On Friday night, the Redwoods’ offense had a sluggish start, a trend that has unfortunately been all too familiar this season.
From the start, they looked sloppy. The ‘Woods had ten turnovers in the first half but still found success, including a Wimbledon-esque goal by Wes Berg early in the second quarter. Unfortunately, they didn’t score again for the rest of the evening, losing 10-3 against the Archers in a battle for first place.
Their three goals matched last year’s Chrome playoff loss for the least amount of goals scored in the PLL.
“We got f****** bullied out there,” Eddy Glazener succinctly put it. “We didn’t respond the way I thought we would’ve. It was a close-ish game at half… and we proceeded not to play well in the second half either
What’s Going Wrong For the ‘Woods?
At 3-2 heading into the All-Star game, the Redwoods are in a better place than last year. However, their offense still has several unanswered questions. Specifically, how can they get production from players other than Ryder Garnsey, Rob Pannell, and Berg?
Historically, the Redwoods have excelled in 2-pointers, yet this season no one’s been able to throw up a peace sign in celebration after a goal. While this isn’t the primary issue for the Redwoods offense, it highlights the lack of scoring from the players closer to the top of the arc.
Let’s take a look at the numbers through five games: Anthony DeMaio has scored only one goal on 13 shots, Sergio Perkovic is 0-for-14 with five turnovers, and Myles Jones has managed three goals on 20 shots (15%) without registering an assist.
This isn’t a question of talent but fit, and right now, the midfield and the new offensive system aren’t gelling.
“Changes certainly needed to be made. That doesn’t necessarily mean personnel, just attitude and approach,” Redwoods head coach Nat St. Laurent said after the Archers’ loss.
Trade Targets for the Redwoods
While immediate personnel changes may not be imminent, the struggles in the midfield will increase the pressure to make roster adjustments. So here are some players that might make sense for the Redwoods to go after:
Brendan Nichtern is undoubtedly a stretch target, but he’d be a needed infusion of additional playmaking. Currently, Rob Pannell leads the PLL in assist opportunities with 33, while no other player from the ‘Woods cracks the top 20.
The 2022 rookie of the year is still adjusting in his second year after a three-week absence for military service, but he’s one of the best playmakers in the PLL. Last year, he recorded 22 assists, tied for second in the league.