Film Study: How Waterdogs SSDM Picks Set Up Michael Sowers in Transition

By Adam Lamberti | Sep 20, 2023

There’s been a trend in the past couple of weeks of Michael Sowers scoring relatively easy goals in transition using SSDM picks.

It all started against my Whipsnakes, when Sowers scored on a pick from Jake Higgins that saw defenseman Matt Dunn get lost in the shuffle.

Then, the next week against the Cannons in the semifinals, Sowers flew by Jack Kielty on a pick from Christian Scarpello and then literally flew towards the net.

While it’ll be on film for the Archers defense to scout, Sowers has already scored against the Archers earlier this season in the same fashion, using a Matt Whitcher pick to free his hands.

The Waterdogs don’t do anything overly complicated with their pick game between Sowers and their SSDMs, so why is it so hard to defend?

More often than not it’s because the SSDM will have an offensive midfielder on them that doesn’t help the close defender on Sowers. 

So when Whitcher, Higgins, Scarpello, or another Waterdogs SSDM sets a pick, the offensive midfielder will ‘velcro’ or stick to the SSDM and leave the close defender fighting through to get to Sowers, which is not ideal given Sowers' quickness.

In the first two clips, the close defender on Sowers has to go underneath the pick, which is a mistake because Sowers gets his hands free with ease.

Against the Cannons, Christian Scarpello sets a good pick on Jack Kielty to give Sowers a step, which is all he needs as he explodes towards the net.

For the Waterdogs, this simple strategy is a recipe for success. They are shooting 40.5% in transition, best in the PLL, and a part of that is the chemistry between Sowers and the SSDMs in transition.

For the Archers, the key to defending this is to switch these matchups or have the offensive midfielder come out and jam Sowers to slow him down and then hopefully recover back to the SSDM. I know having an offensive midfielder like Tom Schreiber or Ryan Ambler on Sowers isn’t exactly what you want, but Sowers has shown that he is too quick and elusive for the close defender without a little bit of help.

And during the last game of the season, you never want to give up easy goals.

Look out for this cat and mouse game during the Cash App Championship this Sunday at 3:00 p.m. on ABC.