Tag Archives: Alex Carder

Game Preview: Portland Thunder (3-8) vs. Spokane Shock (3-8)

Let’s just call this one #TheStruggle. The Thunder enter the game coming off a four-game losing streak. The Shock have a three-game losing streak of their own. The teams struggled to score in their opening matchup, with Portland securing a four-point win, 47-43.

Game Day Breakdown: The Thunder have advantages in: Offensive turnovers, Defensive Yardage, Points Allowed. The Shock have advantages in: Offensive Yards, Points, and Success Rate; Defensive Success Rate and Turnovers Forced. Watch for Jared Perry, who went for 150 yards and 4 TDs last week.

In that game, Bryce Peila came up with an interception return for a touchdown and a fumble return for a touchdown helping overcome a 29-20 Shock lead at halftime.

Of course, in that game, Mike Washington led the Shock and Jamar Howard led the Thunder in receiving yards. Neither is expected to play. Former Thunder quarterback Danny Southwick is now a former Shock QB as well; he’s landed in Los Angeles and has helped them as they mount a turnaround on their season. Kyle Rowley may be backing up recent acquisition Alex Carder at quarterback for the Thunder.

With a previous matchup that went down to the wire and several differences in lineups since then, combined with mounting losses on the field, both personnel and record-wise, it’s tough to determine who has the advantage this week.

One thing’s for certain: After the recent wins by Los Angeles and Las Vegas, these two teams enter needing a win in order to feel comfortable heading into the final third of the season. Both teams trail the Outlaws by a game and both are ahead of the previously left-for-dead KISS by just a game.

And Duane Brooks will be exciting in the return game. He’s either one or two kick return touchdowns away from an AFL record for return touchdowns in a season. He’s also returned two for touchdowns in each of the past three games (unfortunately, one may count as a fumble recovery because he fumbled (and recovered) right before the line and another was called back on a phantom hold), so it’s not crazy to expect a couple on Sunday.

I said in my picks over on ArenaFan that Spokane would get even for the last game, and that the difference between this week and the last one is that Shox the Fox won’t interfere with their receivers. I won’t be that guy who picks both sides of a game, so I’m picking Spokane to win another tight game, 46-43.

Game Photos: Arizona Rattlers 69, Portland Thunder 42

While I was covering Friday’s game, I was also taking photos. A few of the photos I took are up on Flickr now (it’s just so much easier to batch upload). Includes terrible refereeing, big plays, and fine work by a guy out there on the field for the pizza promotion.

In fact, I liked his action sequence so much I won’t make you go to Flickr to see it.

Pizza Challenger

Game Preview: Portland Thunder at Los Angeles KISS

The Portland Thunder have three wins on the season, two of which they earned at the Los Angeles KISS’ expense. If Portland wants to keep pace with the Spokane Shock and Las Vegas Outlaws (who have two wins against the KISS of their own) for a playoff spot in the National Conference, they’ll need to secure a third win over the KISS.

Meanwhile, if the KISS don’t want to spend Independence Day as a winless team, they’ll need to beat the Thunder, as their next three games are against the league’s three best teams – the San Jose SaberCats, Arizona Rattlers, and Philadelphia Soul.

Wrong Way Sports' Game Day Breakdown between the Portland Thunder and Los Angeles KISS. The Thunder have scoring and turnover margin advantages; the KISS have a yardage advantage.

Quarterback Alex Carder produced some excitement late in last week’s game against the SaberCats, throwing the first two touchdown passes of his career and showing a nice touch on deep passes. Head Coach Mike Hohensee wouldn’t say for sure who would get the start against Los Angeles, but last time someone sparked the team against San Jose with a couple of late touchdowns, Darron Thomas ended up starting the next game against…the Los Angeles KISS.

The KISS are having some consistency problems. As you can see in the infographic above, they’re really not all that far away from the Thunder statistically. Their chief problem has been that when their offense plays adequately, their defense has been abysmal, and when their defense finally steps up to the plate, as it did last week against the Jacksonville Sharks, the offense throws the game away.

Last week the Sharks missed two field goals and and extra point in the second half, giving the KISS a chance to win the game with a late drive and a PAT of their own, only to end the game with a Danny Southwick interception. If they want to have a chance in this one, the defense needs to continue to perform like they did last week and Southwick will have to at least repeat his performance in the last Thunder/KISS game, where he led the offense to touchdowns on two-thirds of the team’s offensive drives.

The bad news for the KISS: The only good games the Thunder have played on defense have been against Los Angeles, Southwick, or both combined (aka their three wins). Against the KISS/Southwick, the Thunder have stopped 38 percent of drives, which would put them in the league’s top five defenses. Against everyone else, they’re stopping just 12.9 percent of drives, which would be the worst mark in the league – even below the KISS.

Even though this is my only chance to pick the KISS and be right about it over the next month, I can’t believe they can win until they show me they can. Even without knowing which quarterback will play for the Thunder, I’ll take Portland, 57-47.