On Friday night, after taking on Machine in Chicago, the NexGen team stepped across the border to play Toronto’s GOAT. Although the game that was not live streamed due to international internet issues, the two teams put on a show in front of a packed crowd in Toronto’s Centennial Park Stadium (that game by the way, is available for on demand streaming right now). This game would end in another NexGen win, 15-10 over GOAT.
I arrived late to the game after a very slow border crossing (always go to the booths on the right – wish I knew that before the trip) when GOAT was up 5-3 on NexGen. From watching the archived video, GOAT’s offense started with the disc and for those first few receiving points had solid handler movement that helped lead to scores. John Hassell play coming off of the World Championships, certainly helped initiate GOAT’s offense. GOAT was able to break Team Bus after a drop by Phillip Haas, who aside from that mistake has fit well in the team. But NexGen quickly established dominance over the zone set by Toronto, and clamped down on their man defense. The John Hassell v. Jimmy Mickle matchup was great to watch throughout the game, though Tyler DeGirolamo matching up on Hassell did not disappoint.
The rest of the game would belong to NexGen, after breaking for half to go up 8-7 over GOAT and eventually taking the 15-10 win. One of the reasons they won was their ability to shutdown the handler movements of the Canadians later in the game. Dylan Freechild and Nick Lance especially played lock down defense on the handlers, often forcing bailout throws. Another reason was the well-rounded disc skills from the NexGen crew. While GOAT was being forced into bailout throws when the handler scheme was shut down, the NexGen players often found themselves with the throws they wanted. Alex Thorne showed off his skill to break the mark at will. NexGen would often rely on an iso-cutter from the stack to the break side after a quick dump on offense; this opened the other side of the field and often caught GOAT off-guard.
For GOAT, Adrian Yearwood wasn’t seen on the field as often as anticipated. Yearwood’s speed and handler defense were certainly missed for GOAT. Two players were out for NexGen this game: Eric Johnson with a shoulder injury, and Colin Camp with a heel injury. Both players were very active on the sidelines.
Talking to Tommy Li after the game, he told me that this win came down to a talk the team had in the locker room before the game. “We talked about whether we wanted to be a highlight reel team or a real solid club solid team that runs and sets and plays real disciplined,” Li said. “It ended up being a giant highlight reel too. But we did all the right things. The stack was in the right place and the defensive intensity was there.” Tommy Li, of Claremont College is new to the tour this year but has already made an impact. He told me that being on the bus has so far been a great way to spend the summer. Li has particularly enjoyed playing a lot of Mario Tennis against champs Jimmy Mickle, Will Driscoll and Tyler DeGirolamo and trying to get Jimmy ‘Kimmel’ Mickle on the Jimmy Kimmel show after a flub by announcer Topher Davis at their first tour stop.
Next up for NexGen is a trip back stateside for a game against Boston’s Ironside and then PoNY in New York.
Feature photo by Jason Sun