July 18, 2010

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Team USA Notebook: Attack of the Ryans

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

After seeing limited action Saturday against Canada, attackman Ryan Powell had three goals and three assists attacking Germany's zone Sunday.

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

MANCHESTER, England -- Note to Canada: don’t play zone defense. If you do, you’ll likely encounter Ryan Powell and Ryan Boyle on the field at the same time.

Powell, the U.S. team co-captain who did not play much in its 10-9 loss Saturday to Canada, started Sunday’s game against Germany. He replaced Drew Westervelt alongside Boyle and Brendan Mundorf.

Knowing the Germans would play zone defense -- the backer zone was a hallmark of Germany coach Jack Kaley’s NYIT teams -- Team USA liked having both Powell and Boyle on the field. The two distributors first showed their ability to attack a zone together in a comeback win over the MLL All-Stars.

“That’s where we first saw them together,” U.S. head coach Mike Pressler said. “We put that in the memory bank.”

Powell and Boyle are both initiators from behind the cage, but they’ve found they can be complementary parts, too.

“It has taken us a little bit because our backgrounds are so similar,” said Powell, who had three goals and three assists in Team USA’s 22-4 victory. “It has taken us time to adjust to each other, but we’re really starting to get it right now, starting to click.”

The RP-RB combination is particularly effective against zone defenses because “we’re both good feeders who know when to move the ball or push a gap, when to look inside and when to feed,” Powell added.

Boyle said being a distributor requires you to know what’s needed from an off-ball player.

“We’re on the same page,” he said.

Team USA’s attackmen combined for 13 goals a day after being virtually shut out.

“We’re trying to take what the defense gives us. If one game it has to be the midfield and another game it has to be the attack, or an even mix, we’re not too concerned about that as long as we get ours,” Boyle said. “If there’s a breakdown from one game to the next, it’s more about what the defense is doing than anything else.”

News & Notes

Powell seemed nonplused about his limited role before Sunday. “I don’t know what the plan is. I’m going to give my best whenever I’m out there on the field. That’s what I tried to do today…” The other change in the starting lineup for Team USA was bumping Mike Leveille to the first midfield, replacing Matt Striebel alongside Paul Rabil and Max Seibald. “It gave us a little more of a lefty presence on the first line,” Pressler said. “[Leveille] can beat you in a lot of different ways…” Asked about the kind of tone he has set for the U.S. here in Manchester,  a surliness of sorts, Pressler said it’s by design. “Very disciplined, very regimented, very different that in years past,” he said. “We have a plan in how we wanted to pull this off. You stay with your plan. We lost last night and deservedly so, but we’re not deviating from the plan. It’s a seven-game marathon, and you’re going to be judged on the body of your work – not the individual game…” Team USA defenseman Eric Martin sat out Sunday’s game with turf toe. “He should be back [Monday],” said U.S. general manager Billy Rebman.


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