During the 2013 season, the Rainmakers went 0-3 at Boxer Stadium and 1-0 at home against the Dogfish. At face value, these are not favorable odds, but Seattle and San Francisco are very different teams now from what they were last year. This weekend puts their offseason training to the test.

With returning stars like 2013 Western Conference MVP Adam “Chicken” Simon, Danny Trytiak and Sam Harkness, the Rainmakers are ready to take the 2014 season by storm. And while much of the roster are MLU rookies, practices have looked focused and strong, and the team has high expectations for this season.

San Francisco also has their sights set high, and they’ll be under pressure to prove their mettle against the new Rainmakers squad while facing the challenges of a rebuilt Dogfish roster themselves. They’ll undoubtedly be looking to veterans Drew Kim, Mac Taylor and 2013 team MVP Evan Boucher to take the reigns.

But rather than concentrating on the opposition and developing strategy with their stars in mind, the Rainmakers have approached this weekend’s match focusing only on what they are able to control.

“To be honest, we haven’t even talked about who is on their team, what they do, or how to stop it,” said Danny Trytiak. “We have really just been focusing on us and what we can do to be a better team.”

This will prove to be an intelligent strategy for both sides since weather will be such a factor. This forecast in San Francisco this weekend calls for crossfield winds of middling strength from the west. As such, throwers with strong breakmark throws will be rewarded, while defensive strategies that trap weaker throwers on the sidelines will be highly effective.

“Making sure we don’t get stuck on the sideline will be important so we can stop them from throwing that double team on,” said Trytiak. “Double teams usually are easy to get out of in this league with such a big field and such experienced throwers, but with how windy it is in San Fran, those guys know how to use that homefield weather to their advantage.”

Fortunately, Seattle’s handling core is extremely strong in the wind, and the Rainmakers defense is well equipped to throw the kitchen sink at the Dogfish with an array of complex downfield sets and disorienting handler defense formations.

In terms of injuries coming into Week 1, the name on everyone’s mind is Adam Simon. Rainmakers fans can rest assured though that this is a formality. Simon was nursing a broken rib from a skiing accident in early March, but he has made a full recovery and has been an active participant at practices, hence the “Probable” listing. But Seattle has made it clear that they will not be relying on any one player to get things done.

“I know San Francisco will be watching out for Adam ‘Chicken’ Simon,” said defensive handler Eddie Feeley. “He played club in San Francisco for a few years and they know his throwing prowess. Without giving too much away, we have some players in different roles from club or last year that will surprise San Francisco and give us an advantage.”

Whether Seattle or San Francisco comes out on top, this match will set the tone for the season for the Western Conference. If you’re in the San Francisco area this weekend, this season opener is not to be missed.

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