8 to lead all competitors, but bemoaned his team’s inability to close out a tight game, especially after building an early lead.

“There were so many back and forth moments that it is hard to pinpoint a single one that really stood out as the game-defining sequence,” said McDougall, who also recorded four blocks in the game. “From Austin’s side, during the third and fourth quarters, they really stepped up their consistency as compared to the first half with moving the disc and avoiding taking those risky shots. Because of that, we started to struggle to generate the turns we did in the first half and never really built any momentum. Unfortunately, we did the opposite and started to make silly mistakes. A dropped pass here, an overthrow there, a bad cut into the wrong space, all of these ended up playing into us missing out by that single point.”

One day later, the 5-3 Sol ventured to San Diego for a marquee matchup against the 4-1 Growlers, who had not played a game in three weeks since their own one-goal victory over Dallas back in Week 4. Having never met before in an AUDL game, Austin and San Diego gave spectators and viewers an entertaining battle, with dozens of suspenseful twists and turns, that ultimately had the Growlers receiving the disc in a tie game with 11.6 seconds remaining in the fourth. 

“I think we had under [12] seconds to score in what most thought would be a hail mary, but we just took what the defense gave us and worked it down for an easy score to seal the game,” remembered San Diego’s Lior Givol, who completed one of the four quick passes on the Growlers’ last O-point before Wes Groth caught the go-ahead goal with three seconds left. “After so many execution errors, it felt good to get that one of our D-lines, who worked so hard to keep us in it…Our defense is 100 percent why we won this game.”

Khalif El-Salaam launched an excellent pull into the wind that left the Sol about 71 yards from the end zone. Austin took an immediate timeout to try and plan something, but Bobby Lewis’ final throw landed well short, and the Growlers escaped with a 21-20 victory. Coincidentally, it was the exact same final score as the Sol’s Saturday win and the Growlers’s Week 4 triumph over Dallas. 

“The Growlers are a very good team and we were right there with them throughout,” said Purcell. “A well-played game with exciting plays from both teams. We expect the rematch to be very similar in that respect. Our inexperience with a few end of quarter lapses cost us, especially in the final 90 seconds.”

The Sol are now 5-4 with nothing but home games remaining on their schedule. Furthermore, they are 3-0 at home this season and fully understand that running the table would guarantee them a trip to the playoffs. Of course, the Dallas Roughnecks also are 5-4 and control their own destiny too.

The Roughnecks are still above water thanks to their 23-20 triumph over San Jose on Saturday, one night after the Cascades humbled Dallas with a 22-18 surprise in Seattle. 

The story of Dallas’ weekend, in a nutshell, was offensive efficiency. From the opening pull on Friday, the Roughnecks struggled, managing to convert just 51.7 percent of their offensive possessions agains the Cascades. But after some lineup adjustments, soul-searching, and fueled by Friday’s frustrations, the Dallas offense upped its production on Saturday, converting 70.8 percent of their offensive possessions against the Spiders. 

“We moved some pieces around, moved Jay [Froude] to defense, moved Matt Armour back over to offense,” Kyle Henke told Ian Toner during a live postgame interview. “It was just a lot of being selfless as teammates, Man, I love playing with these guys. Everyone’s very versatile. So we just rolled with the punches, trusted leadership, and it all worked out…We really wanted to play small-ball coming into the season, but we decided, man we just really gotta open it up, let them respect the deep shot. I love cutting for Abe [Coffin], he’s got a great backhand huck, and I looked for that often.”

One night after going 2-for-5 on hucks in Seattle, the Roughnecks went 6-for-10 on deep shots against San Jose, with Coffin and Armour each finishing +6. Justin Norden paced all participants with 508 total yards for the Spiders, and San Jose had a chance to inch within one with less than four minutes to play, but Phil Chang’s huck landed incomplete, and the Roughnecks scored the next two goals to put the game away. 

While Saturday’s game was ultimately decided by one goal fewer than Friday’s margin, the battle in Seattle was the more captivating contest, as the two teams see-sawed back and forth before the Cascades created a multi-goal edge in the fourth. Up 17-16 with just over five minutes remaining, a 4-1 spurt sewed up Seattle’s momentous victory.

Manny Eckert authored the headlining performance with six assists and 489 total yards, but many of his teammates merited mention too, from Mark Muñoz, Jake Steen, and Brad Houser all making huge plays for the O-line to Garrett Martin, David Zhou, and Jeff Zhao all coming through in the clutch on D. 

“We’re some grinders and adversity ain’t nothing for us, so we’re just gonna keep going strong, put it all on the field, be here for our friends, family, and teammates, and just keep executing when we can and help out when we can,” said Muñoz, when asked to describe the South Seattle identity and spirit that permeates throughout his team. “Just seeing Dominic Jacobs, David Zhou, Martin Le going off from the South End is pretty inspirational, and damn it just makes me really proud.”

Indeed, the diminutive Jacobs, just 5’5” and only 20-years-old, consistently guarded top Roughnecks’ cutters with confidence. Jacobs scored two goals, while the 19-year-old Zhou found the end zone three times, all in the second half. It was truly a coming-of-age performance for many on Seattle’s squad, a potential glimpse into their future if they are able to keep the young core together. Eckert only recently turned 24 earlier this month, while Martin and Steen are just 23. Jack Brown, who also made some big plays for the Cascades’ O-line, is only 20. 

“There are a lot of new stars,” said Muñoz, who’s just 21 but basically is looked at as a veteran since he’s been on the team since 2018. “Give it a few seasons, they’re about to get on to it and just keep going.”

Quite simply, Seattle’s youth was the story on Friday night, however in the bigger picture, the Cascades are still just 3-4 and need to prove they can show up consistently for four quarters in order to re-join the playoff race. Their best chance is probably to root for San Diego this weekend, as the Growlers embark on a tantalizing Texas two-step. 

San Diego is at Dallas on Friday and at Austin on Saturday, and the Growlers are in position to basically lock up the top seed in the West if they can win both games. Obviously, that’s a mighty tall task, and a couple losses in the Lone Star state, akin to what a couple other West Division teams have already experienced, would create a crazy competitive race to the finish. If the Growlers drop both games, it would basically set up a virtual three-way tie for first place with only two playoff spots available and four weeks left in the season.

“One take away from this weekend was proof that this division is so even in talent, that any team could jump over another in the standings,” said Brodbeck. “Especially with Seattle’s win over Dallas, it proves that any team can win in this division on any given night and we have to play our best in order to secure a spot. I am feeling confident that we are in control of what happens to our season, and I am glad to be back in Austin to finish out the season in front of our home crowd.”

Seven On The Line

  1. The wildest game of the weekend might have been the AlleyCats-Radicals tussle in Madison, although early it looked like a brewing blowout. The Radicals dominated at the outset, leading 7-1 in the first, but Indy inched within one by halftime and tied the game on Josh Venegas’ thrilling Callahan on the first point of the third. From there, the Cats were in control, outscoring Madison 5-2 in the third and a maintaining a two-goal lead with 6:41 left in the fourth, only to see the Radicals close with a 3-0 burst to prevail 17-16.

    “Yes, that was a pretty crazy game,” said Madison’s Andrew Meshnick. “It feels like some of the wildest Radicals games throughout the years have come against the AlleyCats.” While the Radicals improved to 6-3 with another crucial and potentially season-defining home game against Chicago up next on July 30, the AlleyCats slipped to 2-7, and Indy leadership, while frustrated by the outcome, gave credit to the Radicals’ electric crowd. “I think the difference maker there at the end of the game was the fans,” said Indy veteran Travis Carpenter. “They turn into an eighth defender there at Madison. It really builds the pressure and intensity at the end of the game. We have about 25 guys that have never played in an AUDL game until 2021. Many of them have never played ultimate in front of opposing fans before, much less the most packed stadium in the league. I think you could really feel that pressure build at the end of the game, and it got to us. But that is ok, you learn to love it over time. I live for games and moments like that, but it takes some time to get past the initial shock. You have to experience it a time or two before you can look past it and focus purely on your play. I am glad we got to have that experience in a year like this where we are so young and building up this new group of guys.”

  2. Elsewhere in the Central Division, the Minnesota Wind Chill took care of business against still-winless Detroit, jumping to leads of 8-1 and 14-4 en route to their 25-12 triumph. “Our coaches put together a great game plan against Detroit both times we played them,” said Minnesota’s Josh Klane. “Basically come out with a lot of energy, push [Andrew] Sjogren under, and make [David] Innis and [Joe] Cubitt work very hard for everything. Our defense played lights out and aa lot of young guys were able to make their mark in their first professional games.” Klane mentioned Jake Raatz, Matt Johnson, and Paul Krenik as newcomers who fared well in their AUDL debuts, but the Wind Chill quickly turned their attention to this coming Saturday against Chicago, a game that could basically clinch first place for the Wind Chill with a victory. “This game should be a fun one, but I don’t think any of us are feeling any pressure or nerves leading up to it,” added Klane. “We know what kind of team we are and what we are capable of doing, as evident by our body of work thus far this season. We’ve put ourselves in a great position moving forward into the last half of the season, so win or lose this week, we feel really good about the direction we are heading. No matter what happens in the regal season, we are going to have to win that one playoff game to get to where we want to be, and so building up to that specific point is all we care about right now, not getting caught up in the hype of one single regular season game. I love beating Chicago and it would definitely be cool to all but clinch a home playoff game, but we feel good about winning anywhere, whether it’s at home or away.”

  3. On Sunday afternoon, the Union were the beneficiaries of Indy’s emotional and intense heartbreaker from the day before in Madison. The AlleyCats were undeniably fatigued against Chicago, and the Union quickly created separation with a 4-0 start and led wire-to-wire in their 24-18 win.

    “Indy was all about getting back on track for us,” said Chicago Captain Jeremy Burril. “Our entire O-line played really well, and we had six players on the line that scored multiple goals. Kind of ironic that the only person without a goal was Pawel [Janas.]” Indeed, Janas did not catch any scores, but he threw for six and accumulated a game-high 612 total yards, including 484 with his throws. Ross Barker registered 371 receiving yards and caught five goals to lead Chicago, who rediscovered the taste of victory and improved to 6-2 one week after dropping their first two games of the season. Now, the Union brace for two monumental road tests, at Minnesota and Madison the next two weeks. “We understand the magnitude of the game, but we also realize that we have all the tools to pull out a victory in Minnesota,” said Burril, commenting specifically about the upcoming Wind Chill matchup. “We ran into a much better team the second time we played Minnesota at our home field that we did in Week 2, and we know that the energy and focus needs to be on execution…Our defense has its swagger back, and our offense remembered how to catch and throw the disc. Defensively, we need to force the ball to Minnesota’s weaker throwers and keep the disc out of Klane’s hands. Offensively, we need to limit the unforced turnovers. Drops and throwaways are unacceptable at this level.”

  4. No team in the entire league has a longer winning streak presently than the Raleigh Flyers, who won their fifth consecutive game, the last four of which have all been by double digits, as they smashed Pittsburgh 27-16 on Saturday afternoon in the Steel City. Raleigh now has a weekend off, then hosts the Thunderbirds for a rematch in Week 9, before the schedule becomes much more difficult with games at Boston, at New York, vs. Atlanta, and at DC over the season’s final three weeks. “The last stretch of our season is definitely gonna be more challenging, but I think the team is really looking forward to it,” said Raleigh’s Jacob Fairfax, who led the Flyers with 467 total yards at Pittsburgh. “Our defense has improved at sticking to the defensive strategies that [Coach] Mike D[eNardis] comes up with for each game. They also have done a great job of keeping their energy and intensity up to pule on break after break even when we get a lead on a team. Offensively, we are learning when and how to utilize the different talents on our team. We can have our handlers drive us up the field or we can go cutter to cutter in big spaces. Ders [Anders Juengst] has also been great at filling the gaps in our offense, and we haven’t come across a team that has an answer for him yet.” To Fairfax’s point, Juengst finished +7 on Saturday against the Thunderbirds, his third +7 of the season. Overall, Juengst is fourth in the league with 26 goals and fourth in the league with his +35 plus/minus.

  5. Before the 2021 season, the New York Empire went out of their way to create a schedule that would include one game each weekend and no doubleheader road trips. In fact, they were the only team in the league that did not have any multi-game weekends when the 12-week, 12-game schedule initially came out. But now, because of their Week 2 postponement in Philadelphia along with their Week 7 postponement in Boston, the Empire are staring at seven games in five weeks to close out their season. It’s certainly not anything that New York cannot handle, but it sure is something that the Empire purposefully aimed to avoid when the season began. Currently, New York has single games at Atlanta in Week 8, at Tampa in Week 9, vs. Raleigh in Week 10, and vs. Boston in Week 12. They're scheduled to face Philly and Pittsburgh on consecutive days in Week 11, and they presumably have to slot another trip to Boston somewhere where it’s mutually agreeable, though no official makeup date has been determined yet. Looking at the immediate future, the Empire are excited about their upcoming showdown with Atlanta. “I definitely respect Miranda, I really respect her approach defensively because its kinda the stuff we used to do in New York all the time,” said New York assistant coach David Blau, comparing Atlanta’s creative defensive schemes to what his championship winning club teams did in the 1990s. “We felt that just messing with an offense’s head had huge value, and I don’t see that in the league very much. The fact that she mostly relies on a zone to generate turnovers but doesn’t throw it all the time, I think is awesome. I love the way she opens the game with man-to-man defense then switches to zone rather than opening up with her go-to defense, and I think it’s a smart way to coach…I’m gonna be curious to see how we handle it because it’s different.”

  6. One cool wrinkle of this past weekend’s slate: eight of the 11 games, if we include the New York-Boston tilt that ended up getting postponed, featured a team visiting a city they have never traveled to before. It’s definitely one of the factors that, in my opinion, still has the season feeling super fresh even nearly two months in. Atlanta visiting Philly and DC for the first time, the Texas teams venturing to Seattle, San Jose (Oakland actually), LA, and San Diego for their premier visits to each of those locales, along with Raleigh driving up to Pennsylvania all were brand new experiences for the participants. “It was a blast to travel with the team to two new cities that we’ve never played in before,” said Atlanta’s Austin Taylor. “We were given the surprise of a massive fireworks show right at the end of our game in Philly from the baseball stadium that was right next door, which was pretty sweet. And we got to spend a little bit of time walking around DC.” Even with the season’s eighth week on tap this weekend, there are still plenty of novel journeys to be had. In addition to New York going to Atlanta for the first time and Boston traveling all the way to Tampa Bay, San Diego’s Texas trip offers a chance for the Growlers to play at two venues they have never seen before. “I’m really looking forward to the road trip, but definitely nervous about the heat and thankful they are both night games,” admitted San Diego’s Lior Givol. “We haven’t had a ton of bonding time with the team just yet, so this will be a lot of fun and [we’ll] hopefully get some good BBQ along the way.”

  7. Along with all those first-time road trips on the docket for Week 8, we’ve got another first to keep our eyes on. This weekend, the AUDL’s three Canadian franchises will finally get to take the field for the opening games of the Canadian Cup, a series that includes the Montreal Royal, Ottawa Outlaws, and Toronto Rush playing two home games and two road games against each opponent. By early September, the Royal, Outlaws, and Rush will each compete in eight total games with the goal of earning their own regional championship and also seeking to set the tone for the future, looking ahead to 2022. By no fault of their own and entirely due to Canadian travel restrictions, they have been unable to join the greater North American competition in 2021, but the team’s are all chomping at the bit to get the chance to battle again, starting this weekend when Toronto faces Ottawa on Saturday and the Outlaws journey to Montreal on Sunday. Since these three organizations and their fans deserve a more in-depth season preview than a short blurb at the end of a lengthy Toss, you can read more about how each team views its upcoming season. 

The Hammer

Ok, so obviously we’ve got a smorgasbord of great games this weekend, including a conveniently orchestrated lineup on Friday night—San Diego-Dallas at 8:30 ET, Los Angeles-Seattle at 10:30 ET—and three potential thrillers that will be overlapping a bit on Saturday night, with New York-Atlanta and Chicago-Minnesota both starting at 7:00 PM ET and San Diego-Austin launching at 8:00 PM ET.

Any of the Saturday triumvirate could become the game of the year, but there might be even more history made during another matchup that presently may not be on your radar. 

When the season began, I mentioned that Saturday, July 24 might be the day for the Detroit Mechanix to finally end their incomprehensible losing streak, which now outrageously sits at 45 consecutive games. That day is just about here, the incredible skid remains intact, and we all nervously await to see what will happen. 

Detroit hosts 2-7 Indianapolis this weekend, and it is a tremendous chance for the Mechanix to win for the first time in 1,547 days, since they beat Chicago on April 29, 2017. The AlleyCats handled Detroit with relative ease in June, winning by nine and 12 goals in the first two matchups, but Indy will be missing several of its top players this Saturday, creating an obvious opportunity for the Mechanix to finally snap the streak. 

Surely, the Indy players that make the trip will compete hard and try to avoid the ignominy that would come with losing to Detroit, however it seems mighty possible that the Mechanix could finally experience the taste of victory this weekend. 

So if the Week 8 slate was not delectable enough already, adding another slice of potential history into the conversation only adds more intrigue. 

It’ll be a busy weekend for me in Texas, with two broadcasts, countless other storylines, and my almost three-year-old daughter joining me for the trip.

Let the memories begin.