In this addition of Lady Victory and Her Quest for Glory, I will be discussing Indy Eleven’s dramatic tie with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, preview Eleven’s upcoming road game against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and discuss briefly the changes that were made to Indy Eleven’s coaching staff.
TAMPA BAY ROWDIES
Indy Eleven and the Tampa Bay Rowdies ended in a climatic 2-2 draw on Saturday night. A game which both teams spent more time in the locker room than playing on the field. While fans had to settle for a concert in the parking garage next door or a hockey playoff game on television because of a lengthy lightening delay. The Eleven scored first in the 21st minute right before the officials evacuated the field and stadium. Kyle Hyland chipped a ball into the 18 yard box to Brian Brown, who turned and laid the ball off to Dylan Mares who found the back of the net. After the long delay, those who stayed got more than they bargained for. The Rowdies evened the score 5 minutes before halftime as Rich Balchan’s shot deflected off Corey Miller’s left foot to level the score at 1-1.
The second half saw the Eleven dominate possession and attacking opportunities only to be denied a goal. In the 68th minute Maicon Santos header from Georgi Hristov’s corner gave the Rowdies their first lead of the game. This was the moment the game turned on its head. Santos received a straight red card in the 74th minute after tangling with the Eleven’s Corey Miller who was given a yellow. Then, Stefan Antonijevic was shown red after seeing his second yellow card in the 89th minute. Why Antonijevic was given his second yellow we may never know. As the Rowdies played with nine men and seven minutes of injury time added to the end of the game, it was Kyle Hyland’s time to step up. The former IUPUI Jaguar who played his collegiate career at Carroll stadium, delivered a left footed strike from 25 yards out that hit the bottom of the cross bar and in. Seconds later, Tampa Bay saw their third red as Georgi Hristov was sent off for reasons we do not know.
PREVIEW: INDY ELEVEN AT FORT LAUDERDALE STRIKERS
All-time series: Fort Lauderdale leads 2-1-0 (W,D,L)
4/26/14 Strikers over Eleven 3-2 at Lockhart Stadium. Goals for Indy: Kleberson and Norales.
8/6/14 Strikers and Eleven tie 0-0 at Carroll Stadium.
9/20/14 Strikers over Eleven 2-1 at Lockhart Stadium. Goal for Indy: Jamie Frías.
As the Tampa Bay Rowdies revitalized their club this past off season, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers did the same. The Strikers went through an ownership change with a Brazilian flavor. The Strikers majority owner is Paulo Cesso. However, their minority owner’s name and brand is recognized as one of the greatest to ever play the game of soccer in Ronaldo. At one time Ronaldo held the record for most goals scored in FIFA World Cup history with 15 while representing Brazil (not to be confused with Cristiano Ronaldo). Ronaldo went on to play for Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid. Also, the Strikers have six players on their roster from Brazil. Fort Lauderdale’s most famous player currently on the roster is Leo Maura who played the last ten years for Flamengo.
The Strikers have hit a losing skid of late as they have not won since the 25th of April. Since that time the Strikers have suffered two draws and two defeats in league play. In addition, Fort Lauderdale lost in the third round of US Open Cup play, falling 2-3 to USL team, Charleston Battery. In their last league game against San Antonio this past weekend, the Strikers scored their first goal in three games. The Strikers can still match their points total from last spring but will have to figure out where their goals will come from. Last year, the Strikers had the luxury of relying on Fafà Picult who tailed 12 goals last year for Fort Lauderdale.
On Tuesday, Indy Eleven made drastic changes to the coaching staff. Director of Soccer and Head Coach Juergen Sommer was released of his duties along with assistant, Paul Telfer. Assistant coach Tim Regan was promoted to interim Head Coach. Along with Regan guiding the team from the sidelines will be Kleberson, while he recovers from a torn Achilles he suffered in early May. Rounding out the coaching staff is Marion University Women’s Head Coach Gary Yohe who will be involved in coaching the goalkeepers. These changes come at an interesting time with only two weeks left in the spring season. But gives Tim Regan just enough time to show he has what it takes to be a head coach. Indy’s season started with such promise as the Eleven extended their unbeaten streak from last season and where sitting as high as second in the standings as they took points in each of their first four games. The defeat to the Armada on May 9th in Jacksonville started a four game losing streak that included a 0-2 defeat to Louisville City FC in US Open Cup Play. Indy collected their first point this past weekend since April 25th. The team’s only win came against defending NASL Champion, San Antonio Scorpions, on April 18th when Sergio Peña hit a 55 yard goal for the winner. It will be interesting to see the new philosophy and lineup changes this coaching staff will make over the next two games. Having Kleberson as an assistant should help the team’s attacking principles as Indy has only score eight goals in nine games. The only team that has scored fewer goals in the NASL is Atlanta. In addition, this weekend should present a good opportunity for the Eleven to record their first clean sheet of the year as Fort Lauderdale has only scored eight goals this season as well. Indy is the last remaining team that has not reordered a clean sheet in the NASL.
FORT LAUDERDALE STRIKERS:
Head Coach: Marcelo Neveleff
Captain: Léo Maura
NASL record: 2-2-4 (W,D,L)
Position in NASL: 8th
Last game: D, 1-1 at San Antonio. Goal for the Strikers, Pinho.
Formation: (4-2-3-1) GK, Brown; CB, Sanfilippo; CB, Kling; LB, Guerrero; RB, Maura; DM, Marcelin; DM, Freitas; AM, Sánchez; LM, PC; RM, Chin; F, Pinho.
NASL record: 1-4-3 (W,D,L)
Position in NASL: 11th
Last game: D, 2-2 v. Tampa Bay. Goals for the Eleven, Mares and Hyland.
Formation: (4-1-4-1) GK, Nicht; CB, Janicki; CB, Miller; LB, Hyland; RB, Franco; DM, Keller; LM, Pineda; RM, Stojkov; CM, Mares; CM, Brown; F, Rugg.
Goals: Sergio Peña, 2. Brian Brown, Kyle Hyland, Dylan Mares, Erick Norales, and Don Smart with 1 goal each.
Assists: Dylan Mares, 2. Brian Brown and Wojciech Wojcik with 1 assist each.
Goalkeepers: Kristian Nicht is averaging 1.17 goals per game, allowing 7 goals on 15 saves in six games. Keith Cardona is averaging 2 goals per game, allowing 4 goals on 6 saves in two games.
Goals: Jose Angulo and Léo Moura with 2 each. Marlon Freitas, PC, Stefano Pinho, Dani Sánchez each have 1 goal.
Assists: Marlon Freitas, Stefano Pinho, Shawn Chin, and James Marcelin with 1 assist each.
Goalkeepers: David Meves is averaging 1.20 goals per game, allowing 6 goals on 19 saves in 5 games. Lionel Brown is averaging 1.05 goals per game, allowing 3 goals on 15 saves in 3 games.
Eleven: Kleberson (midfield) Achilles. Erick Norales did not feature against the Rowdies last weekend after limping off the field against Louisville City in Eleven’s US Open Cup game. Sergio Peña has not featured for the Eleven since leaving in the 34th minute against Ottawa on May 23rd.
Strikers: David Meves (Goalkeeper) fractured jaw. Joe Nasco (Goalkeeper) fractured fibula and foot. Karsten Smith (Defender).
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Corey Miller, Defender: Corey signed with Indy Eleven last August and made an immediate impact in the team. This year, the twenty-six year old has only started two games for the Eleven and recorded one yellow card against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. After Erick Norales picked up seemed to be an injury in the US Open Cup game against Louisville City FC, expect Miller to add his physical playing style along with Greg Janicki’s tenacious defending in Eleven’s back line.
PC, midfielder: His real name is Victor Giro, but his nickname is “PC.” He came to the Strikers after featuring in one of Brazil’s most famous soccer teams, Corinthians. PC played for Corinthians U17 and U20 teams. PC is only one of five players on the Strikers roster to have started every league game this season. PC’s only goal this year won play of the week in the NASL after the midfielder’s long range goal was the game winner over Jacksonville. He was also selected as player of the week for his performance in the same game. PC featured as an outside back for Corinthians’s youth teams but since joining Fort Lauderdale he has shown his versatile playing style by occupying the outside back, outside midfielder, and center midfielder position.
This will be the second game in a row the Eleven will have a center referee who primarily features as a 4th official. This ref was center for one USL game earlier this season and handed out two cautions.
QUESTIONS HEADING INTO SATURDAY’S MATCH:
What changes will we see in Tim Regan’s first game in charge?
Can Indy Eleven take advantage of the Strikers losing skid and bring three points back to Indianapolis?
The Eleven scored two goals in a game against Tampa Bay for the first time since April 18th win over San Antonio. Can the Eleven start a streak of multiple goal games?
The Eleven have not recorded a clean sheet since October of last season. With Fort Lauderdale struggling to find the net, can the Eleven get their first clean sheet of the year?
Indy’s last trip to the Sunshine State did not go well dealing with the heat. Can the Eleven deal with the heat and humidity in Fort Lauderdale?
Kyle Hyland became Indy Eleven’s first player in franchise history to be named NASL Player of the Week. Hyland’s assist and long range equalizing goal lead to Hyland picking up the hardware.
With two goalkeepers out with injury the Strikers signed Josh Ford on loan from Orlando City SC of the MLS.
Former Indy Eleven midfielder, Walter Ramírez plays for the Strikers. Ramírez has logged 166 minutes for the Strikers in five games and has started in two this season.
Stefano Pinho of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers was awarded for his first goal against San Antonio last week as he was selected for NASL Team of the Week.