In order to keep pace with the San Jose SaberCats (improved to 4-0 on Friday night) as the top team in the Arena Football League, the Philadelphia Soul (3-0) will need to fend off the defending American Conference champion Cleveland Gladiators (2-1) on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center. It will be the first division match-up for head coach Clint Dolezel’s Soul squad on the season.
The AFL’s passing leader Dan Raudabaugh (988 yards, 22 TDs, 3 INT, 116.6 rating) is coming off an eight touchdown performance against the Jacksonville Sharks in Philly’s home opener last Sunday, while Cleveland QB Shane Austin is looking to bounce back after a heart-breaking 49-41 loss last weekend in the ArenaBowl rematch with Arizona.
Raudabaugh, who is currently riding a 77-game consecutive games played streak, is just 12 passing yards away from reaching both the 1,000-yard mark on the season and the 20,000-yard plateau for his six-year Arena Football League career.
12 Players to Watch:
Dan Raudabaugh (Soul QB)
Ryan McDaniel & Marco Thomas (Soul WRs)
Beau Bell & Joe Goosby (Soul LBs)
James Romain (Soul DB)
Shane Austin (Glads QB)
Dominick Goodman & Amarri Jackson (Glads WRs)
Joe Phinisee (Glads LB)
Terrance Sanders & Dominic Jones (Glads DBs)
Last season, the Gladiators defeated the Soul in all three meetings. All three of those wins came down to the very last play of the game, one of which knocked the Soul out of the first round of the 2014 postseason, 39-37. In total, the Gladiators won those three match-ups by a combined five points.
Tonight’s game, which can be seen on ESPN2, is set for a 7 P.M. ET kick-off from the Wells Fargo Center.
Prediction: Soul remain undefeated with a nail-biting 62-55 victory.