Preview: Duel for Commonwealth Cup vs Philadelphia Phoenix

by Larry Snyder

Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (2-1-0) face their Keystone State rivals, the Philadelphia Phoenix (0-4-0) Saturday, May 27, at Highmark Stadium. The Commonwealth Cup is on the line when these two American Ultimate Disc League squads come together at 6:00 p.m. EDT.

It was a tough loss last week on the road as the Minnesota Wind Chill downed the Black and Gold 26-12 at Sea Foam Stadium. The pair of Bryan Vohnoutka and Quinn Snider claimed four goals apiece for the Wind Chill. The crucial stat was the T-birds’ 29 turnovers, more than their first two matches of 2023 put together.

All was not doom or gloom for the Thunderbirds as first-year player Mikey O’Brien made an incredible block early in the match. His final box score numbers were two goals, three assists, and two blocks.

Max Sheppard contributed four assists against Minnesota and has only a single throwaway over three contests this season. Former Tampa Bay Cannon Carl Johnson put up three goals on the Wind Chill defense and led the Cannons with 22 scores last season. The third-year player from Tufts University, Michael Dillard, came up with two goals in the defeat.

Looking at the AUDL roster report on Friday, May 27, has Thunderbird Steve Mogielski as questionable for the matchup. Listed as out is Clint McSherry (three goals, seven assists). The group of Reid Duncan, Joe Molder, David Snead, Chris Wohl, Elliot Hare, Ben Evashavik, Jimmy Towle (four goals, two assists), Andrew Yurchak, Sam VanDusen, and Alex Warrington are not rostered for this weekend. My concern is the trio of Towle, McSherry, and VanDusen not being in uniform.

Check Out: Seven Reasons To Attend The Next Thunderbirds Game

From AUDL YouTube: Pittsburgh Thunderbirds At Minnesota Wind Chill – Full Game Highlights – May 20, 2023…


Philadelphia is 0-4-0 this season with 14.75 points scored and 18.50 points allowed under head coach Roger Chu. In their last contest, the Scarlet, Vermilion, and White lost a close one at home, 18-16, to the New York Empire (4-0-0).

James Pollard, a 26-year-old cutter, assembled a career contest against New York with four goals, four assists, and 682 total throwing and receiving yards. Sean Mott provided two goals, four assists, and four hockey assists, and Nate Little delivered three blocks. Containing Pollard is vital for a Thunderbirds victory.

CJ Colicchio returns to the City of Bridges in a Philly uniform, and it is his first game back after a hand injury. Colicchio supplied 23 goals, 27 assists, and 11 blocks in 2022 for the Black and Gold.

Returning to the AUDL roster report, Philadelphia’s Christopher Zaleski, Leo Warren, Matthew Bartley, Ben Levy, and Andres Rodriquez are out for the match. Austin Lillis, Greg Martin (15 goals), Scott Heyman, Casey Thornton, Gavin Abrahamsson, Ian Dietrich, former T-birds Tyler DeGirolamo, and Alex Thorne (two goals and four assists) are not rostered. The absence of Martin and Thorne could tip the final score to the T-birds.


Broadcast: If you can not reach the South Side, catch every pull on the subscription streaming service Matt Weiss will let you know about every goal.

Tickets: Your seats for Thunderbird home contests are online here. Kyle Archer is your in-game host, and the good times will roll at Highmark Stadium.

Updates: Thunderbirds Twitter At @PGHThunderbirds – Facebook @ pghthunderbirds – Instagram @ pghthunderbirds

Weather: The Weather Channel projects how much sun and clouds will be around here on the web.

NEXT UP: The T-Birds soar to the Badger State for another showdown with the Madison Radicals Sunday, June 4, at Breese Stevens Field. The rematch from Week 1 gets underway at 5:00 p.m. CDT.