TWO TEAMS IN PURSUIT OF THE LAST PLAYOFF SPOT WILL FACE OFF THURSDAY NIGHT (OFFICIAL GAME PREVIEW)
(LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA- MONDAY, JULY 20, 2015)
The Los Angeles Temptation (2-2) are on a quest to turn their season around and with a win on Thursday, they will punch a ticket to the August 15th, Western Conference playoff game in Chicago, Illinois. Meanwhile, the very talented Las Vegas Sin (0-2) are on a mission to get their first win and keep their playoff chances alive. With Vegas looking for their first win and an LA team trying to get back on track while expecting an Ashley Salerno return, Thursday’s match-up will be a must see for LFL fans.
The western conference currently stands at Seattle 3-1, Los Angeles 2-2, and Las Vegas 0-2. Seattle has already earned their playoff birth and have two games remaining this regular season against Las Vegas. Thursday’s game is LA’s final regular season game and with a win, they are in the playoffs and will face Seattle. If Las Vegas wants to clinch a playoff birth they need to win out their remaining three games, starting with a win against LA this Thursday. Vegas will play Seattle two more times, once on August 1st and another on August 5th, and would need to win both to clinch a spot in the playoffs.
Thursday’s game will be broadcast two weeks later in primetime on national television via Fuse (check local listings), Saturday, August 1, 9p / 8c.
Las Vegas Betting Line
Los Angeles – 6.5 points | 42 Over/ Under
Las Vegas Sin
Sin Head-coach Willie Garrett did a tremendous job of finding and acquiring new talent for Vegas this season. In just two games his rookie running-back Dominique Maloy has made a case for rookie-of-the-year with her big scoring plays and dominant performances running the ball. Maloy has rushed for 166 yards on 20 carries, scoring three rushing touchdowns and one receiving, in only a game and a half of play as she suffered a dislocated shoulder in their season opener and had to miss the majority of the second-half. Her highlight reel runs, multiple going for 35 yards, have helped Maloy in leading the LFL this season with her 8.3 yards-per-carry average.
Quarterback Sindy Cummings had a breakout rookie season a year ago and impressed everyone with her throwing ability. This season most critics argue that Cummings has ‘under-performed’ to her abilities and natural talent. Cummings has shown that she has the tools to be a dual-threat quarterback with the arm-strength and toughness she possesses but using her legs to make plays has not been a factor this season, as she has only rushed for 6 yards on 8 carries. If Cummings works to improve her conditioning she could be a headache for defensive coordinators trying to prepare against the Sin offense.
The additions of Kimberly Jack and Brittany Demery were huge for the Sin’s offensive and defensive line play against Seattle in their last game. Against the first place Seattle Mist, Vegas showed that they have the talent and team to be competitive, but too many roster changes and overall inconsistency to develop any form of momentum has been their problem. If the Sin can stay healthy and show up on Thursday by playing up to their abilities, they could certainly make the west interesting as the last part of the season closes out.
Keys for Las Vegas
If quarterback Ashley Salerno is healthy for the game, the Sin defense will need to defend her like they did in the first half of their last match-up. Getting an early lead on LA could bode well for Vegas, as emotions have appeared to get the best of some players on LA in their last game. Also forcing turnovers will greatly improve Vegas’s chance of beating LA. Offensively, Maloy will need to have a great night running the ball, which will open up the passing game for Sindy Cummings. Pia Perry, Brittany Demery, and Kimberly Jack will need to do a great job of blocking against the Temptation pass rush, lead by Kimm Chase and Naja Christmas.
Natalie Brown- Hand- Probable
Michelle Minks- Shoulder- Questionable
Charlotte Abrahamsen- Knee- Out
Los Angeles Temptation
After starting the season 2-0 and then losing their last two games, LA now has control of their playoff fate on Thursday night. With a win they clinch the playoffs, but in the case of a loss it will be left up to the final games between Seattle and Vegas to determine if LA gets a playoff bid. No team wants to be in a position of wait and see for a playoff birth, so expect LA to come out with a chip on their shoulder this Thursday.
After a 24-13 loss to Seattle on July 3rd, the Temptation did not look like a championship caliber team as in-fighting occurred and team chemistry was out the door. With a team full of veteran coaches and players who have won multiple championships in this league, it is hard to believe that LA will not regain their focus and finish the regular season strong. The reactions and comments of many players following their July 3rd loss, which was their second straight, led many to believe that over the last two weeks LA has been nothing but focused and determined to turn their season around.
The big question for the Temptation is whether or not Ashley Salerno will be able to go on Thursday night. After sustaining a back injury in their win against Seattle on May 29th, she has missed the last two games, both of which LA has lost. Salerno at quarterback gives LA the best chances in any game, but the question still remains if her return will in-fact have a big enough impact for a team that seems to have some issues on defense this season.
Keys for Los Angeles
The key for LA defensively is to contain running-back Dominique Maloy and get pressure on Sindy Cummings. Cummings has one of the strongest arms in the game and the weapons around her, but she showed her inability to use her legs and the added pressure will make it difficult for her to find her open receivers. Offensively, the Temptation need to count on Ashley Salerno being healthy and ready to go. It will be important to get Salerno comfortable and give her opportunities to make plays. If LA and Carmen Bourseau can have the success running the ball that they did against Vegas in the second half of their last match-up, that will open up the passing game for Salerno.
Ashley Salerno- Back- Questionable