Chicago Week 3 Preview
By: Dan Kopf
Last week the Chicago Machine found themselves already down by four goals to the Boston Cannons before Mike Levielle tallied their first goal of the day. The four goal deficit was too much for the Machine to overcome despite scoring seven goals in the fourth quarter. Attackman Kevin Levielle hopes that the Machine will carry the momentum of the fourth quarter into Sunday’s game against the undefeated Chesapeake Bayhawks.
“Last week we came out slow and had a poor first quarter,” Leveille said. But scoring seven goals in the fourth quarter is a great sign and it’s not a surprise. It’s a good indicator that we are in great shape.”
The Machine will have to be in great shape in order to keep up with a Bayhawks team that has scored 41 goals in two games. The Bayhawk’s are led by a strong midfield anchored by the league’s leading goal scorer Peet Poillion and the league’s top two-point threat Kyle Dixon.
Leveille knows that the Machine will have to focus on their strengths and play as well as they did in their week one win over Toronto in order to defeat this talented Bayhawks squad.
“This season we’ve been an unselfish group of guys and when you play together and move the ball and have confidence in your teammates it makes you a better team and a better threat offensively. That’s why we did so well the first week,” Levielle said.
The Bayhawks are also led by Alex Smith who earned MLL Defensive Player of the Week honors in both weeks one and two . Smith was an outstanding 34-39 on faceoff’s against the Nationals. Limiting Smith and controlling faceoffs will be one of the keys for the Machine.
“With all the video we’ve watched of their games, we’ve seen that they’ve been pretty dominate on the face off end,” Leveille said. “But Anthony Kelly has done a great job and can create a strength and size mismatch.” Kelly’s 30 faceoff wins on the year are second in the MLL this season to Smith’s 51.
The Machine will also look to limit the Bayhawks outside shooting as they lead the league in two point goals with six.
Leveille states strong defensive play as an important goal for the Machine. “On defense we need to play the middies outside the two point line for no free shots. We match up pretty well and have a good game plan in place,” Leveille said.
The Machine will play this “home game” in Pittsburgh, which is the second new market the Machine will play in this year. They defeated Toronto in Cary, North Carolina in week one.
Not having a home field advantage might seem like a disadvantage but Leveille claims there are positives. “The home field advantage is ideal but we take it in stride, it has brought us closer together and it’s one more hill for us to climb,” Leveille said. “While we don’t have the momentum a home crowd gives us we also don’t have the pressure of the home stands.”
According to Leveille, playing in a new market every week also gives them a chance to connect to new fan bases. “It’ s fun meeting new fans we certainly like going up there and meeting new players,” Leveille said. “Pitt is definitely an emerging market and a place for a lot of young lacrosse.”
This game can be seen live on Universal Sports, Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic and Cox Sports Rhode Island as well as online at ESPN3.com. Viewers in Florida can see the game on tape delay on BrightHouse Sports on Thursday June 3 at 1:00.