The Seven Count | March 31

March 31, 2022
By Adam Ruffner

  • The San Diego Growlers have added the big-arm talents of Chris Mazur for 2022. The signing reunites Mazur with former LA teammates Sean McDougall and Jesse Cohen, three main pieces of an Aviators offense that finished second in the league in scoring in 2018; McDougall led the league in goals that season, and Mazur had a career year, finishing with a team-high 53 assists as the anchor thrower for LA’s semifinals squad. Mazur’s talent for the longball figures to slot in nicely alongside Tim Okita in the backfield, and will help optimize the downfield cutting of Cohen, McDougall, and perennial All-AUDL member Travis Dunn.

  • Last Saturday’s preseason showcase between the Oakland Spiders and Portland Nitro featured a fantastic back-and-forth offensive duel between Oakland’s Keenan Laurence and Portland’s Leandro Marx. Both players finished with double-digit scores and a mixtape full of highlight plays; Marx showed off his playmaking acrobatics again and again, out-leaping and out maneuvering Oakland defenders for the disc with ease; Laurence found his stride midway through the second half and didn’t slow down, skying a pack of Nitro players for a buzzer-beater at the end of the third, and freeing himself from coverage at will in deep space for big huck scores as the Spiders rallied for the tie. 

  • Despite struggling a bit in the second half of their debut exhibition—the Nitro surrendered 14 second half goals to the Spiders—Portland looks like a playoff team in the West Division. The team was missing a few starters on both lines, and still managed to look competitive, particularly on offense where the Nitro were in rhythm and potent with their deep game right out of the gate; Portland finished with 12 huck completions on the night, nearly one more per game than the highest average from last season. Marx, Eli Friedman, and Daniel Lee all look like big time producers for a dangerous Nitro O-line that averaged nearly 11 yards per completion as a team.

  • He played in just five games as a rookie for Boston Glory in 2021, but Cole Davis-Brand is one of the more intriguing players to watch heading into 2022. CDB averaged over 300 yards and three scores per game in his first season, and his uptempo-bordering-on-frenetic pace can be very disruptive for opposing defenses, particularly when he finds his rhythm with his deep arsenal of blades and overhead throws. He had five scores and over 400 yards of offense against New York in Week 12, and looked natural slotting alongside Ben Sadok as a primary thrower.

  • Adding to an ever-deepening list of returning veterans, the DC Breeze announced the signing of two-way star Delrico Johnson. Last a member of the Breeze in 2018, Johnson is a prototypical hybrid, able to slot in on either offensive or defensive rotations as both a thrower and a receiver. Johnson finished with 65 total scores and 21 blocks in 14 appearances with the Breeze in his last full season of play, and could have similar levels of production playing for a DC team with even more talent in 2022.

  • Don’t look past the New York Empire picking up a pair of veteran throwers in Mark Lin and Scott Xu in free agency. A seven-year journeyman, Lin has never played more than nine games in a season, but has been impactful whenever he takes the field; Lin averaged three assists and over 300 throwing yards in two appearances with the Spiders in 2021. Xu was a former captain in Philadelphia, and has ample experience as a center handler on both offensive and defensive lineups. With the Empire’s need to figure out a complementary D-line handler piece alongside Ben Katz, Xu could be an instrumental addition for New York.

  • With DC reloading and New York improving up and down their roster, the premier rivalry matchup in the East Division continues to get more appetizing as their Week 1 head-to-head showdown draws closer. The Empire are 5-1 in their last six meetings with the Breeze, but three of those wins were by a single goal. Strangely enough, the two teams haven’t met in the postseason since 2018. But that hasn’t dampened any of the sparks between these divisional foes.