By Austin Owens | Jul 9, 2021
Where to Watch
- 8:00PM ET
- Friday, July 9th
The opening game of Week 5 in the PLL sees a matchup of two teams that desperately need to get back into the win column heading into the home stretch of the season.
The Cannons have seemingly been in every single game this season. Up until their Week 4 matchup against Chaos, they had been in three one-goal losses. They sit at the bottom of the league standings with a 1-4 record.
On the other side, the Waterdogs were flying high just a few weeks ago, but a pair of losses have brought them back to earth and have them searching for answers.
Somebody is going to get back in the win column to open Week 5. The question is which team will get their second doubleheader weekend started with a bang.
Who Ya Got?
Despite having a worse record, DraftKings Sportsbook has the Cannons as a -1.5 goal favorite heading into the opening matchup of Week 5.
The Cannons also have a lot of fans on their side when it comes to PLL Pick ‘Em, as 68 percent of fans have gone with them to take their second win of the year.
Struggles at the stripe
The Cannons and Waterdogs both sit at the bottom half of the league in faceoff percentage at this point in the season.
Quirk has looked to address his team’s struggles as they sit at a league-worst 36 percent from the stripe through five games. He acquired Kevin Reisman from the Whipsnakes in exchange for Drew Simoneau and Chris Hogan this week.
Reisman won a title with Quirk on the Cannons last year in the MLL bubble. So he will hope to continue that success in his first game with his new(ish) team.
On the other side, Jake Withers has been a pain in the sides of every faceoff specialist he’s gone up against. He’s won just 11 percent of his clamps on the year, but he turns every single faceoff into a three-on-three war for a ground ball, giving Zach Currier and Ryland Rees a chance on the wings.
It’s not going to be a kind welcome to the PLL for Reisman, as Withers beats up on the opposition all game long. This will be a crucial battle for each team.
The Statline Stuffer
Currier has had the craziest run of statlines in the league this season, proving in his second year with the Waterdogs why he was the first overall pick in the 2020 Entry Draft.
The Peterborough, Ontario native finished last game against the Redwoods with three goals, four assists, a caused turnover, and SEVEN ground balls. He’s posted six-plus ground balls in four of his five games while also pitching in with CTs and of course, points.
Currier is going to have to be at the top of his game once again to help the Dogs in this matchup. His play as a two-way midfielder is pivotal to the success of head coach Andy Copelan’s side.
Lyle bound for a bounce back?
Lyle Thompson is nearly sitting at three points a game this season with the Cannons, but in his last two contests, he’s been held to just a goal and two assists.
It’s not bad production, but the spotlight on him is so big that it becomes a talking point when he doesn’t post three-to-four points every game. That’s a little unfair to Lyle, but he’s arguably the best player in the world, so it’s not surprising that this has raised some eyebrows heading into a virtual must-win for the Cannons.
He should have a good shot to get back into form in Week 5. The last time the Cannons and Waterdogs went head to head back in Week 1, Thompson had four goals and was dominant offensively.
The Dogs currently sit first in the league in scores against. So this could be a big one for No. 4.
What’s at Stake?
Is it too dramatic to say everything?
With both of these teams sitting in the bottom two spots in the league, this game is crucial for them if they want to keep their postseason aspirations alive. Following the All-Star Game next weekend in San Jose, there are just two weeks remaining in the regular season.
The Waterdogs do sit one victory ahead of the Cannons due to their strong weekend in Atlanta back in Week 2. So this game might be do or die for head coach Sean Quirk’s side. But the Waterdogs have also dropped two straight since that doubleheader sweep. So they are going to come out hungry to get back in the win column.