The boys from Tampa Bay Damage are the reigning World Cup Champions. They also went on to win the first event of the 2012 season, making it three events in a row. But since then, it hasn’t been their year.
Damage expects to be playing for 1st every event, but the best they’ve been able to manage since the first event win is 3rd at both Chicago and the Mid Atlantic Open.
But all is not lost, on the contrary, Damage is still looking very good as they try to reassert their dominance. The games they’re losing, they’re losing by one point. During the practices leading up the World Cup, they aren’t losing very many points, even winning points they play with 4 bodies.
They picked up Alex Goldman (ranked 33rd) from a struggling San Diego Dynasty for the World Cup, which should help their already stellar snake line up. Goldman’s performance in the practices proceeding has him looking like the player he was in early 2011, when everyone in the game thought he was the best player in paintball. Alex is no stranger to World Cup competition and pressure, and has won the event before at the start of his career with the LA Ironmen. He’s needs a break out event to reaffirm his top-tier status. He’s honest though, giving himself a D grade for his performance so far this year in recent interviews.
The biggest strength for Tampa Bay is their chameleon-like ability to both individually and as a team, adapt to the field layout and the team they’re playing. The have one of the most versatile rosters in the league and a talent level surpassed by none.
All of their players would be instant starters on any other squad. Dave Bains (41st) is one of the most successful players of any era, with 6, yes 6, Championships under his belt, playing for all the legendary teams of the past ten years: Red Legion, Dynasty, XSV, and now the with the boys from Tampa.
Chad Busiere (45th) is an incredibly explosive D-side player who can change the flow of game single handily. Justin Rabackoff (6th) hasn’t been the same explosive game breaker he was last season on Red Legion. Maybe it’s unfair (considering he’s still ranked 6th in the world), but now that he’s talked about as one of the best in the business, much is expected of him. Though he hasn’t had the highlight reel moves we were used to seeing from him the past few seasons, he is still a big contributor for Damage.
Dan Holiday (3rd) is one of the quietest and most under ranked players in the league, but every one of his peers knows what he is capable of and you can normally find him far in front on either side, doing work. He’s the 3rd best player in the world heading into World Cup because he’s a workhorse who always seems to be in the right position at the right time.
The Edwards Brothers, Jacob (21st) and Jason (7th), are the best brother combo the sport has seen. Jason is widely regarded as the most consistent and mobile back player (though Nick Leival from 187 could soon challenge him in that area given a few seasons). Jacob is coming of a severe ankle strain, which appears to be healed, but we will just have to see if it slows him down. Jacob was a huge asset during last year’s World Cup, and one of the big reasons Damage became World Champs in 2011.
You would have to off-your-rocker-crazy to not have Damage as one of your favorites to win the PSP World Cup. They are unarguably one of the best teams the world has ever seen; they don’t make mistakes, they roster is ridiculous, and they all have years of experience at the highest level.
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