Waterdogs vs. Chrome: Matchup Preview
By Josh Schafer | Jul 31, 2020
Chrome will face-off with the Waterdogs at 9:30 p.m. ET exclusively on NBC Sports Gold. Following two losses, the Waterdogs enter the game searching for their first win in club history while Chrome enters following a 13-12 overtime loss to the Archers.
Due to delays prior to Thursday’s game, Chrome will enter this game on about 18 hours rest, one of the shorter rest periods of any team in the Championship Series thus far.
What Waterdogs will we see?
Through two games, we’ve seen two versions of the Waterdogs. There’s the first half Waterdogs, which have outscored opponents 14-9. Then there’s the second half Waterdogs, the team that’s blown two halftime leads and been outscored 11-3 in those 24 minutes.
Their opponent, Chrome, has played nearly opposite in two of its three games. Against Chaos, Chrome ripped off an 8-0 run and came back from down six goals against the Archers on Thursday night.
In the first half of both games the Waterdogs have looked dangerous running classic two-man games and finding open feeds. At their best, the Waterdogs have neutralized elite faceoff specialist Trevor Baptiste and dominated the groundball game. They’ll need something similar to Connor Farell and Chrome if they’re going to win the game.
The Waterdogs have operated best when sharing the ball. The expansion team has assisted on 11 of its 17 goals through two games. When the offense looks stagnant, watch for how quickly the ball is moving and how they’re trying to initiate. Based on what we’ve seen so far, the Waterdogs will need quicker passes to get the defense moving and exploit a missed two or three slide rather than one dodge leading to a goal.
John Galloway is back
During the Waterdogs scoring droughts, they’ve often run into a hot goalie making saves on the doorstep. Through three games John Galloway is averaging 15.3 saves per game and has locked in for stretches in each of Chrome’s last two games.
Down the stretch of Thursday’s game, Galloway denied several shots that kept Chrome in the lead. In one sequence, he denied three shots within a few yards of the crease and eventually led to possession for Chrome.
If Chrome’s defense can contest shots and limit unmarked shots from on-the-run shooters, it could be a long evening for the Waterdogs.
BJ Grill will likely draw a Justin Guterding or Jordan Wolf matchup. Either could be an interesting matchup for the Waterdogs leader in caused turnovers and will prove crucial to limiting Chrome offense.
In Chrome’s most recent game against the Archers, Chrome scored three goals in the first half while Guterding and Wolfe combined for one goal. While Chrome struggled to gain possession in the first half, when it did have the ball, Matt McMahon’s physical play on Wolf prevented Chrome’s offense from running through the attackman. It led to turnovers, fast possessions, and an all-around weaker Chrome offense.
Chrome has fallen back to 2-1 and would need some finagling to still come out with the top seed as both the Whipsnakes (2-0) and Archers (3-0) haven’t lost yet. For a new team like the Waterdogs, this game feels important to gain some traction with a win against a good club before the elimination rounds begin.