MLL Semifinals Preview: Dallas vs New York

(Photo Credit: Jerome Miron)

We have reached the MLL playoffs as the semifinals are this weekend. The four teams that made the playoff are 1. Dallas Rattlers, 2. Chesapeake Bayhawks, 3. Denver Outlaws, and 4. New York Lizards. These teams have all been sitting in the top five of the league all season and some had big wins last week that helped them secure a spot in the playoffs. The regular season came down to the last week of the season to decide the last two playoff spots and that makes the playoffs even more exciting. 

1. Dallas Rattlers vs 4. New York Lizards

This game pits two of the best and most talent heavy teams in the league up against one another. It was a thriller when New York and Dallas aced each other two weeks ago and we should see the same result in the Star on Saturday night. Both squads have a ton of firepower on offense, but Dallas may have a slight edge in the defensive category.

Dallas is playing at home where they have only ever lost one game and that was against the Lizards two weeks ago. The Rattlers have been stellar all year long on both ends of the field and may be one of the most complete teams we have seen in league. They can hurt bury you with their offense and disrupt you with their defense. Dallas really plays well at both ends and has all year long. 

Offensivley the Rattlers may have the best attack line in in lacrosse as Ty Thompson, Jordan Wolf, and Ryan McNamara all pose huge threats to any defense. Those guys move the ball and create shots so well it's ridiculous. Then add in more guys like rookie Ben Reeves, Randy Staats, John Rannagan, Cody Radziewicz and more. That is one scary offense at both the attack and midfield positions and they will for sure be playing their best on Saturday. 

Looking at the rattlers defense and they have one of the best goalies ever in cage with John Galloway. This may be Galloway's last ride so if that is true he will want to ride into the sunset like Peyton Manning did in the NFL with a championship. Their short defense is full of studs like Joel White that can go up against the best of the best any given day. then they also have Matt Dunn and John Sexton that are just as good and ca trigger that transition offense as well.

At the faceoff dot Dallas has one of the top guys in the league with Drew Simoneau. He has been great all season log as he has gone 236-427 at the faceoff dot for the season. He has really helped them win some games just by getting them those extra possessions. Simoneau may be underrated by some but he will get a lot of respect from the Lizards as they should have the wings just attack him off the whistle every time. 

New York is a team that is full of all-stars and all-world players. With the talent they have it is hard to see how they can't win or at least be a favorite in every game. They have really been great on offense this year but the one question mark is how can their defense perform because that unit has been pretty inconsistent all season. If they can put both ends together and play a complete game there is not reason as to why they can't get a win on Saturday. 

The Lizards offense is one of the best in the league when they are clicking on all cylinders. They are lead by MVP front runner Rob Pannell who has had a spectacular season. Pannell along with Paul Rabil, Will Manny, Jojo Morasco, Joel Tinney, and more can all be a deadly combination. When the Lizards offense is on they are on and they can stay hot for long runs. That is how they have been able to put teams away and get some big wins this season.

On defense New York hasn't been the most consistent. In cage they have Drew Adams who has been good but certainly not stellar. Their back up is 40 year old Brian Carcaterra and he can make some noise when he gets in. In terms of shot defense Kyle Hartzell has been their best piece of that rpe unit. Matt landis and Joe Fletcher have also had big impacts. The main thing with the defense is that they need to stop the transition and then stay consistent and play a full game. They haven't showed that for more than two games in a row this season. 

The Lizards have used Thomas Kelly as their main faceoff man this year and he has been able to put up some good numbers and performances. They do have Jerry Ragonese as a backup if they even dress him, which they should. New York may be at a disadvantage at the faceoff dot in this game but they should be able to find a way to counter that like they did a few weeks ago. 

Tanner's Pick

In this one I am going to have to pick Dallas here. I do think it could go any way but Dallas has the upper hand with home field advantage. Also, with how consistent they have been all year I don't think anyone would could bet against the Rattlers in a big game, especially in the Star. No matter what it will be a tremendous game!