The Golden State Warriors have the Splash Brothers. Chaos LC has the Bomb Squad.
Consisting of defenseman Jarrod Neumann, LSM Matt Rees, and midfielder Jake Froccaro, the squad gives opposing goalies nightmares. The trio have accounted for a league best eight two-pointers and embody their club’s run and gun style. Neumann plays like he just drank a gallon of espresso and often transforms post-win huddles into chest bump battles with Head Coach Andy Towers. Froccaro wears a gold chain that’s so big that Neumann said it has its own personality. Rees, who is a Naval Communications Officer and quiet by comparison to his squad members, prefers to let his shots make all the noise. He was the only Bomb Squad member who didn’t compete in the fastest shot contest during All-Star weekend, which Neumann won when he clocked 115 mph.
“I never brought it up,” Rees said of the contest. “But if I did, I would have told them I would have beaten them.”
That friendly competition extends to transition opportunities during games.
“It’s almost a battle for who can get to the midfield line sooner,” Froccaro said. “You know there has to be three that stay back, so everyone is always sprinting to the midfield line because they know they are going to get transition goals.”
That contest was on display during the first quarter of the Chaos’s game last weekend. After Neumann swarmed and dislodged the ball from Whipsnakes attackman Ben Reeves, Froccaro collected the ground ball. The Bomb Squad was off to the races. Right before Neumann reached the midline, he gestured for Rees to let him have this one. Rees conceded. Four seconds later, Froccaro faked a pass to his left, then hit Neumann in stride. The conclusion--and two points--seemed inevitable. Neumann has taken eight shots in the regular season, all from behind the two point arc. When he puts it on cage (five attempts) he converts at an 80 percent clip.
“Whenever I get over the [mid] line I am looking for him to see if he is by the two point line,” Froccaro said. “He’s pretty much unstoppable once he gets over the line if he can get his hands free. There’s really nothing the goalie can do about it. You can’t see it.”
“To be honest, I don’t really look where I’m pulling up from,” Neumann admitted. “If I can get my head around, see the net, and catch it in stride, I’m probably gonna pull it.”
During the All-Star game Neumann scored a two pointer from so far out it would make Steph Curry do a double take.
“It was from Santa Monica, I believe,” NBC Sports play-by-play announcer Brendan Burke said on the broadcast.
Neumann has gained that confidence in part from the encouragement of his coaches and teammates.
“They’ve looked at me in games past and said don’t even worry about throwing that skip pass, just shoot ball,” Neumman said referencing Chaos attackmen like Conor Fields. “It’s very reassuring knowing that my attackmen approve of me shooting, which isn’t always the case for close defensemen.”
All the members of the Bomb Squad lauded Towers for embracing an up-tempo style, giving poles the green light to fire, and allowing the Chaos to take chances in early transition.
Neumann also suggested the two bomb carries even more weight than you’ll see on the scoreboard.
“I think it is a momentum changing goal,” he said. “It is worth more obviously, but when you hit a two pointer on an opposing team, it takes the wind out of their sails, especially when you hit it from deep.”
While Neumann has “grabbed the bull by the horns on embracing the name,” according to Rees, the Providence College grad was the latest addition to the squad. He didn’t break through until Week 4 against the Archers when he tallied two two-pointers on Homewood Field. Froccaro, who’s 2-for-5 from deep to go with 11 goals inside the arc, was the only Chaos player to score from two point range in their Week 1 overtime loss to the Whipsnakes. He added another two bomb in Week 2 along with Rees, who notched two two-pointers during the Chaos’s 18-13 dismantling of the Atlas. After that game the @PLLChaos Instagram account posted pictures of Froccaro and Rees mid-wind up and added the caption #BombSquad, which was accompanied by the now ubiquitous emoji.
“It has definitely stuck since,” Froccaro said of the nickname.
Although the squad has remained a trio since Week 4, its members insist the title isn’t exclusive.
“We would love a new member,” Neumann said.
Answers varied about which teammate is most likely to join their ranks next.
“I got my money on [Jack] Rowlett,” Rees said of the rookie defenseman from the University of North Carolina who’s 0-for-1 this summer from behind the arc. “If he steps over the midline, he’s definitely gonna wind up and get one.”
Neumann agreed about Rowlett and offered Myles Jones and Tory Reh as other candidates. Froccaro was even more diplomatic.
“Definitely Myles [Jones] and Deemer [Class],” he said, citing his fellow midfielders. “But honestly everyone can shoot pretty hard from the outside on our team. I feel like anyone of us can be a two point threat.”
Those options induce Chaos for every other defense.
“If we’re coming down in transition and there’s two poles and Froccaro is carrying, who are you sliding too?” Neumann asked almost rhetorically. “It’s like pick your poison.”