Seattle takes on San Francisco this Sunday for the “May the Fourth” theme game, hoping to finish off the beleaguered Dogfish and take the series. This will be a day long remembered…
On paper, the outcome of Sunday’s matchup looks obvious. The Rainmakers are sitting pretty toward the top of the Western Conference with two wins, one loss, and a +4 point differential. The Dogfish are at the bottom: 1-3 with 12 more goals against than for.
Additionally, San Francisco is missing some of their key playmakers: Chris Hart, Aaron Caulfield, Jordan Jeffery, and Tyler Grant to name just a few. Add to the equation that the Rainmakers are hosting the Dogfish on the second day of San Francisco’s doubleheader weekend, plus weather conditions that work against San Francisco’s deep game – the forecast calls for moderate winds, a high likelihood of precipitation, and some possible storms – and it seems like everything is coming up Rainmakers. But Seattle isn’t resting on their laurels for their fourth game just because things are looking good.
“As we’ve seen in our previous games, the Dogfish are capable of making plays no matter who they have on the field,” said offensive cutter Tom Rosatto. “They have a deep roster and we’re aware of that. Them having their full roster or missing a handful of people doesn’t change our focus or the way we attack this game.”
Expect the Seattle offense to stick to its bread and butter: short, fast offense with handlers chasing their throws and physically breaking down their marks over the course of the game.
“Being able to move the ball efficiently and effectively starts with everyone being in the right place at the right time,” said Rosatto. “We’ve still been able to get points on the board from our sets but it hasn’t been as smooth as we’d like. Adjusting downfield as the ball moves will help set us up for easier shots ultimately resulting in more trips to the endzone.”
One factor that might have Seattle fans worried is the Rainmakers injury report, which, among others, lists playmakers Adam “Chicken” Simon, Sam Harkness, and last week’s Spikeball Defensive Play of the Week winner Khalif El-Salaam as inactive.
“Mario and Chicken have been the rocks on the O-line,” said Rosatto. “Whereas they will be missed, I’m confident our offense will still be able to get the job done. We have a number of great throwers on our team that are ready to step in and hold down the offense. Gavin McKibben and Chris Rupp have been solid all year and this weekend is their chance to shine. Matty Zemel and I will likely be floating around the disc as well, and we all know Matty can drop bombs.”
Seattle puts its faith in their deep roster, so this will be a good opportunity to develop the depth of the Rainmakers arsenal as they enter the middle third of their season. One player that has moved to the active roster is Elliot Trotter. It is not immediately clear whether Trotter will see much time on the field – he returned less than a week ago from working on his international Ultimate project, Ultimate Globe Trotter – but his return has certainly been a morale booster.
San Francisco’s offensive plan will be to get on, score quickly, and pray that their D-line keeps them off the field. With Caulfield, Jeffery, Grant, and Greg Husak all inactive, Dogfish captain Evan Boucher will have his work cut out for him. Seattle will do well to force lots of throws and should lean heavily on their vaunted junk defense.
The last time these two teams met in Seattle, the Rainmakers led going into the final quarter but gave up a series of breaks that forced them into overtime.
“In our last two meetings they have found ways to creep back when we go ahead,” said Rosatto. “Regardless of who lines up across from us we need to come out firing and keep the pedal to the floor for 40 minutes.”
Seattle’s offense will need to keep an eye out for Dogfish defenders Sam Adamson and Chris McCarty, both of whom have stepped up in a big way for San Francisco in their rookie season.
Best case scenario for the Dogfish, they exit the weekend with an even overall record of three wins and three losses – not great, but better than the alternative. If they play like they’ve been playing the last few weeks, and if Seattle is truly determined to remain undefeated at home, San Francisco could end up 1-5, all but dashing their hopes of clawing their way to the championships in July.
Seattle, having not yet faced Portland, will actually be rooting for the Stags this weekend to exhaust their common Californian foes. Saturday’s Dogfish-Stags matchup will be streaming live on Saturday, but fans will have to come to Renton Memorial Stadium to see the Rainmakers game.
The first pull goes up on Sunday at 1:00 pm. Tickets are available here, and fans in costume for the Rainmakers’ “May the 4th Be With You” theme get a discount at the door.