SHOWDOWN SHAKEOUT SETS PRELIM STAGE
On a day that began with five sides fighting for just three MLF finals berths, it’s probably no shock that a bit of chaos was the rule of the day.
The St. Petersburg Swans entered the Major League Footy Showdown Carnival as the early-season favorites on the fade; the youth-packed Florida Lions came in red-hot after four wins on the trot, and the Miami Saints looked like the circuit’s dominant side.
One day of footy changed all that, fast.
After Miami raced out to a big first half lead over the Lions in Game 1, it appeared the Saints would all but lock up a berth. A rally by a brave Lions side fell short, pushing Florida to 4-3 – and to the brink of elimination.
Game Two saw the Swans follow the Halos’ script, as St. Petersburg parlayed an overwhelming offensive start to turn the table on Miami en route to a rout, 75-19.
With both sides worn from the sweltering Florida heat, the focus shifted to how the Lions would stand up to the St. Petersburg point-scoring tandem of Aaron Crittenden and Ben McIntosh.
The answer wouldn’t come until the second half of Game 3, when the Swans overcome a sluggish start to clinch a Finals berth by virtue of a sweep of the series, knocking out both Miami and Florida in one sitting.
That course of events sees the table now set for this Saturday’s Major League Footy Preliminary Final, as the Tampa Bay Bombers (6-2, 24 points) will clash with Starfish FC (5-4), Saturday at 11 AM in St. Petersburg.
While the Swans’ berth in the Championship Final may be clinched, Saturday’s Prelim carries its own share of drama, as each of the contenders could settle in any one of the three seeds going into the Final.
At 5-4, Starfish FC has a slight advantage in playing 11 matches by way of a scheduling quirk. With a lead over the Swans in percentages, the ‘Fish can claim the top seed.
Likewise, a sweep of Saturday’s Preliminary double-header will vault the Bombers into the top seed.
A split between the Starfish and Bombers could see the Swans’ minor premiership stand up, although Tampa Bay holds a significant advantage on percentages.
Saturday’s Preliminary Final twin-bill is an 11 AM EDT ball-up in St. Petersburg.