The Philadelphia Wings are coming off their first season of their return to the NLL. Despite working their way to a 4-14 record and (obviously) missing the playoffs, it was a meaningful moment for the National Lacrosse League. Philadelphia found their lacrosse franchise again, and the NLL continues toward expansion.
Last Saturday, the Philadelphia Wings opened up their season against the Georgia Swarm. As they suffered their first loss of the season, the Wings did not look promising at all, only scoring six goals in a 12-6 defeat. However, this does not look to be the defining moment of their season.
The Wings will open their first three games on the road, heading to Georgia, Calgary, then New York respectively. It won’t be until January 10th when Philadelphia finds itself at Wells Fargo Center for the first time since last season.
Above is the schedule for the 2019-2020 regular season. As these may be the only games the Wings will play this season, let’s also take a look at the ones that you can catch on your couch as well.
Airing on NBC Sports Philadelphia, the Wings slot themselves on national television each time they play at Wells Fargo Center:
- Fri, Jan. 10 vs. Vancouver Warriors (7 p.m. on NBCSP)
- Sun, Jan. 19 vs. Rochester Knighthawks (7 p.m. on NBCSP)
- Fri, Jan. 24 vs. New York Riptide (7 p.m. on NBCSP)
- Fri, Jan. 31 vs. Georgia Swarm (7 p.m. on NBCSP+)
- Sat, Feb. 22 vs. Saskatchewan Rush (7 p.m. on NBCSP)
- Sat, March 7 vs. New England Black Wolves (1 p.m. on NBCSP+)
- Sun, March 15 vs. New York Riptide (7 p.m. on NBCSP)
- Sat, March 28 vs. San Diego Seals (7 p.m. on NBCSP+)
- Sat, April 4 vs. Toronto Rock (7 p.m. on NBCSP+)
If you are a die-hard fan or already have access to Bleacher Report Live, Bleacher Report’s streaming service, the rest of their games can be caught through them.
After what seemed to be an offseason of turmoil after trading the number two overall pick, Chris Cloutier, the Philadelphia Wings still look to generate a decent amount of offense this season.
Anyone who watches lacrosse knows that any offense generates from the draw. Luckily, for the Wings, they have the honor of having one of the best faceoff men in the league. Baptiste was named the best FOGO in the nation while playing for the University of Denver and continued that success in the pros. Last season, the 23-year-old out of Neward, NJ had the most faceoffs won and the most faceoffs taken in the entire NLL. This led him to third in the NLL in loose balls, with 179. This season, against Georgia, he led all players in faceoffs, going 18 for 22 in draws.
Kiel Matisz is one of the most underrated players on the team. Aside from his elite playmaking ability and quick dodging, Matisz is a forced turnover machine. Last season, the main guy in transition was top three in shots, shot percentage, loose balls, and caused turnovers for Philadelphia. His grit while moving upfield served as a main contributor to his team-leading 82 points as well.
A team needs a well rounded, solid player, and Kiel Matisz fits that mold for Philadelphia.
This one comes as an obvious. Kevin Crowley, who has been a mainstay in Philadelphia since being drafted first overall by Philadelphia in 2011, is the key to success. Crowley is coming off a monstrous season, where he was top ten in the NLL in goals and was fourth in shots. His fast tempo and control of the offense is crucial to the Wings’ season. Crowley also was tied with Matisz in points for the Philadelphia Wings last season. In his first game in 2019-2020, the Southpaw out of Canada scored two of the team’s six goals.
Taking a Leap Forward
Last season was obviously going to be a tough one for Philadelphia. Being their first season back in the NLL after about four years off, the Wings were going to have their struggles.
Their chemistry was out of sorts, sitting at the bottom of the league in turnovers. Missed passes, players not cutting and setting picks, any type of basic lacrosse was thrown out of the window as the Wings were rebuilding.
Despite the early loss, the season serves as a question if the Wings can hang with the more established teams in the league. After the league expansion, the Wings are not the “new kids on the block” any longer. In the East Division, Georgia and New England are light years ahead of the Wings.
Do not expect Philadelphia to make any type of playoff run this season, but allow it to serve as a stepping stone for the franchise.
The Philadelphia Wings will finish with a 7-11 record, but make a giant leap forward in their rebuild.
Avid Philly fan and future educator
Student at Stockton University