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July 15, 2014

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Dispatches from Denver: Scenarios, Injuries and Silliness

As we await another lightning stoppage in play here on the FIL World Championship final night of Blue Division pool play, we have time to wonder – what are the tiebreaker scenarios that would roll out depending on tonight's results?

Standings for the Blue Division are as follows:

  • United States 4-0
  • Canada 3-1
  • Iroquois Nationals 3-1
  • Australia 2-2
  • England 0-4
  • Japan 0-4

So right off the bat, no the England-Japan result will directly set who finishes 5th or 6th in the Blue Division. The winner will play New Zealand tomorrow, with the loser taking on Germany.

The other two games can shuffle things around in a myriad of ways. A head-to-head win by Australia over Canada would put the Sharks into third place and Canada in 4th, with the winner of USA-Iroquois taking first place and the loser second. Even if the Iroquois lost and had an identical 3-2 mark as the Sharks, they would get the No. 3 spot due to the head-to-head win last night.

If Canada defeats the Aussies, and the United States beats the Iroquois, it'll be a simple USA-Canada-Iroquois-Australia lineup. But if the Iroquois upset the United States, we would have a three-way tie atop the division at 4-1. In that scenario, the first tiebreaker is goal differential in head-to-head play among the three teams. Right now, the United States is +3 (10-7 win over Canada), Iroquois -1 (9-8 loss to Canada) and Canada -2 (10-7 loss to USA, 9-8 win over Iroquois).

So, a Iroquois win by one or two goals would put the finish at USA-Iroquois-Canada (Canada can't help its number in this three-way tie because they are playing Australia). An Iroquois win by three would put the Blue Division standings at Iroquois-USA-Canada.

In terms of matchup, the third place finisher will take on Scotland at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, with the winner of that game advancing to face the second place finisher. Fourth place will play Israel at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, with the winner advancing to face the first place finisher in the other semifinal.

What is the US Award and what does it have to do with the flag?

Dan Burns flanked by teammates after earning the USAward for the first night against Canada. (Photo via Kevin Leveille on Twitter)

If you follow the Team USA guys (or @USLacrosse or @Lacrossemag) on twitter or instagram, you might have seen some funny post-game shots with players celebrating with one wearing a black cowboy hat with a USA logo and Us Award lettered on its front.

Apparently that is a tradition that captain Kevin Leveille brought to Denver, with the team choosing a winner each game for hard work that helps the team. In addition to rocking a hat for some instagram shots, the winner each game has also been given the honor of carrying the American flag into the stadium for the next contest.

The winners thus far Dan Burns (Canada), Paul Rabil (Australia), Mike Evans (Japan) and Ned Crotty (England). Rabil passed the flag carrying honors for the Japan game to Thul, since he was the flag-bearer for the opening ceremonies and opted to give it to the player who 'represents the United States every day' as a member of the Army.

So if you're wondering why Ned Crotty will be leading the team out with the stars and stripes whenever we're able to get tonight's contest against the Iroquois Nationals underway, now you know.

Context on some Garrett Thul controversy

There has been some pretty strong reaction to a hit in Sunday's game between the United States and Japan, where attackman/midfielder Garrett Thul got a big hit (and a flag) after leveling a Japanese player in transition, and given the fact that it was late in a blowout victory for the United States (and that Thul is substantially larder than the player he hit, who took a few minutes on the turf before getting up and walking off the field), reaction on social media was pretty harsh on Thul.

Asked about the incident after Monday's win over England, coach Richie Meade defended his player.

"If you watch the play on film, it's not dirty and its not late," he said. "He was running full speed, and Garrett was committed and the kid turned at the last minute. Garrett's bigger than the kid and it was hard contact, but there was certainly nothing malicious.

"I've heard comments about how 'you're up 21-1, why would you make that play' – but he's supposed to play like the game is on the line every time he's out there, and did exactly what he was supposed to do. I would tell anyone critical to really go back and watch the film."

Video: Dorm Room Lacrosse with Team USA

Paul Rabil posted this video to his YouTube account – I'm sure the housing folks at Denver University will be thrilled...

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Team Health Questions for United States

Several players sat against England in the eventual 20-1 victory, an attempt at healing some bumps and bruises before the Iroquois game tonight and the semifinals on Thursday (Team USA can finish no lower than second in the Blue Division, as broken down above).

Kyle Harrison, Dan Burns, Jesse Schwartzman, and Brendan Mundorf all had a night off against England – making an already short bench with a 23-man roster that much lighter. But if weather was different or the game closer, any of them would have been able to go, according to coach Meade.

"That day of rest was good to help a few guys," he said. "But we're happy it was this way. Most anybody could have played, but we felt like we could handle England, and it wasn't as hot today, so that helped us [play with a short bench]. If we're playing the Iroquois, then its probably a different story."

Thompson Expected to Bump to Attack

Both Iroquois Nationals head coach Steve Beville and Team USA coach Richie Meade said they expect Lyle Thompson will be playing mostly at attack for tonight's contest, after playing primarily in the midfield to start the tournament.

How to Cheer like an Aussie

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