2014 U.S. Open - Men's Day 1 Recap

Posted: July 3, 2014 11:04 PM

The U.S. Open forces teams to be of two minds. On one hand, everyone knows that the first tournament of the year will mean lots of rust to be shaken off and reminders that the most quested-after prizes, gold at Worlds or the Club Championships, are still weeks and months away.

"We won’t play perfect," said Ironside coach Josh McCarthy before his team’s first-round game against Johnny Bravo. "We want to identify areas for improvement so that by the time we leave on Saturday or Sunday, we’re that much better for it."

On the other hand, this tournament gets teams’ best efforts precisely because it’s the first of the year.

"We’ve been grinding on each other for a while now," said Bravo captain Ryan Farrell before their first game. "We’re excited to turn it loose on some teams."

Round One

All eyes are on Bravo to see how the team’s star-studded roster will actually play together, and Ironside is a mainstay among the men’s division’s most dominant teams. Their first-round game turned out to be the best of the day.

While Brodie Smith did not take the field, Bravo had Sean Keegan and Brett Matzuka playing offense while Kurt Gibson (who wasn’t expected to be at the tournament until bracket play) played mostly defense. Each team ran a healthy mix of vertical, side and horizontal stack offenses, with Ironside’s spacing being superior but Bravo’s creative throwers making up the difference.

The play of the game, a Matt Farrell block that came on the first throw after Bravo’s third TMF gave Ironside the disc at the reverse brick mark (15 yards outside of Bravo’s end zone), set Bravo up for their final break and a 14-12 lead that all but sealed the deal. All told, Boston’s offense turned the disc over three times, with Bravo converting all three opportunities for breaks; Bravo turned it four times, and Boston converted twice.

"If our offense plays like that all year, we’re going to win a lot of games," said Ironside defender Jack Hatchett. "If our defense plays like that, we’re going to lose a lot of games."

Perhaps one reason the game was so clean offensively is that neither team is very familiar with the other: aside from last year’s third-place game at the Championships, the last time they faced off was in 2009.

Elsewhere in Round One:

  • Furious George beat Sockeye 15-13, after trailing 13-11.

  • Revolver beat EVOLUTION 15-7.

  • Sub Zero beat Clapham 15-12.

Round Two

Untested by EVOLUTION in Round One, Revolver got their first shot at a 2013 semifinalist in their Round Two match up with Bravo. The defending champions have Robbie Cahill, a long-time offensive hub who took last year off, playing defense, and Ashlin Joye, Cahill’s replacement, has joined him for the time being because he isn’t traveling to Worlds.

Bravo’s Jimmy Mickle started the first half hot, scoring or assisting on four goals in a row. There were no turnovers until the score was 5-5, when Beau Kittredge threw a forehand huck too far out in front of his receiver. Two points later, Kittredge threw virtually the same turnover, and the floodgates opened: there were five total turns before Mickle pulled in the goal to put Bravo up 7-6. Bravo broke again to take half, 8-6.

Those two breaks going into half were trickles in the cracks. In the second half, the floodgates broke open, with Revolver turning over one deep attempt after another and Bravo’s defensive offense rarely giving it back. Bravo won 15-8, an unfamiliar score for Revolver to be on the wrong side of.

"We weren’t marking effectively," said Revolver coach Mike Payne. "Jimmy Mickle is going to get the disc under, but we were putting a very simple mark on him and letting him get the around." Payne stressed that Revolver is all about improving with every game. "It’s the type of game that if we have to have it, now’s the time," he said. "I’m disappointed but not concerned."

On the adjacent field, Sockeye beat Clapham handily, 15-8. Clapham showed some high-level skill team-wide, like the ability to hit deep receivers when they were open off of pull plays and, at times, make grabs under heavy pressure. But across the board, Clapham had a tough time getting open against Sockeye’s defense and defending against their break-heavy offense. 

"We’re still adjusting to the pace and speed," said Clapham captain Richard Harris, noting that there were no easy points because Sockeye is so strong from top to bottom. "In Europe, the depth of teams is never as strong. Their pressure led to throwaways and drops."

"We want to learn as much as we can, learn and grow as a squad, so we push our pace," said Harris. "Teams like this make us very strong when we go back to the U.K."

Elsewhere in the round:

  • Ironside beat Furious 15-13. Furious threatened another comeback, with captain Alex Davis coming inches from making a block that would have given Furious the disc going downwind.

  • Sub Zero beat EVOLUTION 15-9.

Round Three

Sub Zero opened their Round Three game against Furious George with a 3-0 run, and another break gave Minneapolis an 8-4 halftime lead. Though Furious settled down in the second half, Sub’s offense was never broken.

"We were tired, and it showed," said Furious captain Alex Davis. "The D line was a sieve. In the second half, we gradually made adjustments, but we can’t afford to spot our opponent three breaks."

Much of Sub Zero’s offensive success can be credited to a handler corps that works well together, using give and goes and taking advantage of the cutting space generated by Simon Montague’s creative throws.

Sub captain Grant Lindsley smiled about Friday’s match ups with Ironside, Revolver and Bravo. "I’m pumped. This was a perfect warm up for us. Hopefully we’ll walk away with another 3-0 day."

Elsewhere in the round:

  • Revolver beat Sockeye 16-15, with no team ever leading by more than two.

  • Bravo beat EVOLUTION 15-8.

  • Ironside beat Clapham, 15-12.


2014 - US Open - Day 1 Highlights - Images by CBMT creative




Images by UltiPhotos


U.S. Open Championships Event Page

Event Guide (PDF)


Men's Game Schedule

2014USOpenLogo 435x290  




Have any questions or comments? We welcome community feedback and discussion made in a respectful manner. Please refrain from profanity or personal attacks, as such public comments negatively reflect on our sport and community.