(Photo Courtesy of Premier Lacrosse League)
Editors Note: The 2020 PLL Season, which will be played in a tournament format called the PLL Championship Series, kicks off on July 25th in Salt Lake City, Utah. Over the next week, Lacrosse Bucket will be previewing all seven PLL teams ahead of the season.
In 2019, Chaos LC went 7-3 and were crowned the regular season champs, taking the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. But, their season ended much less magical, as they were swept in the playoffs.
Heading into the 2020 season, Chaos’ roster doesn’t look all too different from 2019 in most areas. However, they did lose a few big pieces in LSM Brodie Merrill and SSDM Kyle McClancy to Waterdogs LC in the expansion draft, and they also traded midfielder Myles Jones to Redwoods LC in exchange for midfielder Sergio Salcido. In addition, they added goalie Dillon Ward and defenseman Jason Noble in the entry draft, adding even more Canadian flair to a team with already a ton of influence coming from north of the border.
How the blockbuster Jones-Salcido deal impacts Chaos’ offense is obviously one of the biggest questions surrounding this club heading into 2020. Chaos’ offense features a lot of box lacrosse influence, with guys like Connor Fields, Miles Thomson, Dhane Smith, and Josh Byrne running the show. And a few more prominent box guys, like Austin Staats, who didn’t suit up last season are expected to be in Salt Lake City in July.
So how does Salcido, who is a ball-dominant dodger, fit into that style of offense that features a lot of two-man game concept, and will he be an improvement from Jones? Also, how will he pair up with the other top two midfielders they currently have on the roster (Jake Froccaro and Deemer Class), who seemed to mesh well in that system last season. How all of that develops will be one of the most interesting things to watch with this squad in 2020, especially early on.
Besides the questions surrounding how Salcido can fit into the offense, it shouldn’t be expected that Chaos’ offense will produce much less than they did last season. After all, they have four of their top five scorers returning in Fields, Froccaro, Thompson, and Byrne.
Things are very similar on the defensive end, as they return their core group of poles in Jarrod Neumann, Jack Rowlett, and Troy Reh. Additionally, they return a lot of experienced depth at pole, with guys like Johnny Surdick and Matt Rees, in addition to SSDM Mark Glicini, who proved to be a machine last season. And with the majority of their defense back, Chaos is likely to produce a ton of transition offense just as they did last season.
However, the loss of Brodie Merrill definitely stings a lot, as he did a ton for that defense last season, and it will be interesting to see how Jason Noble can fit into that spot.
Goalie will be the most interesting dynamic on this defense, as Chaos returns Goalie of The Year winner Blaze Riordan and welcomes in Dillon Ward via the entry draft. Suddenly, Chaos has two of the best goalies in the world on their roster. It will be very intriguing to see how head coach Andy Towers handles the goalie situation, as having so much talent at a spot like a goalie can be both a blessing and a curse.