Quarterfinals: Atlas-Cannons Preview

By Katie McNulty | Aug 21, 2021

Where to Watch 

  • Saturday, August 21
  • 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Live on NBC 

Major Matchup

Anytime you have a playoff game, the intensity is going to be high, and so will the matchups. But for this game, all eyes will be on Lyle Thompson and Michael Rexrode for this week’s quarterfinal game. In their first meeting this season, Rexrode held Thompson to 0 goals, which was the first time Lyle had been held scoreless since July 14, 2016. Thompson got the best of Rexrode and the Atlas defense in the second meeting, where he finished with four goals and two assists. We can expect this matchup to be an all-out scrappy battle in a win-or-go-home situation like this. 

Paul Rabil Trade

In March, Paul Rabil was traded from the Atlas to the Cannons. The Atlas received Rexrode, Dox Aitken, and a 2022 first round Pick in exchange for Rabil and Zach Goodrich. It’s safe to say that the trade worked out for both teams. Rabil will be hungry to make a playoff run with the Cannons, the team where his professional lacrosse career started — and what better team to get a win against than Atlas — his former team.  

Cannons remain winless against Atlas 

Atlas and the Cannons have already squared off twice this season, where the Bulls found themselves on top in both meetings. The two losses by the Cannons have both been by one goal. The Cannons have the last seed in the playoffs, so they are considered the underdogs, but it’s extremely difficult to beat a team three times in a season. 

From 7% to 77% 

Atlas is a completely different team than from the beginning of the season. After they suffered an 18-6 loss to the Archers in the first game of the season, only 7% of fans picked them to win their next matchup against the Redwoods.  In week two, Atlas busted 93% of the Pick ’Em brackets in a 12-9 win. Since the first game, they ended the season going 6-2 in regular-season play. 

77% of fans have them beating the Cannons tomorrow. You may ask what’s changed since week 1? Besides the Jim Brown MVP finalist Jeff Teat being a game-changer, their family-style mentality has helped this team clinch the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. They’ve had 13 different goal scorers so far. 

Rookies vs. the Vets

While the Cannons are projected to lose this game, one thing that they have is experience, and you can’t buy that. Cannons head coach Sean Quirk is coming off of an MLL championship, and so are Nick Marrocco, Zach Goodrich and Kevin Reisman. They also have Rabil and Brodie Merrill, two of the more seasoned veterans in the league. Merrill knows exactly what it takes to win a championship at the highest level.. Merrill also has his own coaching experience against Atlas. He’s the head coach at the Hill Academy, where he coached Atlas rookie Jeff Teat. Teat is one of five Atlas rookies that consistently plays. We know Atlas can play some great lacrosse, but does this young team have everything it takes to beat an experienced Cannons team? Only time will tell. 

The Stripe

It’s no surprise that the Cannons have not been performing where they want at the stripe. They sit in last place at the faceoff X, going 36%, while Atlas has won 62% of faceoffs. They started the season with Drew Simoneau and Tommy Kelly, but both men were released. Then they picked up Peyton Smith from the player pool, but he was also released. In a trade with the Whipsnakes, the Cannons received Kevin Reisman, who’s won 38% of his faceoffs. Reisman went up against Trevor Baptiste once this season, only going 3-20. For the first time this season, the Cannons will dress Brendan Fowler. They will be using both Fowler and Reisman tomorrow. Fowler’s won 44% of his matchups against Baptiste. The Cannons are 0-5 when they’ve won 37% or less at the stripe and 3-1 when they’ve won 38% or more at the faceoff X. 

Jack Concannon Ruled Out

Jack Concannon was officially ruled out for this week's game. In week four, Concannon left the game in an ambulance after suffering an apparent groin injury. Concannon didn’t play last week, but he did dress. On Wednesday, he was listed as questionable on the PLL injury list. While you would love to have your starting goalie in action, JD Colarusso has stepped up big, going 3-1 in his four starts. Colarusso has a 49% save percentage. 

What’s at Stake? 

Because Chaos defeated the Archers 13-10 Friday night, whoever wins this game will play them in the semifinals in Philadelphia on September 5.

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