6/3/10 9:05 PM
CHICAGO WEEK 4 PREVIEW
Only four games into the season and the Chicago Machine (2-1) are already preparing for a rematch. This weekend the Machine will face the Toronto Nationals (0-3) for the second time this season. In their first meeting, during week one, the Machine came out on top 15-9 led by Matt Striebel’s two goals.
According to Machine attackman Kevin Leveille this time it won’t be as easy. “It’s definitely challenging having to face the same team basically four weeks apart. They played pretty well the first game and this time we expect them to be better and more organized,” Leveille said.
The Machine will have to focus on stopping the Nationals’ star attackman John Grant Jr. Grant was one of Toronto’s bright spots during their week one loss to the Machine, scoring three goals.
Stopping a team’s leading scorer is nothing new to Chicago. In last week’s 17-14 win against a previously undefeated Chesapeake squad, the Machine held Peet Poillion to only one goal.
“Our defense has been great all season long. We’ve only allowed one man down goal all season. It really speaks to their communication and togetherness. We’re in really good shape and we want to keep building on the positives,” Leveille said.
Besides boasting a strong defense, the Machine also dominated the faceoff against the Bayhawks, netting 13 faceoff victories in the first half. The Machine will look to carry on their success on the faceoff to this week’s game against the Nationals.
“Faceoffs are a huge key to the game and whoever has the most wins at the end of the game usually ends up on the right end of the scoreboard,” Leveille said.
The Machine’s recent success on faceoffs has also fueled their potent offense. The Machine lead the league in shot percentage at .311%.
Despite this high average, Leveille still hopes that they can do a better job of shooting the ball. “We didn’t shoot well at them in the first game. If we can be more efficient there, then that’s the key for us.”
The Machine will also look to limit the mistakes which have kept their opponents in the game. “We’ve had a couple of missed passes and turnovers. Every game we are trying to limit mistakes and we’re definitely moving the right direction,” Leveille said.
The Machine will try and equal their win total from last year this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. when they head up to Toronto to take on the Nationals. The game can be seen live on ESPN3.com.