By Austin Owens | Jul 10, 2021
Where to Watch
- Saturday, July 10
- 8:45 p.m. ET
Chaos and Atlas haven’t met one another since the 2019 season, and each squad has gone through some changes since that time, specifically the Bulls, who have impressed mightily this season after trading away a number of big-name contributors.
Both teams have proven their doubters wrong this season. Chaos opened the year 0-3, and looking to rebound before it got out of control. They’ve done so, winning their past two and showing everyone that they can’t let the ‘Aos get hot.
Atlas was basically counted out after an opening week blowout to the Archers. But then, the team took on that underdog mentality – spurred in part by seven percent of fans picking them to beat the Redwoods in Week 2. They took that matchup, and after losing in overtime to the Whipsnakes, they’ve taken their last two against the Cannons and Chrome, respectively.
One streak will have to come to an end on Saturday night as these two teams vye to move their way up the standings heading into the final weeks of the regular season.
Who Ya Got?
Unsurprisingly, the Atlas have swayed public opinion with their strong showings over the previous three weeks, as they head into this matchup as a -1.5 favorite. The Bulls also hold a slim 55 percent advantage in PLL Pick ‘Em.
Chaos defense down a man
It hasn’t been an easy go of things on the defensive side of the ball, and it isn’t being made any easier on them, as defender Jack Rowlett has been moved to the Injured Reserve.
Rowlett has eight caused turnovers and 11 ground balls on the year and is one of the most trusted close defenders on the roster for Andy Towers, so there’s no simple answer for who will replace him.
We could see Ian MacKay pick up a pole once again after playing short-stick defensive middie the last few games.
CJ Costabile could also be given more responsibility after featuring in his first game for Chaos last weekend.
The Rookie Connection
The duo of Jeff Teat and Jake Carraway has been dynamite for Atlas this season. Teat already sits top-15 in the league in scoring with 14 points in three outings, and Carraway has 13 of his own to give Ben Rubeor some added punch in the lineup every weekend.
Carraway has proved that he can stretch the defense, hitting a pair of 2-pointers already this season and Teat has proven to be the man the Atlas needed with that first overall pick in the 2021 College Draft.
If not for Teat returning to school this past year, he could have very well been lining up on the other side of this matchup. Andy Towers took a chance and picked Teat in the second round of the 2020 College Draft, knowing that he would lose Teat’s rights if he returned to Cornell.
It didn’t work out for Chaos, and now, they’ll have to find a way to shut down the dynamic Canadian to give themselves the best chance to win.
Save By Blaze
The saying that has become so frequent, they’ve made a drinking game out of it. Back-to-back Oren Lyons Goalie of the Year award winner Blaze Riorden has been the backbone of Chaos again this year,
He’ll have another busy night from the looks of it. He’s made the second-most saves in the league -- Nick Marrocco jumped him, for the time being, on Friday. And Riorden will be going head-to-head with a Atlas squad who sat second in the league in shots (207) coming into Week 5.
That, along with the aforementioned absence of Rowlett, spells a game where Riorden will once again need to come up huge and be that backbone for ‘Aos.
What’s at Stake?
Both Atlas and Chaos sit in the middle of the pack heading into Week 5. With the Waterdogs’ statement victory over the Cannons on Friday night, they’ve lept Chaos. And if Atlas drops this game, they’ll dip below the Dogs based off goal differential.
Chaos currently holds the final playoff spot with two weeks remaining in the regular season following the All-Star Game, and a victory could go a long way to sealing them a spot in the postseason.
Atlas sits tied with the Archers and Redwoods on record, and depending on how this week goes, they could go as high as second in the league. But they need to take care of business in this game before they can worry about what their opponents are doing.