May 31, 2019
By Adam Ruffner
Parenthetical numbers indicate team's ranking in previous list. All-Stars for each team listed.
21. Detroit Mechanix (21)
With Montreal's win on the road in Philly, the Mechanix once again claim the dubious honor of last remaining winless team in the league after falling at home to the Radicals last Sunday. Though there were silver linings in their performance—Detroit was tied with Madison 7-7 at half!—as a team, the Mechanix committed 28 turnovers, dropping them to 18th out of 21 AUDL teams in turnovers per game at 23.20.
All-Star: Joe Cubitt
20. San Jose Spiders (20)
After blitzing through eight games in the first seven weeks of the season, the reeling Spiders finally got a bye week to recoup and reorganize. It might come as a surprise that San Jose's offense is ninth in the league in goals per game (20.88), if only because their defense is dead last in goals allowed (24.50 per game), and fourth to last in defensive efficiency. The disparity in lines has produced the second worst goal differential in the AUDL at -29, only ahead of the Mechanix.
All-Star: Antoine Davis
19. Austin Sol (18)
After scoring 15 against the Roughnecks in Week 8, the Sol are averaging just 18 goals per game this season, tying them for fourth worst in the league. The problem is turnovers, as Austin is second to last in the AUDL at 24.88 pere game. Against Dallas, the Sol's two top handlers on offense combined for 11 throwaways on just 71 throws, ekeing out an atrocious 86.59 completion rate. The Sol like to take their chances downfield, but it has cost them mightily as a result.
All-Star: Kyle Henke
18. Seattle Cascades (18)
Seattle hosts San Jose on Saturday in a battle to get out of the West Division standings dungeon, and you can be sure the Cascades have circled this matchup on the calendar after losing 28-27 in double overtime to the Spiders all the way back in Week 1 of the season. Seattle has had four weeks off since their last game on May 4, so they will be fighting the age old "rest versus rust" double-edged sword of having a midseason bye.
All-Star: Khalif El-Salaam
17. Ottawa Outlaws (16)
Similar to Austin, the Outlaws can attribute a lot of their woes to turnovers, which inevitably leads . to inconsistency on offense. Ottawa's problem might be predictabilty and overreliance: Four players—Alec Arsenault, Greg Ellis, Jeremy Hill, and David Colic—account for over 60 percent of the team's goals so far in 2019, allowing opposing defenses to anticipate throws and provide help defenders in coverage. In New York last Saturday, the Empire consistently shadowed Arsenault deep with two defenders, easily swatting away the Outlaws deep attack.
All-Star: Alec Arsenault
16. Montreal Royal (15)
Entering Week 8 winless after their first three games, the Royal started off their two-game road trip with a 25-15 dominating performance over the Phoenix in Philly. And then Sunday happened, and Montreal, too, endured a 10-goal whooping, this time by a young and fresh-legged Breeze squad. Quentin Bonnaud is the most dangerous receiver in the league—he notched an absurd 14 goals over the weekend—and is now averaging six goals per game in five appearances. Montreal still has five home games left on their schedule, but at 1-4 at the midway point, is it too little too late?
All-Star: Quentin Bonnaud
15. Minnesota Wind Chill (13)
What happened to the league's highest scoring offense? After scoring 50 in their first two games of 2019, Minnesota has averaged just 19.20 goals per game over their last five, in which they've gone 2-3; that scoring average drops to a woeful 16.25 if you remove a 31-goal win over Detroit. Stagnant offensive motion leading to turnovers seems to be the issue, as the Wind Chill an abominable 89 percent of their 223 throws as a team, and weather was not the factor last Saturday—the opposing Thunderbirds completed a robust 96 percent of their 341 throws as a team.
All-Star: Bryan Vohnoutka
14. Philadelphia Phoenix (11)
Two big home losses for the Phoenix have been the direct result of slow starts. Philly fell into a 7-2 first half hole against the Empire on April 27, and then did so again this past Saturday against the Royal. As a result, the offense has played with little confidence—the Phoenix haven't scored 20 goals in four of their five games this season, and their 17.60 scoring average is third worst. The team has an off week in Week 9, which is a great chance to recalibrate with just over half of their schedule still to come.
All-Star: Sean Mott
13. Tampa Bay Cannons (12)
Missing MVP candidate and one man throwing band Andrew Roney this past weekend, the Cannons traveled to Atlanta and mustered 14 goals against the Hustle zone. It was Tampa Bay's lowest goal total of the season, and they had a visibly hard time doing much against Atlanta's defense other than moving the disc laterally across the field. Bradley Seuntjens had another solid performance, upping his goal total to 17 in 2019. But he is the only player on the team to reach double digit scoring through the Cannons' first six games.
All-Star: Andrew Roney
12. Atlanta Hustle (14)
Winners of three out of their past four, the Hustle have found their rhythm on offense, using their fast paced, smallball approach to keep opposing defenses on their heels. Atlanta is averaging 23.5 goals per game during that stretch, an average that would put them second in the league for the whole season. And that number is even more impressive when you consider their past four games have been against some of the best defenses in the league. The true trick to the Hustle's recent success is their throwers' decision making: The top seven most utilized throwers on the roster are all completing 94 percent or higher on their passes.
All-Star: Matt Smith
11. Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (16)
Playing like a true team, the Thunderbirds just completed a four-game homestand in May by going 3-1 and allowing just 16.25 goals per game to opposing offenses, and with quality wins over Chicago and Minnesota. There's no secret sauce here for the Thunderbirds except for some good ol' fashioned Steel City work ethic and camaraderie. Pittsburgh plays focused and together, and their pursuit on defense right now is as good as anyone in the league, especially in deep space. Anson Reppermund has been great, but equally important has been the transition of Sam VanDusen and his cannon arm to the D-line, giving the Thunderbirds a potent attack off of turnovers.
All-Star: Max Sheppard
10. Indianapolis AlleyCats (8)
The Indianapolis AlleyCats' three losses have come by a combined eight goals, meaning their a few lucky breaks away from being 6-1 and leading the Midwest Division. New additions (Matzuka) and internally cultivated young talent (Gross, Carpenter, Jacobs among others) have been central to the team's successes so far. But Week 8 was an important reminder that AUDL legends Keenan Plew and Cameron Brock are still potent pieces of the 'Cats offensive attack. Plew was his traditionally efficient self, putting up four assists and four goals to go along with a 47-for-49 throwing performance, while Brock notched four goals on 31 touches with just a single turnvoer.
All-Star: Rick Gross
9. Los Angeles Aviators (9)
After dropping their first two matchups of 2019 to the first place Growlers, the Los Angeles Aviators still have two more opportunities to even the season series starting tomorrow as they host San Diego. The key to the Aviators' success against their SoCal rivals might be player-coach Tyler Bacon, who is having his best year as a pro in his six-year career. A champion with San Jose in 2014, a member of the Growlers in 2017, and an Aviator in the remaining seasons, Bacon has been a sparkplug of production, and had two of his best games this season against San Diego, combining for nine assists on 48-of-51 throws in their meetings so far.
8. Chicago Wildfire (10)
The Chicago Wildfire scored 18 goals as a team in their Week 8 win over Indy, and Pawel Janas assited or scored on 10 of them. And for as much as Janas doesn't personally care about his stats, the man gets buckets. He's currently second in the AUDL in assists (32), second in assists per game (6.40), first in points played per game (30.40), tied for fourth in completions (311), and second in completions per game (62.20), all while completing his passes at a ridiculous 96.30 percent rate. His usage and overall productions is down, slightly, from his record-breaking 2018 season, but Janas is just as important to Chicago's success as ever.
All-Star: Pawel Janas
7. Madison Radicals (4)
Last Saturday was a rough night in Canada for Wisconsin sports. After sticking close with the Rush in Toronto for most of the first half, the Madison Radicals were overwhelmed by a Toronto defense that quickly expanded a 9-7 lead in the second quarter to 15-9 by midway through the third. Sure, the reigning champs could point to some significant absences on offense in Graffy, Shriwise, and others. But the fact of the matter is that the team has been playing with low energy for the past few weeks, and they don't quite seem to grasp how large the target has gotten on their backs for opponents in the wake of hoisting the trophy last August. Beating the champ is significant, and everyone wants a piece of the Radicals right now.
6. DC Breeze (6)
The DC Breeze are playing as well as any team in the league right now, fueled by the MVP play of Rowan and an incredibly steady offense—the Breeze have scored 20+ goals in each of their last six games—but it's time to take a moment and appreciate how well the young DC defense has been performing. Lacking a true, star-type coverage defender, the Breeze get it done with a combination of veteran savvy and a squad of guys looking to prove themselves. David Bloodgood is one of the best read-and-poach safeties in the league, and AJ Merriman has emerged as a player capable of matching up with the top talent on opposing teams. And once the Breeze generate a turn, they have Xavier Maxstadt launching missles towards the endzone with aplomb, giving them a powerful counterattack.
All-Star: Rowan McDonnell (captain)
5. San Diego Growlers (5)
With the All-Star rosters finalized today, Sean Ham has to be near the top of the snubs list. He's third overall this season in the AUDL with 28 goals, and eigth all-time in league history with 225 in 57 career games. The remarkable part about Ham is his consistency: He has just eight games in his pro career where he failed to grab multiple goals. Scoring can sometimes be a tricky stat to place importance on, but it is the name of the game, and there are few better at getting in the endzone than Ham.
4. Toronto Rush (7)
For as hard as losing in New York in Week 7 was for the Toronto Rush, it was equally replenishing to return home and give the defendings champs a seven-goal whooping. And it was in true Rush style, too, as seemingly every player contributed in their roles. Cam Harris and Thomson McKnight were the fulcrum for Toronto's offensive attack, Andrew Carroll ranged in space and opened up opportunities for everyone with his cutting, rookie Phil Turner continued to impress on defense with his hustle, and Jeremy Norden was launching dimes, punishing Madison for any little mistake. It was the kind of victory that could ignite a winning streak that carries into the playoffs for the Rush.
All-Star: Cam Harris
3. Dallas Roughnecks (3)
After another win in their rivalry with Austin—and their fifth win in six games—the Dallas Roughnecks have one more game between them and an all-important South Division showdown with the Flyers in Raleigh on June 15. That matchup will be crucial in determining who will get home field for the playoffs as the two teams seem destined to meet in the divisional championship game for the third straight season. And though he had a slow start to the year in April, Carson Wilder was hot in May, dishing eight assists and scoring a team-high 11 goals in three games.
All-Star: Jay Froude
2. Raleigh Flyers (2)
The Raleigh Flyers offensive cutting core trio of Terrence Mitchell, Jacob Fairfax, and Henry Fisher are not only the most talented group in the league, they're also one of the youngest; their combined ages still doesn't hit 70; Mitchell is the aged vet of the group, not turning 24 until August. The three have some of the best production in the league while also being incredibly efficient going about their work: They have combined for 37 assists and 59 goals compared to just 20 total turnovers in 379 total touches on the year. Even with a former MVP, a Mischa, and a cadre of talent all over their roster, the Flyers ceiling this season may come down to their downfield playmakers.
1. New York Empire (1)
With all due respect to Ham, Brock, and other great players who didn't make the All-Star roster, my money for biggest snub this season goes to Harper Garvey, who has maybe been the New York Empire's second best player over the past few weeks (everyone in the East is in Ben Jagt's shadow right now). A throwing prodigy who takes some of the most audacious attempts deep, Garvey has struggled with consistency and decision making the past, but has truly evolved as a handler this year. He leads the best team in the league in both assists (27) and completions (276)—he's nearly 100 completions above number two on the roster, Ben Katz—and is doing so at a career-high 94.50 completion rate. Even though Garvey has an array of All-AUDL level talent to throw to, he's been equally good on his own. Garvey has always been known for his longball, he's improved his ability to generate motion with his legs and dictation, adding an important wrinkle to his game.