August 30, 2013

Deep Talent Pool Vies for Team USA Midfield

By Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive

Gallery: Team USA Tryout Invitees - Midfield

The candidates for Team USAs midfield unit include 2010 All-World luminaries Max Seibald and Paul Rabil as well as other lethal dodgers,

After the announcement of the Team USA Tryout Invitees (Analysis) earlier this month, LaxMagazine.com took an in-depth look at each position and the players vying for spots on the 2014 edition of Team USA. We will be running updated versions of each leading into this weekend's tryout at Goucher college.

See Also: Attack | Defense | SSDM | Face-Off | LSM | Midfield | Goalies

There are 25 midfielders, the most of any position, in the 98-man Team USA tryout pool that will gather Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at Goucher College in Baltimore. And what a variety of styles, backgrounds and experiences among them: enough to fill about eight lines of midfielders. But there will likely only be two such lines needed next summer for the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse Men's Championships July 10-19 in Denver. Here's a look at the field of candidate to take the spots:

The 2010 Guys

  • Stephen Peyser, New York Lizards (Johns Hopkins)
  • Paul Rabil, Boston Cannons (Johns Hopkins)
  • Max Seibald, New York Lizards (Cornell)
  • Matt Striebel, Rochester Rattlers (Princeton)

The four returners from Team USA's 2010 gold medal team are headliners, big-time dodgers who at one point or another in their careers, including presently, have been the primary initiators for their teams. Rabil is once again having an MVP-caliber summer with the Boston Cannons. He finished third in Major League Lacrosse with 54 points on 32 goals, three two-point goals and 19 assists, though he is participating this weekend on the eve of surgury to repair a pair of abdominal injuries. ... Without two-point ace Kyle Dixon in the tryout pool (he didn't apply), Peyser's long-distance shooting ability could fill a need, although there isn't a two-point line in international play. ... Seibald has been shut down for the last two games of the New York Lizards' regular season with injury. He played in six games after recovering from a broken foot, but now has a hamstring issue. ... Striebel, along with attackman Ryan Boyle, is seeking to become a four-time Team USA member. Vinnie Sombrotto and John DeTommaso are the only two players to ever do that.

The Almost-2010 Guys

  • Steven Brooks, Chesapeake Bayhawks (Syracuse)
  • Stephen Berger, Boston Cannons (Washington College)
  • Kevin Buchanan, Boston Cannons (Ohio State)

These near misses from 2010 are again in the running for 2014. Brooks has been an important part of the Bayhawks' system of midfielders the last several years. ... Berger has been traded twice in a span of six months this year — in the offseason by Charlotte to New York and at the MLL trade deadline from the Lizards to Boston — and has always played with a chip on his shoulder since being taken last in the 2004 MLL draft. ... Buchanan is a versatile midfielder (20 goals and 10 assists this year) who sometimes takes a backseat to other headliners around the MLL.

The Wild Cards

  • Matt Mackrides, Chesapeake Bayhawks (Penn State)
  • Mike Sawyer, Charlotte Hounds (Loyola)

Mackrides, who was highly-touted as a high schooler coming out of Malvern Prep (Pa.) and a member of the U.S. under-19 men's team before playing at Penn State from 2009-2012, has emerged as an impact player with the Chesapeake this year. Coach Dave Cottle has lauded the second-year pro all summer long. He's a gritty, do-it-all type midfielder that has a spot on any team... Sawyer, who owns the world record for fastest lacrosse shot at 114 miles per hour, will get a look at midfield. There are some more wild cards below...

The LXM Contingent

  • Peter Baum, LXM Pro Tour (Colgate)
  • Sam Bradman, LXM Pro Tour (Salisbury)
  • Graham Gill, LXM Pro Tour (Navy)
  • Kyle Harrison, LXM Pro Tour (Johns Hopkins)

The LXM Pro Tour will bring four midfielders to tryouts, including a pair of Tewaaraton Award winners (Baum and Harrison) and the 2013 Champion Challenge MVP (Bradman). Graham Gill played for Richie Meade at Navy.

The College Kid

  • Tom Schreiber, Princeton

Schreiber is the only collegiate midfielder in the tryout pool. The 2013 Tewaaraton Award finalist has dynamic dodging and feeding ability that could shine in a team- oriented offense. He had 28 goals, 32 assists and 25 ground balls as a junior for Princeton.

The Opportunists

  • Ben Hunt, Chesapeake Bayhawks (North Carolina)
  • Mike Stone, Boston Cannons (Middlebury)
  • David Lawson, Rochester Rattlers (Duke)

Whether it be stepping up in big games or a D-III guy done good, like Stone, these guys make the most of their chances. Hunt has come up clutch for the Bayhawks in last two postseasons, notching eight points in Chesapeake's 2013 title run, and going down slinging with four points in a one-goal loss to Boston in hurricane conditions in the MLL semifinals at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md., in 2012. ... Lawson, who started his Duke career as a defensive midfielder, is an offensive force. He was a key cog for Duke in its national title game run this year, making the NCAA All-Tournament team. In his rookie year with the Rochester Rattlers, Lawson finished second on the team with 18 goals and shot 42.9 percent.

The Grunt Workers

  • David Earl, New York Lizards (Notre Dame)
  • Pat Heim, Boston Cannons (Penn State)
  • Cameron Lao-Gosney, Hamilton Nationals (Lehigh)
  • Roman Lao-Gosney, Hamilton Nationals (Lehigh)

With Seibald's absence from the Lizards down the stretch, Earl has taken over as New York's top midfielder, a spot he traditionally hasn't played. At Notre Dame and early in his pro career, Earl has been a do-it-all guy who has played wings on faceoffs, for example. He was an All-Star with the Hamilton Nationals in 2012 ... Former MLL No. 1 overall pick Pat Heim is a prototypical two-way midfielder... The Lao-Gosney twins will be reunited with Team USA assistant coach Kevin Cassese, who coached them at Lehigh.

The Outlaws

  • Terry Kimener, Denver Outlaws (UMBC)
  • Jeremy Sieverts, Denver Outlaws (Maryland)
  • Drew Snider, Denver Outlaws (Maryland)

The Outlaws fell short of completing their perfect season, going 14-0 in the regular season but dropping a semifinal contest to the upstart Charlotte Hounds in the MLL semifinals. Will that be a distraction, a chip on the shoulder, or just a memory for this trio? Time will tell. Sieverts and Snider made up two-thirds of best starting midfield in Major League Lacrosse this season. They created matchup nightmares every week with their dodging and shooting ability. Kimener is the veteran of the group, but Sieverts and Snider are having career years. Sieverts finished seventh in the league in points with 44, and tied for second in the league with six 2-pointers, and Snider, Lacrosse Magazine's August cover man, is eighth with 44 in just his second MLL season and first as an offensive midfielder. All three have proven this season with the Outlaws they can function in a team-first, not me-first offense.

The New Guy

  • JoJo Marasco, New York Lizards (Syracuse)

While Marasco was named as a late addition to the tryout roster, he wasn't named specifically to replace Casey Powell, who withdrew on Wednesday evening. That said, it's hard not to think of it that way, as both played at Syracuse and both wore the famed No. 22. Marasco had his best professional game to close out the season, scoring three times and adding two assists in New York's August 10th finale against Ohio - a game which neither team had a chance at the playoffs.


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