Connor Fields ruled OUT for PLL Cash App Championship
After being listed as doubtful heading into the weekend, Archers attackman Connor Fields has been ruled out of today’s PLL Cash App Championship with a right shoulder injury. Fields, who led the Archers in scoring in the 2023 regular season with 39 points (28 goals, 11 assists), is a huge loss for an Archers team that has been battered and bruised over the past few weeks with star SSDM Latrell Harris also missing today’s game due to a torn ACL.
Fields’ absence will limit the dynamism of the Archers offense versus the Waterdogs. He’s a dominant dodging threat that commands the defense’s attention, and his club will have to find different ways to produce late clock offense.
In Fields’ place, Reid Bowering will make his PLL debut today with the Archers. Bowering, a Drexel alum, is a lefty attackman with a versatile offense game who projects to play a variety of roles in the club’s offense today.
“The decision for Reid is one that may seem a little odd given that he hasn’t played this year,” said Archers Head Coach and General Manager Chris Bates. “But he’s a professional. I think the left-handedness giving us balance in the lineup is important. If you watch him play, Reid knows how to play. He’s a consummate professional. He doesn’t need the ball, so he’s a facilitator and a finisher that just does everything well.”
Bowering is, to his core, a goal scorer. As Bates mentioned, he’s good off-ball and plays well in the two-man games that the Archers love to run on the lefty wing.
How the Archers fill Fields’ spot in the lineup will be interesting to watch. Presumably, Matt Moore will bump down to attack after Fields, Mac O’Keefe, and Grant Ament started in the semifinals. Moore and Ament have been rotating in and out of the attack spot adjacent the two lefties all season, so the both of them starting there would be the most seamless fit.
Bates and his staff do have other options. Starting Bowering at attack would be a bold move, but that’s a possibility if the club wants to leave two lefties down there and try to soak up a pole to leave Tom Schreiber, Moore, or one of the club’s other midfielders with a shorty. Ryan Ambler is another emergency lefty option, but it’s unlikely that Bates will put that high a priority on maintaining continuity of the handedness of his attack line.
Tre Leclaire could start or get looks at attack as well. His value as a utility player in the middle of the field may be too high — especially in Harris’ absence — to leave him at attack. But his positionless-ness gives the Archers yet another option.
Fields being out changes the nature of today’s Cash App Championship. But the Archers are fortunate to have a versatile roster of offensive players who can at least partially account for his absence.