Week 3 Matchups Preview

May 11, 2023
By Sam Weiger

Austin Sol at Atlanta Hustle
Friday, May 12 - 8:00 PM/ET - Watch link

This could be a preview of the South Division Championship. The Sol will face their first real test of the season against an Atlanta team that has already defeated two playoff contenders.

Atlanta’s Brett Hulsmeyer has arguably been the most valuable player on the field in his team’s first two games, while Matt Smith has been the Hustle’s most prolific scorer. Austin’s attack has been much less predictable this season, as Sol Head Coach Steven Naji appears to be spreading the scoring opportunities around the team.

The Sol and Hustle split their two meetings in 2022, and Atlanta won at home against Austin in their first meeting last year. Austin’s ability to contain Austin Taylor was the key to victory last season, but Atlanta has shown this year that they can win without a dominant performance from Taylor.

One Big Number: 
- Hulsmeyer has a plus/minus of 12, the highest of any AUDL player who has played two games this season.
7 - The Sol’s seven players with eight or more total scores this season is more than any other team in the league that has played two games.

Austin Sol at Carolina Flyers
Saturday, May 13 - 6:00 PM/ET - Watch link

After making it to Championship Weekend last year, the Flyers might start the season 0-3 for the first time in franchise history. However, they have a chance to get back on track against an Austin team that will be tired from playing Atlanta the night before.

Austin’s depth could help them overcome their fatigue. The Evans-Henke-Swiatek trio has been getting plenty of help from Duncan Fitzgerald and Elliott Moore on offense. Carolina, on the other hand, hasn’t scored 20 goals in a single game this season. The Flyers might fail to put up 20 once again, as Eric Taylor, Sol Yanuck, and Alex Davis are all out this week.

The Sol are averaging 27.5 goals per game in 2023 and coming off an impressive 31-goal performance in Week 2. Carolina’s defense could give it its all, but their offense is too injured for them to keep up with Austin.

One Big Number: 
- The Flyers have the second-fewest completions per game in the league, averaging only 214.5.
8 - Fitzgerald has more assists (8) in his first two games with the Sol than in all of his 16 starts with the DC Breeze between 2021 and 2022.

New York Empire at DC Breeze | Game of the Week
Saturday, May 13 - 7:30 PM/ET - Watch link

The biggest storyline of 2023 is whether the Breeze can overthrow the Empire, who have won two of the past three championships and are building a dynasty. DC has been waiting for this game since losing to New York on a buzzer-beater in last year’s playoffs.

The Breeze will have to figure out the Empire defense, which has been impenetrable this season. New York’s offense, as expected, continues to run through Jack Williams and Ryan Osgar. David Cranston and Jasper Tom will likely have the daunting task of defending Osgar, who said that Cranston was one of his toughest matchups of 2022.

Last year, DC had their three lowest break percentages in the three games they lost to the Empire. New York has been strong against break chances so far in 2023. The defending champions, who have won eight of the last nine games against the Breeze, have a slight edge in what could be a battle for the ages.

One Big Number:
- The Breeze were only able to convert an average of 16 percent of their break chances against New York in their three meetings last year.
9.5 - The Empire are allowing just 9.5 goals per game this season, the fewest in the league.

Indianapolis AlleyCats at Chicago Union
Saturday, May 13 - 7:30 PM/ET - Watch link

Indianapolis is facing an uphill battle. They are 0-2 and have a five-game losing streak to Chicago. The Union reached the 2022 title game, but they will look much different without Pawel Janas leading the way. 

The Union offense will now be led by Ross Barker, Jack Shanahan, and Andrew Sjogren. Sjogren, who was acquired from Detroit, had the best plus/minus of any Mechanix player in each of the last two seasons. Nate Goff was recently cleared to play for Chicago, and his blocking ability will take some pressure off of the retooled offense. 

The ‘Cats are in danger of starting their season 0-3 for the first time since joining the AUDL in 2012. The start of the new season has seen Cameron Brock and Travis Carpenter showcase their productive offensive abilities, but Indy’s defense has been underwhelming. Chicago may be the rustier team, but this game is theirs to lose.

One Big Number:
- Indy has allowed an average of 23.8 goals per game to the Union in their last five meetings.
35 - Goff has blocked the most shots for the Union since 2021 (includes season and postseason)

Salt Lake Shred at Oakland Spiders
Saturday, May 13 - 8:00 PM/ET - Watch link

These two undefeated teams have yet to face a true test, but this matchup is it. Both teams are averaging over 24 goals per game this season, so this should be a high-scoring affair.

Oakland’s offense operates at a fast pace and completes more passes per game than any other team. Mac Hecht and Chris Lung carried the Spiders in Week 1, combining for 17 scores and 114 completions. Salt Lake, the only 3-0 team in the AUDL, has a deeper offense. Jordan Kerr, Sean Connole, and Jace Duennebeil have been Salt Lake’s top offensive weapons this season.

The Shred won both meetings against Oakland last year and averaged 26 goals per game. The Spiders will need Keenan Laurence, Evan Magsig, or Justin Norden to step up offensively if they want to stay in this game. 

One Big Number:
- Hecht and Lung combined for 17 scores for Oakland in their Week 1 win against Seattle, including Hecht assisting to Lung for the game-winner in overtime.
338 - Oakland had the most completions of any team in a single game this season, with 338 in Week 1.