6/21/10 12:00 AM
By: Dan Kopf
It has been almost two years since Major League Lacrosse was last played in Rochester, New York. This Friday, Major League Lacrosse returns to Rochester when the (3-3) Chicago Machine host the (4-2) Denver Outlaws. The Machine are coming off an19-11 loss to the Boston Cannons in week 6. Boston’s 9-0 run in the second half put away Chicago’s hopes of earning their fourth win of the season.
Chicago’s faceoff specialist Anthony Kelly knows that the Machine will have to play a full 60 minutes of lacrosse in order to compete with the Outlaws. “We have to come out and put out a complete game of four complete quarters,” Kelly said. “Last week he 110 degree weather caught up with us but in the end we just gave up tough goals.”
Kelly also believes that the key to playing a complete game is getting off to a good start. “We want to go out there and be the first ones to put something on the board,” Kelly said. “Our goal as a team is to win each quarter. The MLL is a game of runs and we have to control theirs.”
According to Machine midfielder Chris Rotelli said the Machine also need to improve their midfield play if they want to win this week. “Last week they were winning the battles and getting the groundballs and that’s unacceptable,” Rotelli said. “First and foremost we have to win the battle in the middle of the field, and that’s the most important thing.” The Machine’s midfield was shut down by the Cannons as they only accounted for two of their eleven goals. The midfield also struggled in scooping up groundballs. Boston tallied the 41 groundballs on Friday to Chicago’s 30.
The Machine’s offense also struggled last Saturday, only scoring three goals in the second half. On Friday, they will face Denver’s All-Star goalie, Jesse Scwhartzman. Schwartzman has a 12.02 goals against average along with 64 saves. “If we win the middle of the field as well as scoop up ground balls we will be able to get smart shots on Jesse,” Rotelli said. “We also have to capitalize on all of our opportunities. The team that’s able to do that will win this game.”
Chicago will also look to continue to get their new players involved. Rookie midfielder Justin Pennington tallied his first point of the season last Sunday when he assisted Kevin Leveille in the fourth quarter. For Rotelli, seeing a rookie make such an immediate impact is a sign of maturity. “It’s great to see a guy like Pennington to be playing over his years. The hardest thing for a rookie to do is to play like they did in college,” Rotelli said.
Kelly also feels the impact the rookies are making on the Machine. “It’s great to see them grow. It’s really cool to see Ned [Crotty] gel with the Leveille brothers,” Kelly said. “My hat’s off to all three of them. We’re definitely excited to get our first W with them in the lineup.”
The Machine will go for that W this Friday at 7:30 p.m. as they host the Denver Outlaws in Rochester New York. The game can be seen live on Universal Sports and ESPN3.com.
2010 Major League Lacrosse Championship Weekend presented by Warrior
August 21-22, Annapolis, MD
For information and tickets go to www.majorleaguelacrosse.com