In this addition of Lady Victory and Her Quest for Glory, I will be discussing Indy Eleven’s 1-3 loss to Minnesota United and their upcoming league game against the Ottawa Fury in Canada.

Rain was threatening all day on Saturday, but come kickoff the game between Indy Eleven and Minnesota United only witnessed sprinkles. While the Eleven fans witnessed four goals during the 90 minutes of play. A fast pace, high intensity first half saw Minnesota United score first from Kalif Alhassan’s free kick. The former Portland Timber and Ghana international delivered a deadly strike combined with Keith Cardona’s late reaction, resulted in the goal. At the start of the second half, Sergio Peña scored off a header from a Dylan Mares corner, to level Eleven and United at 1-1. A result of deadly patterns of play by the Loons and defensive break downs by the Eleven resulted in the next two goals for Minnesota (no offense to Eleven’s TV and radio commentators by Ray Hudson would have loved this game). The Loons regained the lead in the 63 minute. Pablo Campos received a through ball after making a run between two Eleven defenders toward the right side of the 18. Campos’s shot was blocked by Cardona but as the ball lofted towards the far post, Justin Davis was there to put the ball in the back of the net and score the game winner. Minnesota sealed the game in the 83rd minute when Christian Ramirez, who just entered the game three minutes earlier, slipped a through ball past two Eleven defenders to free Julian Vicentini whose left footed shot was slotted under Cardona to the far inside part of the goal.

After suffering a 0-1 loss to Jacksonville, Eleven made four changes to their lineup against Minnesota. Drastic lineup changes by the coaching staff are common in sports after a bad loss. The coach changes the lineup for one of two reasons. First, to address a long term problem with a short term fix. Second, the coach needs to change the lineup so players do not feel their starting position is a guarantee. In my opinion, the changes for this game were made to show the players their starting positions were not a guarantee and to counter Minnesota’s speed and technical game. Corey Miller was in place of Greg Janicki and had the task of facing Pablo Campos. At times the lineup changes worked, but in the end Minnesota won out.

Pablo Campos was a force that Indy Eleven could not stop. On television, Campos’s 6 foot 3 inch frame does not give him justice. But live and in person, he towers over everyone. I have not seen a player of Campos’s size since former Chelsea player Romelu Lukaku played against Inter Milan in Indianapolis in 2013. Size is usually an indication a player will have strong and physical individual game. In the case of Campos, he provides a technical game that is supplemented with speed. Even though Campos did not score, he created several chances for Minnesota inside the Loons final third. His reputation as being a golden boot winner was evident in this game. His turn on Kyle Hyland was quite spectacular and should have resulted in a penalty for Minnesota in the 35th minute. Although Campos received a yellow card for what the referee interpreted as a dive after beating Hyland, I disagreed with the call. Loons Head Coach, Manny Lagos was furious with the call and reiterated that during his halftime interview. Campos went down in the box for a second time in the 54th minute but the referee wanted nothing to do with it.

Indy Eleven did an outstanding job keeping United States National Team player Miguel Ibarra in check all night. Ibarra who started the game on the left side, shifted from the left to right wing every eight to ten minutes to keep Eleven honest. Hyland and Franco were conscious of where Ibarra was at all times because they could not push into the attack when Ibarra was on their side of the field. Every time Ibarra received the ball in Minnesota’s final third, Eleven did well to swarm the US international and halt any attacking ideas he had in mind. In the second half, Ibarra fell silent as Campos did majority of the work up top to create Minnesota’s chances.

OTTAWA

For the second game in a row, Eleven are in desperate need of a win for three reasons. First, collecting three points in the Canadian capital could see Indy jump up as high as 4th.  A loss and Eleven could fall to the bottom of the table. Second, a win would even up the all-time series at 2-2. Third, a win by Indy would make Ottawa Head Coach, Mark Dos Santos, regret that he guaranteed a win over the Eleven.

The Fury and Eleven have had similar seasons up to this point. The Fury are in last place on 5 points with the Eleven in 9th just one point ahead. The Fury have played two more games overall, with the Amway Canadian Championship starting sooner in the season. This competition is similar to the US Open Cup, which the Eleven will participate in next Wednesday at home against Louisville FC. In this Amway Canadian Championship, FC Edmonton had the better of the Fury, winning both games by a score of 3-1. Another similarity between the two teams is the fact that they have only received one goal from their forwards this season. Tom Heinemann of the Fury and Brian Brown for Indy have one goal each. Defensively, each team has struggled to stop the ball from going into their own net. Ottawa has recorded two clean sheets but have allowed nine goals so far this season. Eleven, has allowed eight goals without recording a clean sheet. Formation wise Ottawa has played with a 4-3-3 formation this year, as they did last season against the Eleven. It will be interesting to see if the Fury still implement their technical/possession style against the Eleven on Saturday. It is always tough for opposing teams playing in Ottawa with the long travel. In addition, the Fury are coming off a bye week heading into their game against Indy. The break comes at a good point in the Fury’s season, as they had played five games in eighteen days. The good news for Indy Eleven is, Tony Donatelli is no longer with Ottawa. Donatelli scored two first half goals for Ottawa last spring against the Eleven and was a real problem for Eleven’s back line and Kristian Nicht in the other two games last year. We should expect the Fury and Eleven to really go for the 3 points on Saturday afternoon.

PREVIEW: INDY ELEVEN V. OTTAWA FURY

Fury leads all time series 2-0-1 (W,D,L)

5/17/14: Fury over Eleven 4-2. Indy goals from Ambersley and Spencer.

8/23/14: Fury over Eleven 2-1. Indy goal from Smart.

10/26/14: Eleven over Fury 4-2. Indy goals from Jhulliam and Pineda.

OTTAWA FURY:

Head Coach: Marc Dos Santos

Captain: Richie Ryan (do not mistake him for teammate Ryan Richter)

Record: 1-2-3 (W,D,L)

Position in standings: 11th

STATS:

Eleven:

Goals: Sergio Peña 2. Brian Brown, Erick Norales, and Don Smart with one goal each.

Assists: Dylan Mares, 2; Wojcik Wojciech, 1.

Goalkeepers: Kristian Nicht is averaging 1 goal per game and allowing 4 goals on 13 saves. Keith Cardona has allowed 4 goals on 6 saves in 2 games.

Fury:

Goals: Rafael Alves, Tom Heinemann, Nicki Paterson, and Bradon Poltronieri with one goal each.

Assists: Paulo Junior and Siniša Ubiparipović with one assist each.

Goalkeeper: Romuald Desire Peiser is averaging 1.33 goals per game and allowing 8 goals on 16 saves in 6 games.

INJURIES:

Eleven: Kleberson, Achilles. Dragan Stojkov, lower leg.

Fury: Richie Ryan, knee. Andrew Wiedeman, concussion. Tom Heinemann, will be a game time decision.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Eleven:

Duke Lacroix- Indy Eleven added more depth today at the striker position in the form of an Ivy Leaguer. Lacroix scored 25 goals and 15 assists in 68 games for the University of Pennsylvania. The twenty-one year old will join Brown, Rugg, and Wojcik up top and should add a spark for the Eleven.

REFEREES:

Since the game is in Canada I could not find who would be the center ref nor stats concerning the referees. However, I found it interesting that the Fury have already accumulated thirteen cautions and one red card in six games. While Eleven, has nine yellow cards in six. With Jacksonville and Minnesota the only two opponents Eleven has face this year to receive cards in their games.

QUESTIONS HEADING INTO THE GAME ON SATURDAY:

On Saturday the Eleven will start a run of three games in eight days. Therefore, we must ask, how deep is this Indy Eleven roster with rotations ever present in the next three games?

Will Eleven get out to a quick start against Ottawa or will they play like a typical road team as they did against Jacksonville?

FUN FACTS:

Indy Eleven and Ottawa Fury came into the NASL together last season. Ottawa launched their franchise in 2011 and the Eleven in 2013.

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