The next slate of games on July 15-16 are crucial to the outcome of each team's season — but maybe a little more for some than others. So far, each team has played between 2-4 of their 8 regular season games and by the end of the 16th everyone will have completed either 5 or 6. What this means is that now is the time to either gain separation from the pack, or avoid digging into a hole that's too deep to climb out of. Here's a look at which teams have the most pressure on them to perform well in their upcoming games.
West Coast Waves (2-1)
If the Waves are serious about winning the National Conference this year, they need to act like it Saturday the 15th. The Waves are set to play the Bison (1-1) and the Cobras (2-1) and likely need to take both, but most importantly need to beat the Cobras, who have owned the NC ever since the conferences were formed 5 seasons ago.
"We've been consistently improving each season since the franchise was formed," said Waves owner Anthony Nusbaum. "It's finally time to show who the top dog really is and take out the Cobras."
Sweeping both games and getting up to 4-1 with a head-to-head over the Cobras would put the Waves in prime position to win the #1 seed in the conference and get an advantageous 1st round bye in the playoffs.
Cowlitz Bambinos (0-3)
The mighty Bambinos have never faced this level of adversity — and now we're dying to see how they respond.
On Saturday the 15th, Cowlitz has 3 games, which gives them a chance to get up to .500 record-wise and back in the playoff race. This team is obviously has their backs against the wall right now, but given how much talent is on the roster and the championship pedigree Tyler Traver, Nate Williamson and owner Brian Whitten have, the Bambinos are far from out.
One of Cowlitz's 3 games is against their bitter rivals and defending champs, the Missouri Express, who will show no pity.
"They're knocked down right now, we need to step on their throats and finish them," said Express owner Garrett Blain yesterday in anticipation of the matchup.
Going at least 2-1 in the Bambinos next 3 games, will remind us why they are a team held in such high regard, especially if they can pull out a win over Missouri. If not, this could turn out to be one of the most disappointing seasons for a team in JAL history.
Toutle Lynx (2-1)
The Lynx are a franchise will plenty of accomplishments to their name, but in recent seasons they haven't been a playoff team since JAL 13. Over the last few seasons, however, management has pieced together an-and-coming young team that's proving this season that they're ready to win.
On Sunday the 16th the Lynx take on the undefeated Wrecking Crew and Kansas Lawmen. In order to keep people believing the Lynx are for real once again, a split or sweep is probably needed. Losing both games would be a disappointing step backward.