03/29/2012 12:52 PM
PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Soul (2-0) return to the Wells Fargo Center unscathed from their two-game road trip to open the 2012 campaign. Waiting for the Soul is a matchup with their East Division rival, the Cleveland Gladiators (1-1). The home opener is set to kickoff on Sunday, April 1 at 6:05 p.m.
The game can be heard on 950 ESPN Radio with play-by-play announcer Matt Martucci and color commentator Barrett Brooks. A live stream of the game will be available to fans through www.ustream.tv/philadelphiasoul
In preparation for their home opener, the Soul will hold a “Town Takeover” event open to the public on Saturday, March 31 from 4-6 p.m. in Conshohocken, PA. As part of the event, money will be raised for the Conshohocken Fire Department and local Conshohocken businesses have donated tickets to children in the Fellowship House to attend Sunday’s game.
The Soul’s home opener features a match-up between one of the Arena Football League’s best offensive and defensive units. Philadelphia ranks No. 1 in scoring offense and rushing offense while Cleveland possesses the No. 1 scoring defense, ranks No. 3 in passing defense, and comes in at No. 2 for total defense.
“I’m excited to play at home in front of our fans. I’m looking forward to seeing the energy that they can bring to the game,” said Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh. “I think we’ll be able to feed off of it on the field. Hopefully we can go out there and get another win for our fans at home.”
Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh is among the best in the league through the first three weeks. Raudabaugh has completed 41-of-59 attempts for a passing efficiency rating of 122.0 that ranks No. 2 in the league and has thrown for 517 yards and 14 touchdowns through two games.
Raudabaugh will have to deal with Cleveland’s defensive back Joe Phinisee. Phinisee is tied for No. 2 in the AFL and leads the Gladiators in interceptions with three picks returned for 24 yards. Phinisee is third on his team in tackles with seven solo and one assist.
While Cleveland’s passing defense stands at No. 3, wide receiver Donovan Morgan had a field day against another highly ranked defensive backfield, the Pittsburgh Power’s No. 2 passing defense. Morgan finished the day with 12 catches for 112 yards and four touchdowns, earning him the AFL Playmaker of the Week Award. Morgan is looking to prove himself against another solid defensive secondary in Week 4.
Aside from the matchup in the air, the ground game could be a factor as well. Behind the effort of Morgan and fullback Derrick Ross, the Soul’s rushing attack ranks No. 1 in the AFL, compiling 89 yards for an average of 44.5 yards a game. Cleveland’s rush defense has allowed an average of 32.5 yards a game and ranks No. 14 in the league.
Cleveland sits one game behind the Soul in the East Division with a 1-1 record through Week 3 and could tie Philadelphia for first with a win. Philadelphia looks not only to keep their division lead, but to hold on to a perfect record that could keep them atop the entire AFL.