By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —The Philadelphia Soul will welcome the top team in the Eastern Conference to town on Saturday night as they host the Cleveland Gladiators at the Center.

Philadelphia sits at 6-7 this season after a 57-56 loss to Pittsburgh last week. A big key in this game was the loss of kicker Carlos Martinez to injury very early on. That forced place kicking to be shelved and also significantly hindered kick-offs.

“Anytime you lose your kicker that early in the game, which was the first kick of the game, not many guys can kick the ball,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel tells KYW Newsradio. “That’s just not something that’s natural for a lot of these guys.”

If Martinez can’t go on Saturday, Philadelphia will have to sign a kicker. One posibility is former University of Delaware kicker Jon Striefsky, who previously had suited up for the Soul in 2011.

Cleveland comes to town with an 11-1 record.

“They don’t make many mistakes, they don’t beat themselves,” Dolezel says. “Veteran crew they’ve had in there for the last couple years, they didn’t change many pieces out and they play well together. The quarterback’s playing at a really high level right now, I think that’s a big part of it. Young quarterback, which is hard to do in this game, to come in and play like he has. And their defense is very strong.”

That being said, the Soul did everything but beat the Gladiators in their first meeting. After dominating much of the contest, the Soul let a 17-point lead slip away in the final minute of a 54-52 loss on May 23rd in Cleveland.

Saturday’s game will get underway at 6:00pm.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.


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