by Tessa Martyn
During Sunday’s game, Pawel Janas and the Union’s offense went untouched - making them the only team that was not broken at least once across the league this past weekend.
In addition to this, the Union D-line converted 11 breaks on 29 chances and held the Thunderbirds to a Week 1 low of only eight goals.
Of the dozen players that primarily played D-line in game one, 11 of them had either a goal, an assist, or both.
In his season debut with the team, Jace Bruner already looks like a plus-level add for Chicago’s defense and was disruptive in the handler space.
The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds on the other hand started their season with a record of 1-1 after being without their center handler Jon Mast, scoring just 25 goals in two games, and coming away with just one victory on the road in Week 1.
Heading into Week 2, the Chicago Union are expecting a much tougher test as they take on the Minnesota Wind Chill in Fox Sports 2’s “AUDL Game of the Week” on May 7, 2022 at 6pm at Sea Foam Stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota.
After losing so many defensive starters following their 2021 Championship Weekend run and having a game under their belt already, the Union could make a statement by shutting down the powerful Minnesota offense in this early season-defining road game.
For the Union, Dalton Smith will be a player to watch for as he will be making his season debut with the team in Saturday’s game.Smith signed with the Union after playing in Dallas since their inception in 2016.
Throughout his AUDL career, Smith has done a little bit of everything and has filled a variety of different roles -- D-line leader, offensive hybrid, and backfield facilitator.
In Dallas’ 2019 playoff run, playing alongside Minnesota Wind Chill’s Abe Coffin, the duo led one of the top give-and-go offenses in the league, gashing defenses with their legs and tight-window throws.
This weekend, Smith will be up against his former teammate, as he looks to find his fit in a brand new system. With Chicago missing one of their key offensive pieces this weekend, Paul Arters, Smith should be able to slot in on the Chicago O-line and work with Janas in the backfield. If he can find his rhythm early, the Union will have a great shot at pulling off their first road win of the season.
For the Minnesota Wind Chill, it is no surprise that the player to watch for this weekend is Abe Coffin.
Coffin will be making his Minnesota Wind Chill debut this Saturday against Chicago where he has a chance to carve out a featured role as one of Minnesota’s primary offensive weapons.
With handlers Will Brandt and Andrew Roy, as well as cutter Nick Vogt all being out for the first game, Coffin has the freedom to take on multiple positions throughout the contest. A true hybrid capable of initiating downfield or playing center handler.
After a 3-week hiatus, the Chicago Union will return to the field on Saturday, June 4, for their Week 3 matchup against the Detroit Mechanix at 7pm EDT at Grand Rapids Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.