Now that we have seen LA, Vegas, and Seattle play this season, it is evident that the Western Conference will be very competitive. The Temptation are off to a fast 2-0 start after beating the Sin with a strong second-half performance, and then edging the Mist last Saturday in one of the best defensive battles in Legends Football League history. Seattle won’t wait long for their chance to even the series with LA, as the two will go toe-to-toe this Saturday at the Coliseum. If Seattle wants any chance at the regular-season conference title, this rematch is a must-win game for the Mist, as a 0-2 start would require them to win-out the rest of the season to have a chance at the title.
It was clear in their first game, that coach Chris Michaelson’s free-agent acquisitions improved his roster tremendously. Michaelson’s quarterback KK Matheny, who played previously for Jacksonville and Tampa, is a great fit for his offense and she had a great showing in her first game this season with only four weeks of practice in Seattle. Look for Seattle to post big passing numbers each week with KK Matheny’s mobility, which allows her more time to find her open receivers. Despite her height at only 5’2″ tall, Michaelson’s Seattle Mist finally has a franchise quarterback in Matheny, as she possesses all of the essentials to lead an offense effectively.
With linebacker Danika Brace leading the Mist defense, Seattle held a potent Temptation offense to only 89 total yards of offense the entire game, and only 24 of those yards came in the second-half. Note that this LA team put up 281 total offensive yards their first game against a strong Las Vegas Sin team. Seattle is 0-1, but they arguably have the best defense in the LFL this season. If cornerback Megan Hanson wasn’t exposed, giving up two big touchdown passes that went for 37 and 24 yards, Seattle could very well have shutout Los Angeles and held them to less than 30 yards of total offense. Rookie cornerback, Kadi Findling had a great performance in her first game as she covered receivers well and had two nice open-field tackles. Look for this defense to become even stronger from week to week under Michaelson’s coaching.
Offensively, Michaelson has the weapons to allow Seattle to be a dominant threat in the West. Running-back Stevi Schnoor averaged 5.4 yards per carry on her 16 rushes for 88 total yards. The balance was great on offense as Seattle passed the ball 24 times of their 48 plays. Matheny only completed 11 of her 24 attempts but did a great job of eluding the rush and extending plays as she looked for her receivers to get open. LA covered her top receivers Bryn Renda and Jessica Hopkins well, as Renda had only one reception and Hopkins had no receptions on Saturday night. Matheny was able to complete passes to running-back Stevi Schnoor and tight-end Danika Brace as they each had four receptions. Lashaunda Fowler also had two receptions for Seattle. Look for Seattle to find ways to get Renda, Hopkins, and rookie Kadi Findling involved in the passing game, giving them a lot of receiving depth.
KEY FOR SEATTLE
The Mist need to play with the same intensity Saturday night in the Coliseum as they did at home against LA. Seattle will need to find a better option at cornerback, because Megan Hanson doesn’t have the physical attributes for defending an opposing team’s top receivers. Her skill-set suits her well for the defensive-end position and offensively she is one of the best centers in the league. The rest of the defense will need to play a strong game, just like last week as they didn’t allow the Temptation to score on any of their four trips in the red-zone. Offensively, Seattle needs to do a much better job in the red-zone. The Mist failed to put points on the board in five of their seven times in the red-zone. Getting receiver Byrn Renda involved in the red-zone will be important for Seattle.
LOS ANGELES TEMPTATION
The Temptation have taken care of business in both of their games this season, in route to a 2-0 start. With head-coaches Tui Suiaunoa and David Bizub back at the helm, LA appears to be Legends Cup bound early this season. The offense has all of the necessary weapons around the best quarterback in the League, Ashley Salerno. Defensively, Los Angeles has the veteran’s and leadership to make it difficult for any offense to put up big numbers. They will truly be tested this season defensively, as they face Sindy Cummings and KK Matheny each two more times, and likely one of them a third time as they appear to be playoff bound early this season.
Los Angeles had a tough time sustaining drives offensively against the Seattle Mist Saturday night in the ShoWare Center. LA only had four first downs the entire game and without their two big plays they very well could have been shutout against Seattle. The ground game struggled against the Mist as they only netted nine yards. This was the complete opposite from their Vegas game, as Carmen Bourseau had 115 of their 217 rushing yards against the Sin, as the team averaged 11.4 yards per carry. Coach Biz will certainly look to improve the running game, which will open up the passing game to allow Salerno to make more big plays through the air. Salerno has only completed 8 of the 18 pass attempts on the season, 4 of which have been touchdowns.
The Temptation defense is playing great physically and they made Seattle fight for each yard on Saturday night. Big stops when it matters most has been the case for LA’s defense, as noted earlier they held Seattle five of seven times in the red-zone. Free-safety Michelle ‘Mini’ Angel has been great defending the pass and on Saturday she was able to intercept one of Matheny’s passes early in the game. Chelsey Haardt, Monique Gaxiola, Danielle Harvey and Ogom Chijindu played very aggressively and physical against the Mist as they combined for 20 tackles in the Seattle game. Rookie defensive-end Kimm Chase had another excellent performance in her second game of the season. Look for this defense to improve game to game as they have a championship caliber lineup.
KEY FOR LOS ANGELES
LA needs to sustain more drives offensively this week against Seattle in the rematch. Relying on the big play all season could be costly. LA has been on offense only 33 percent of the time this season, which will need to change as their defense will be very worn down late in the year if they are averaging nearly 27 minutes per game. The Temptation secondary will need to have another great game shutting down Renda and Hopkins. Also getting more pressure on Matheny will be key as she has shown the ability to avoid the rush and buy more time to target her receivers. It could be deadly if Seattle is able to convert big plays, finding receivers deep down the field.
– Text by Colton Cull, originally posted on LFL360.com
Don't miss these two collide on Legends Football League Saturday, June 13, at 9/8c, only on Fuse.
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