Imagine a world where the World Series was held once every four years and the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox matched up every time. Or imagine a college football landscape where there is only one title game every four seasons, and it just so happens that Ohio State and Michigan play in that matchup each time.
That is what the lacrosse world will face when the United States and Canada square off in the 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championship title match Saturday.
This will be the fifth consecutive time these two bitter rivals play for the championship in this event that takes place every four years. No pressure, right?
Here is a look at the broadcast and schedule information for the contest.
2014 World Lacrosse Championship
Matchup: United States vs. Canada
Date: Saturday, July 19
Where: Commerce City, Colorado
Time: 9 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN U
This year’s World Championships actually kicked off with a matchup between the two sides. The United States won 10-7, but it was Canada who jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before the USA ripped off eight straight goals and cruised to the finish line.
The Red, White and Blue received two goals apiece in that contest from Paul Rabil, Rob Pannell and Kevin Buchanan.
The Americans got here with a dominating performance in the semifinals against Australia. In fact, they jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and snuffed out any hope of an Australian comeback by only allowing 11 shots in the game. David Lawson tallied four goals and two assists, while Brendan Mundorf, Paul Rabil, Max Seibald and Kevin Leveille scored three goals apiece.
The United States hasn’t lost once in the tournament and continued a trend against Australia where it won nearly every faceoff and controlled the pace of the game.
As for the Canadians, they fell behind early to the Iroquois Nationals 4-1 in their semifinal but shut the door on defense the rest of the way and prevailed 12-6.
It is clear every time these two squads take the field that they are the best teams, but Chris Carlson of Syracuse.com noted that may not necessarily be a good thing in the long run:
The United States and Canada have met in the last four championship games and no other country has won the event, predictable results that won't help the sport in its quest to become an Olympic event by 2024.
It does make for an enticing championship game, though. The US hasn’t really been tested since that opener against Canada and has steamrolled its way to the finals. Something will have to give as the balanced scoring attack of the Americans that controls the pace of play and receives a number of goals from multiple sources goes up against the stringent defense of the Canadians.
There is another interesting subplot to keep an eye on as well.
The Americans would figure to get some home-field advantage in Colorado, but nine of the players on Canada’s roster have played either collegiately or professionally in Denver. Canadian attacker Curtis Dickson spoke about that, via Matt Boyer of 9 News Denver:
"This city has been awesome. This is my first year here playing (for the Denver Outlaws) and these fans have been unbelievable. It's going to be packed here on Saturday."
The thought here is that Canada’s defense will be up to the test early, much like it was in the first matchup between the two squads. However, the American onslaught will prove too difficult to contain over the course of an entire game.
Canada will once again seize a lead, but the United States will grab some momentum and start to rack up the goals late. It is only appropriate that this great rivalry matchup is a nail-biter, and that is just what the fans will get with an American comeback.
Prediction: United States 8, Canada 6
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