This is my very first blog posting. Therefore, I tried something unique and different from traditional blogging for this post. I hope you enjoy reading everything there is to know about Indy Eleven and the Carolina RailHawks heading into Saturday nights game.

RAILHAWKS:
Head Coach: Colin Clarke (4th season)
Standings: P4 (1,1,1) with 4 points

LAST GAME FOR RAILHAWKS: Home v. Atlanta, L 1-2
Starting 11: (4-4-1-1) GK Gilstrap, CB Tobin, CB Scott, LB Wagner, RB Knight, CM Osaki, CM Hlavaty, RM Shipalane, LM Anderson, F Albadawi, F Novo

PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR RAILHAWKS:
10. Nacho Novo: Played for Glasgow Rangers where he won 3 Scottish Premier League Championships, 1 Scottish Cup Championship, and 2 Scottish League Cups. While at Rangers Covo scored 47 goals in 179 appearances. Scored a goal that sent Rangers to 2008 UEFA Cup Final. Inducted into Rangers Hall of Fame.

STATS:
Goals: Nacho Novo 2, Simone Bracalello 1

INDY ELEVEN:
Head Coach: Juergen Sommer
Standings: P2 (1-2-0) 5 points

PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR ELEVEN:
Sergio Pena: Pena has become the best option for Eleven in the defensive mid position. His physicality and ability to distribute the ball around the field gives Eleven options in the attack. Pena loves shooting from long range and quite ALL critics last week with his 45 yard strike after taking bringing the ball down with his chest.

Don “Super Sub” Smart: Smart’s presences and speed on the field gives Eleven an edge the opponent cannot cope with. In the first three games this season Eleven scores immediately when Smart comes into the game. Playing the role of sub is very difficult and one most players do not want to embrace. But, Smart seems to have embraced this role by being able to give 100% effort and not being worried about pacing himself an entire 90 minutes like the starters do.

Kristian Nicht: The goalkeeping has been stellar once again this season. Nicht has kept Eleven in every game and has given the team the opportunity to win every game.

Greg Janicki: In my opinion, one of the keys for Indy Eleven this past offseason was acquiring experience and leadership to help such a young team. In his first three games as an Indy Eleven player, Janicki has been a tremendous asset to the team and has strengthen the core of the defense.

STATS:
Goals: Brown, Norales, Pena, Smart. Each player has one goal apiece.
Assists: Mares and Wojciech have one assist apiece
Goalkeeper: Nicht has allowed 1 goal per game in first three games.

LAST GAME FOR ELEVEN:
Away v. San Antonio, W 2-1.
Starting 11: (4-1-3-2) GK Nicht, CB Franco, CB Janicki, RB Norales, LB Frias, DM Ring, M Stojkov, M Mares, Melgares, F Brown, F Rugg
Goals: Norles and Pena

PREVIEW v. INDY ELEVEN:
All-time series record: 1-1-1
4/12/14 Draw, 1-1, Eleven’s inaugural game at Carroll stadium. Eleven goal by Mike Ambersly.
7/12/14 Eleven, won 2-1, Wakemed Soccer Park
9/27/14 Railhawks won 1-0, Carroll stadium

INJURIES: Indy Eleven and RailHawks rarely releases to the public who is out due to injury. However, Kleberson has missed the first two games of the season due to hamstring issue. It is likely Kleberson will be a game time decision.

NASL TEAM OF THE WEEK: Indy Eleven had three players nominated for NASL Team of the week. Goalkeeper Kristian Nicht, Defender Erick Norales, and Midfielder Sergio Pena who also picked up play of the week honors with a game winning 45 yard goal.

QUESTIONS HEADING INTO THE GAME ON SATURDAY:
1. Will Indy Eleven have balanced numbers in the midfield as they did in the second half against the Scorpions?

2. Can Indy Eleven contain RailHawks forwards Novo and Bracalello?

3. After playing the best game of soccer this season, can Indy Eleven cope with winning, the expectations that come with success, and challenge for the top of the table?

WHAT TO WATCH FOR (W2W4):
1. The RailHawks and Indy Eleven are susceptible to allowing goals from set pieces so pay close attention to who takes advantage of there opponent’s poor marking and clearances.

2. A clear snub in being nominated for last weeks team and play of the week, Greg Janicki’s has displayed tenacious defending and leadership in the back line for Eleven. This was visible last game with a goal line clearance via header and several blocked shots.

3. Possession Both Carolina and Indy lost in the possession battle last week. Indy Eleven turned the ball over to many times and it eventually lead to a Scorpions goal. This was a combination of the lack of numbers in the midfield, pace and quickness of play, movement off the ball, and pressure from San Antonio.

FUN FACTS: If there is one thing Indy Eleven and the Carolina RailHawks have in common its beer. Eleven along with a local brewing company, Flat 12 introduced a craft beer called Full 90. In Carolina, Lonerider Brewing Co. has come out with Kupono Captain’s Ale honoring Kupono Low a.k.a. “Mr. RailHawk.”

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