On the second day of the 2020 MLL season, the Philadelphia Barrage took on the Denver Outlaws after losing the day before to the Chesapeake Bayhawks. Just like the Bayhawks, the Outlaws were victorious on the first day of the season. After the first day finished, Denver looked like they were the most efficient team defensively and offensively. That judgment was an accurate one.
In the first two games of the season, the Philadelphia Barrage made their return to the MLL by facing the defending MLL champions, followed by possibly the best team in the league this season. Every moment of the 2020 MLL season is going to be a fight. The Barrage needed to find the gas pedal early on against the Denver Outlaws. Similar to their season opener, Philadelphia played close in the first half. Then, the bottom fell out in the second half.
During some moments in the first quarter, the Philadelphia Barrage seemed like they could find their groove and create separation on the scoreboard. Tommy Palasek scored the opening goal of the game. At that moment, the Barrage had the opportunity to pounce on the Denver Outlaws. Max Adler answered with his lone goal of the game before Daniel Bucaro scored the first of his hat-trick. Just as quickly as Philadelphia had a lead, they were playing catch up.
There was a scary moment in the first quarter for the Philadelphia Barrage and the NLL. Reigning NLL MVP, Shayne Jackson, took a hard hit and needed a few moments before getting back up. He walked off and later returned to the game. Jackson had a gutsy performance, scoring a hat-trick for the Barrage after returning from the sidelines. Brendan Sunday gave Philadelphia their second and final lead, but that would evaporate by the end of the first quarter.
By the end of the first half, the Philadelphia Barrage was down by two goals. The third quarter spelled disaster for the Barrage as the Denver Outlaws went on a five-goal streak. James Burr scored his second of the game to put the Outlaws up. 7-9. Included was an extra-man goal from Jack Jasinski, capped off by a Brian Begley goal. Denver controlled this game, 8-14, by the end of the third quarter.
The only quarter this game where the Philadelphia Barrage outscored the Denver Outlaws was the fourth. After Ryan Lee completed his hat-trick, Tim Barber and Brendan Sunday scored goals for the Barrage. It was nothing more than a little bit of “window dressing” to make the game seem closer in the second half. Philadelphia continues to be a tale of two halves. If the Barrage can play a complete game, they can hang tough against superior opponents. The final score saw the Denver Outlaws (2-0) conquer the Philadelphia Barrage (0-2), 10-15.
Eyes on the Philadelphia Wings
Kyle Marr was ready to pull the trigger on some scoring opportunities against the Denver Outlaws. He had five shots for the Philadelphia Barrage, but none of them found the back of the net. Liam Byrnes and Anthony Joaquim combined for some hustle statistics. Between the two, they combined for five loose ball recoveries, four coming from Byrnes. Byrnes was able to avoid the penalty box this time around versus the Denver Outlaws.
It’s a toss-up between Daniel Bucaro and Ryan Lee for the player of the game. Both recorded a hat-trick and added an assist. If you want to get nit-picky, Bucaro turned the ball over one more time than Lee. For the Philadelphia Barrage, their standout player was Shayne Jackson. After returning from getting the wind knocked out of him on a hard hit, he stormed back with a hat-trick of his own.
Mandatory Photography Credit: MLL/Alex McIntyre