PLL Weeks 3 & 4: 8 Takeaways
Weeks three and four of the PLL season are done and gone. To be honest, I was too obsessed with beating the Call of Duty zombies Easter egg for Black Ops 4. It kept me from writing a quality week three review before week four. Damn you Treyarch and your ridiculously complicated zombie challenges! Good news. I beat the challenge and figured I’d combine the past two weeks together. Without further ado, here are my eight takeaways from weeks three and four of the Premier Lacrosse League season.
Chicago has Solid Attendance
Announced PLL attendance for all three games was slightly above 11,000. This averages out to crowds of 3,600 per game. Those are respectable numbers. Especially since it was raining and Chicago is not a lacrosse hotspot. It’s still noticeable that two games are way lower in attendance, with one game dragging up the average. The PLL needs to find a way to keep people at all the games (lock them in?), or at least 2 of 3. People are paying for three games; yet, they are only attending one. The league needs that to change.
Redwoods v Chaos Fight
During the week three slate, I saw the best lacrosse fight I have ever seen. Thank you Nick Ossello and Blaze Riorden.
A summary of the scrum follows: A Chaos defenseman dragged down the Redwoods’ ballcarrier. Next, a swarm of Chaos players started hacking at the ballcarrier while he was down. All of a sudden, Ossello flew into the pile and took on the entire defense. He was surrounded. It was 4 v 1, yet he was not intimidated. Riorden did his best Ron Hextall impression by picking up Ossello and body slamming him to the ground. The engagement concluded with Ossello rising up like the Hulk and giving a good right hook to Riorden’s head.
They all got penalties. In my opinion, Riorden was punished enough by taking that punch to the head. Ossello is ripped. I’ve provided a video of the moment below. Words don’t do it justice.
Atlas Grab First Win, Collapse Against Whipsnakes
In Chicago, Paul Rabil’s Atlas club snagged their first win 13-12 against winless Chrome. It was a battle of losing teams. The Philadelphia Flyers v Buffalo Sabres. Two teams that can’t win big games. Atlas deserves credit for beating Chrome. But man, some of those goals came from ugly defense. I feel the Chrome defense forgot to cover guys off ball. Maybe they think that’s what they’re supposed to do? Either way, Chrome lived up to their tradition of blowing games late, which allowed Atlas to claim victory.
In Baltimore, Atlas played extremely well. In front of a sold-out Baltimore crowd, the Atlas v Whipsnakes game did not disappoint. Whipsnakes were on the ropes when Atlas collapsed with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. This is Penn State blowing a 12-point lead against Ohio State with 8 minutes remaining level choke job. Whipsnakes scored 8 of the last 9 goals. Two of these goals were 2-pointers. The dumbest play I have yet to see in PLL took place. With the game still in hand, Atlas goaltender, Jack Concannon, decided to commit a cheap penalty against a Whipsnakes attackman. This forced Atlas to play their backup, Scotty Rodgers, who played admirably, yet gave up the nails in the coffin.
This play from Concannon sums up Atlas. It’s a group of individual players. It is not individual players playing as a team. This team is too selfish to join the upper echelon of the league. Until they put their egos aside and work together, Atlas will be the San Francisco 49ers of the PLL (2nd worst, Chrome is the Arizona Cardinals).
Archers Fall from Top, On Losing Streak
The Archers have gone from top team to third place. This turnaround occurred in two weeks. This shows how fast you can drop in the PLL.
Against the Whipsnakes, they almost tied, but ultimately fell late in overtime 11-10. There’s no shame in this loss. Honestly, I felt bad that one team had to lose this game. It was as even as a game could get. However, the Archers failed to handle their first loss well as they were picked apart by Chaos. Chaos led 10-4 at halftime. Then, the Archers buckled up and turned it around. They ultimately fell 14-13. Their pathetic first half performance was too much to overcome, yet I feel the Archers are back in a groove. It’s not like they lost to bad teams. They lost to undefeated Whipsnakes and second place Chaos (who’s only loss is to Whipsnakes).
In Atlanta, the doctor has handed the Archers some medicine with a layup against Atlas. If Archers LC don’t win this one, then we’ll know they are in trouble. Until then, I’d say fans shouldn’t worry.
Sellout in Baltimore for Atlas v Whipsnakes
The title speaks for itself. The PA announcer announced the Atlas v Whipsnakes game maxed capacity with a crowd of 8,500. I’m not going to research in-depth, but I will confidently say this is the largest crowd in pro lacrosse history. This is why the PLL was founded. To give the game the exposure it deserves.
The only bummer is this game wasn’t on flagship NBC, but NBC Sports Gold. If only casual sports fans were able to see a lacrosse game with this atmosphere.
PLL Needs more Night Games
You know that sellout I mentioned above? It was a night game. The atmosphere, I’m told, was absolutely electric. Is it just a coincidence the league’s only night game has the best attendance? I’m not so sure.
Take any sporting event for example. A 12 PM EST kickoff for a college football game is lame compared to an 8 PM EST primetime game. Fans have all day for their anticipation to build up. People are busy mid-day. By night, their schedule is free. People want something fun to do at night.
Lacrosse under the lights would be a huge selling point for the PLL. I understand they are slave to NBC’s air schedule and the times are set in stone for the inaugural season; however, I believe it would be wise to schedule more night games for year two. Imagine primetime lacrosse on NBC.
The league should, at a minimum, give a couple night games a shot next year. If they are flops, I’ll stand corrected.
Chrome Eliminated from Playoffs?
With 6 “all-star” teams in the PLL, someone had to be at the bottom. That distinction goes to Chrome lacrosse club. The Chrome are 0-4 and staring 0-5 in the face with an Atlanta matchup against Chaos. The team has lost 3 one goal games. The reality is, it doesn’t matter how close the games are. Your record proves you are a bad team.
No one said the 2017 Cleveland Browns weren’t bad since they lost close games. They were a laughingstock. It isn’t that bad for Chrome, but with 6 regular season games remaining, they will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs. They will have to win out and get some help.
Chrome needs to finish games. They could be 3-1 if they held onto late leads. If they continue to blow them, Chrome will become the PLL’s lovable losers.
Chaos Trying to Catch Whipsnakes
I cannot wait for Chaos to rematch the undefeated Whipsnakes in Denver. With Archers on a skid, and the Chaos offense hitting full-stride, round two will be epic. There are still concerns on the defensive end, especially since they almost blew the lead against Archers, but those kinks should be worked out by late July.
Myles Thompson and Connor Fields continue to dominate while the Whipsnakes slither ahead without Jules Heningburg (traded to Redwoods). It shows how loaded Whipsnakes are that they trade Heningburg (top-tier attackman) and have no offensive drop off. Heningburg will have his shot at revenge as he faces his former team in Atlanta.
Without a doubt, Chaos and Whipsnakes are the league’s two hottest teams. It will be interesting to see if they can keep their current hot streaks going.
Do you agree with my takeaways? Do you disagree? Is there anything I should improve on with my articles? Let me know by connecting with me on Twitter or Instagram. You can also subscribe to the site and comment directly onto this article. All your support is greatly appreciated 😊 Regardless, I hope you enjoyed and don’t forget to watch the week five games!