Connor Fields listed as doubtful for 2023 Cash App Championship
Ahead of Sunday’s PLL Cash App Championship, Archers LC attackman Connor Fields is listed as doubtful, but has been included in the team’s 19-man roster despite suffering a right shoulder separation after absorbing a massive hit from Garrett Epple in the semifinals. Fields’ presence in the initial 19-man lineup means there’s a chance that he will play. But the decision that the club makes and how it plays out will be crucial for the matchup with the ‘Dogs.
If Fields plays…
If he plays, it will be through pain but it will also be a sign that he and the team believe he can make it through the full 48 minutes. With 19-man rosters and only 16 field players (one faceoff, two goalies), Fields trying to play for a stint in the first quarter and then not being able to soldier on or re-injuring his shoulder would leave the Archers shorthanded.
Considering that the club has already had to drop offensive midfielder Challen Rogers down to play SSDM following Latrell Harris’ torn ACL and that attackman Matt Moore continues to deal with a left hamstring strain, only playing with seven offensive players would be far from ideal. So, bottom line, if Fields plays, it’ll be because he’s confident he can play through the pain.
Fields playing with a right shoulder injury is far from ideal because of his physical style. He’s at his best when he’s able to drive his right shoulder into defenders, absorb contact, and exploit angles to find the slivers of space he needs to get a shot off. That’s part of what makes him such an effective dodging attackman and the best late-clock initiator in the league.
Presumably, if he plays, the shoulder injury will at the very least force him to endure added pain when dodging to the rack. If he can play through it then that’ll be a testament to his toughness and it would be a major boon for the Archers offense that so heavily relies on his ability to initiate from the lefty wing. But it’d be hard to blame him if he was less effective due to the pain.
If Fields doesn’t play…
If the Archers and Fields get through Saturday’s practice and decide that he’s not healthy enough to give it a go, attackman Reid Bowering will make his PLL debut in the Cash App Championship. The lefty out of Drexel is one of two reserve players for the Archers this weekend alongside defenseman Reece Eddy, so he’d get the call up to the 19-man roster if Fields is too banged up.
It’s slightly surprising that the Archers have Bowering as the offensive reserve and not Connor DeSimone — who has played in seven games for the club over the last two seasons. But Bowering does bring more versatility to the table than DeSimone. With Harris definitely out, having Bowering — a player who could play defense in a pinch — would be valuable. Bowering is also a lefty who would ensure that the offense can still initiate some offense from the lefty wing with him, Mac O’Keefe, and Ryan Ambler all in the lineup.
In 57 games in his college career at Drexel University, Bowering registered 147 goals and 37 assists on an absurd 48.2% shooting percentage. He’s a crafty finisher who could realistically beat a short stick if called upon.
Bowering would most likely come out of the box if Fields doesn’t suit up. Grant Ament, Moore, and O’Keefe would be slated to start down low without Fields. Depending on how much the Archers experiment with different personnel starting in different spots as a result of the Waterdogs’ prevent faceoff strategy, Tom Schreiber and Tre Leclaire could also get some runs down at attack.
Fields playing on Sunday and not being significantly hampered by his injury would change the dynamic of the game. He’s simply that good and that important within the Archers offense. The club undoubtedly has plenty of offensive firepower, but his absence would take away a major part of what has made them so efficient in 32-second offense with how he can dominate his matchups.