Garrett Braun vs. Toronto
The DC Breeze and the Toronto Rush had their final meeting of 2019 at New York’s Joseph F. Fosina Field for round one of the playoffs. Playing Saturday night, the winner would go on to face the New York Empire in the East Division Championship Game the next day.
The game was back and forth; the Breeze started the game with a 4-1 run before Toronto went on a run of their own to make it tied at 8-8 with a few minutes left in the second quarter. Eventually the Breeze find themselves receiving the pull with 1:07 left in a 21-21 game. After a centering pass from Cody Johnston, Nate Prior hits Rowan McDonnell on an in-cut, who quickly turns up field to see Breeze rookie Garrett Braun running towards him for the continuation. On the right sideline close to midfield, Braun pumps once, then launches a flick towards the end zone with 53 seconds left in the tie game. Max Cassell and Jeff Wodatch are both in the area, but unfortunately for the Breeze, so are three Rush defenders. The disc floats, and Iain Mackenzie, who had peeled off the back of the stack when the throw went up, rises up over the pile to get the block and give Toronto possession with 40 seconds remaining.
Toronto proceeds to patiently drive down the field, managing the clock in the veteran way they’re capable of while keeping a sense of urgency. Andrew Carroll eventually scores to take the lead with two seconds left in the game. Garrett Braun’s throw is a reminder of just how young the 2019 Breeze roster was; three Breeze rookies were on the field to receive the pull on the final point. While Braun’s throw is one he undoubtedly wants back, the Breeze have a bright future ahead as the young team continues to gain experience in big moments.