CJ Costabile 2-pointer
Photo courtesy of Nick Ieradi.

How Chaos capitalizes from beyond the 2-point arc

By Daniel May

Aug 11, 2023

The Bomb Squad is back.

The past two weeks have been all about 2-pointers.

In the back-and-forth loss to Whipsnakes two weeks ago, Chaos found themselves on the other side of the win column because they gave up crucial momentum-swinging 2-pointers off the faceoff. 

In Week 7, Chaos were able to erase a late four-goal deficit to edge the Redwoods 14-12 off the back of timely 2-pointers.

“The 2-pointers seemed to be certainly a big momentum changer with Mickey’s [Ian MacKay’s goal in the 4th] and then obviously with CJ’s to go up by a goal. They played an incredible role in the outcome of all these games. Last week we played the Whipsnakes at the Star and it’s a great back-and-forth game. We ended up losing by a goal and they had two two-pointers,” said Head Coach and General Manager Andy Towers after the game.

It’s no secret that 2-pointers have added an element of flair to the PLL. When your team is scoring at an even rate as your opponent and can squeak in a two-pointer to tie it up or get the lead, that swings momentum. Especially when nearly every matchup is going to overtime or ending in a nail-biting one-goal finish. 

“We were talking about it in the hallway, you play games in this league and if you give up one or two 2-pointers, or at the smaller end of hitting 2-pointers, it seems like it’s a tough game to win if you’re on the wrong side of that aspect of the game,” said Andy Towers in the post-game press conference on Saturday. 

That one extra point makes a difference - 2-pointers matter! 

Certainly, they’ll play a big role again in the rematch versus the Whipsnakes today at 8pm on ESPN+.

How Will the Chaos Generate 2-Pointers?

Chaos have shown versatility in how they generate 2-point goals.They’ve scored four this season and all of them have come in different ways: Early offense, faceoff, transition, and an end-of-game empty netter.

Their versatility comes from Ian MacKay, Jarrod Neumann, CJ Costabile, and Zach Geddes.

MacKay opens up opportunities in transition because he either keeps opposing offensive midfielders on the field who aren’t capable defenders, or the offensive mid subs off and he has an open lane to the cage. “The Swiss Army Machete,” as Andy Towers likes to call him, does everything. 

His goal against the Redwoods came off a faceoff sub. Rowlett won the draw, threw it down the side, MacKay came blazing off the bench and stepped in with his hands free from behind the arc. 

Being down by three prior to the goal, MacKay’s versatility opened up the floodgates that fueled the fourth quarter Chaos comeback.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was Costabile’s goal in transition, which gave Chaos the 13-12 lead.

Chaos got up-and-out on every Blaze save, creating chances in transition with their legs and savvy. Given that they have players like Geddes who have blazing speed, they’re able to attack quickly and with an odd-number advantage.

Mix that with poles with range and you have the perfect recipe for converting in transition. Costabile stays on the field and since he’s nearly 20 yards from the cage, nobody covers him. Once he receives the pass and steps-in a few yards outside the 2-point arc, he’s able to shoot it off the defender’s hip. The goalie had no chance.

Since 2019, teams have shot 15.8% on 2-pt chances on fast breaks. If Chaos can shoot the two-pointer on fast breaks at a higher efficiency, they’ll be a really hard team to beat.

Speedy defensive mids, two-way players, and long poles with range; Chaos have the players to create many two-point chances in many facets of the game. Chaos understand that they have this strength and hunt these opportunities.

It will be crucial to get on the right side of the 2-point battle in the rematch against the Whipsnakes who made them pay last time out.

Capitalizing on 2-point opportunities and matching-up in transition will be a big point of emphasis in the rematch. Learning from past mistakes and building on new lessons will be imperative to their success.

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