Photo by Brian Chu – Ultiphotos.com
The Rainmakers (0-2) lost to the Portland Stags (3-0) in their home opener, 22-25, losing the lead in a second half run by the Stags.
The Seattle Rainmakers played the Portland Stags in the blazing sun at Rainier Beach High School in South Seattle yesterday for their first home game of the 2016 Season. The Rainmakers and Stags played a close game but ultimately Seattle couldn’t come back against a renewed attack by Portland in the second half.
The Rainmakers and Stags traded points in the first quarter of the game, entering the break with Seattle leading 7-6. Brad Houser had an especially good first quarter, catching three goals. Danny Trytiak and Houser were a potent duo, each throwing an assist to the other for a score in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Rainmakers pushed their lead to three, ending the first half at 13-10. Eddie Feeley threw two assists, Matthew Neeley had one assist and one goal, and Cam Bailey had two goals. Seattle had three breaks in a row and outscored Portland 6-4. Issac Entz said that the Stags were unprepared for the intensity of the Rainmakers. “We brought the fire in the first half. They weren’t ready to play at that level.” The fact that the Stags played a game the day before in Vancouver against the Nighthawks probably did not help their energy level. The Stags handily won against the unseasoned Nighthawks on Saturday without needing to work very hard. In the first half of Sunday’s game, the Rainmakers came out raring to go, and the Stags still had their less competitive Vancouver mindset. The Rainmakers used this to their advantage. Early in the second half the Rainmakers scored five goals and the Stags scored three, giving a nice five point lead to the Rainmakers, 18-13.
In the middle of the third quarter the Stags stepped up their game. The renewed intensity of Portland, combined with multiple unforced errors from Seattle, let Portland tie the game back up. Seattle’s troubles included turfing the disc, throwing passes that were intercepted, and throwing overly floaty passes in the increased wind that were easily picked up by Portland. The Stags converted five breaks in a row and slowed down the Rainmakers momentum. The third quarter ended 19-19.
In the first half of the fourth quarter Portland and Seattle traded goals, each scoring two goals of their own, including a floaty throw that was triumphantly grabbed by Seattle rookie Trey Miller, leaving it tied at 21-21. The Stags scored again, bringing the score to 21-22. The Rainmakers took possession of the disc and worked it down to the end zone, where Portland’s Raphy Hayes forced a turn with an athletic layout block to prevent the score. The Stags went on another run, scoring three more points in a row that effectively won them the game.
Rainmaker Spencer Sheridan said, “They were able to rattle off a couple of breaks in a row at the end of the third [quarter] and beginning of the fourth [quarter] that stopped our momentum after we rattled a couple off. We just couldn’t really recover from that.”
Evan Klein said the Portland defense stopped Seattle. “We were grinding all the way down the field and then couldn’t punch it in, so that was killing us… It got hot, we got tired.” The heat was definitely a factor in the game. The record-breaking high of 80 degrees in Seattle was 17 degrees above normal, conditions more often seen in the middle of the summer in the Pacific Northwest than in April. Clay Dewey-Valentine said after the game that the Rainmakers mental game let them down. “In the second half, I think we got flustered. I think our team started thinking a lot about what we were doing and the state of the game, and we let that get to us and threw a lot of uncharacteristic turnovers.” Seattle scored another point to bring the final score to 22-25, but there was just not enough time left in the game for them to win.
The Rainmakers and Stags will meet once more at the end of the regular season on Saturday, June 18 in Portland. The Rainmakers are confident that they can win against the Stags. “[Our mental game] is very fixable. That’s things that we can control about our mentality and about our presence of mind and throwing to our receivers and making smart decisions,” says Dewey-Valentine. Sheridan is also upbeat about their chances against Portland. “I think in terms of playing with the Stags it’s just knowing that we can run with those guys,” says Sheridan. “We saw what we could do for a full half, and we kind of let it slip away in the second half, but we know that we can play that full game against them.”
The Rainmakers will meet the Vancouver Nighthawks (0-2) at home at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, WA at 6:30 pm. The annual Border Bid game will coincide with DiscNW’s Spring Reign youth tournament.
Get tickets here.