In this addition of Lady Victory and Her Quest for Glory, I will be previewing Indy Eleven’s Saturday night math up against Minnesota United.

There are three major keys for Indy Eleven this weekend. First, the Eleven have to convert their opportunities in their final third. Last week the Eleven looked strong in front of goal but did not challenge Scorpions goalkeeper, Daniel Fernandes. The Eleven opted for a route one direct style to push into the attack, which was effective, but only resulted in 1 goal. Second, Indy has to stop Minnesota’s lethal attack of Pablo Campos, Ibson, and Christian Ramirez when the Loons counter. The Loons are not a traditional team when it comes to possession. Rather, they get the ball up the pitch quickly on the counter and use patterns of play in the final third. With this, the Eleven will have to be careful about sending numbers forward into the attack and not allow Campos, Ibson, and Ramirez to have space with the ball. Third, Indy Eleven have to convert from set pieces. The Eleven will not have many opportunities to score and taking full advantage from dead ball situations is a must. On the flip side, the Eleven cannot afford to give up free kicks in their own half.

It will be interesting to see if Tim Regan will stay with a 4-1-4-1 formation as he did last game with all of the injuries the squad has. We could once again see players such as Dragan Stojkov and Don Smart play out of position and restrict Indy’s options going forward. If Regan does have options, will he select Sergio Peña as his defensive midfielder or will he go with Brad Ring or Daniel Keller? Peña will be able to use his strength and size against Campos. But Ring, if healthy, and Keller can counter Ibson and Ramirez’s speed.

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PREVIEW: INDY ELEVEN  

All-time series record: Loons lead 4-0-1

5/14/14: Loons win 3-2 in Minnesota. Kleberson scores (pk) for Indy.

8/16/14: Loons win 5-1 in Minnesota. Kleberson scores for Indy.

10/11/14*: Eleven win 2-0 in Indianapolis. Goals from Pineda and Jhulliam.

5/16/15: Loons win 3-1 in Indianapolis. Sergio Peña scored for Indy

9/2/15: Loons win 1-0 in Minnesota.

*FIRST HOME WIN IN FRANCHISE HISTORY.

MINNESOTA UNITED:

Head Coach: Manny Lagos

Captain: Aaron Pitchkolan

NASL fall record: 10-5-2 (W, L, D)

Position in NASL fall/combined standings: 2nd/2nd (clinched a playoff spot)

Last game: W, 2-1 v. Fort Lauderdale Strikers

Formation: (4-2-3-1) GK, Ndjock; CB, Calvano; CB, Pitchkolan (C); RB, Venegas; LB, Davis; DM, Jordan; DM, Ramirez; RM, Mendes; LM, Ibson; AM, Alhassan; F, Campos.

INDY ELEVEN:

NASL fall record: 3-5-9 (W, L, D)

Position in NASL fall/combined standings: 11th/10th

Last game: L, 1-2 v. San Antonio Scorpions

Formation: (4-1-4-1) GK, Cardona; CB, Norales (C); CB, Miller; RB, Stojkov; LB, Frías; DM, Peña; CM, Pineda; CM, Ceballos; RM, Richards; LM, Lacroix; F, Brown.

STATS:

Eleven:

Team

Goals for: 30

Goals against: 43

Goal difference: -13

Yellow cards: 34 (Corey Miller, 5)

Red cards: 4 (Erick Norales, 2)

Individual

Goals: Dylan Mares, 4; Brian Brown, 3; Erick Norales, 3; Dane Richards, 3; Duke Lacroix, 2; Sergio Peña, 2; Victor Pineda, 2; Don Smart, 2; Zach Steinberger, 2; Wojciech Wojcik, 2; Marvin Ceballos, 1; Jamie Frías, 1; Kyle Hyland, 1; Judson McKinney, 1.

Assists: Dylan Mares, 4; Brian Brown, 2; Don Smart, 2; Dragan Stojkov, 2; Wojciech Wojcik, 2; Victor Pineda, 1; Marvin Ceballos, 1; Kyle Hyland, 1; Daniel Keller, 1; Charlie Rugg, 1.

Goalkeepers: Kristian Nicht has allowed 32 goals on 53 saves and a 1.77 goals against average in 19 games (all competitions). Keith Cardona has allowed 13 goals on 29 saves and has a 1.44 goals against average in 9 NASL games.

Minnesota United:

Team

Goals for: 50

Goals against: 34

Goal difference: +16

Yellow cards: 58 (Tiago Calvano, 9)

Red cards: 1 (Juliano Vicentini, 1)

Individual

Goals: Christian Ramirez, 11; Ibson, 6; Pablo Campos, 6; Daniel Mendes, 6; Justin Davis, 5; Kalif Alhassan, 4; JC Banks, 2; Juliano Vicentitni, 2; Tiago Calvano, 1; Aaron Pitchkolan, 1; Kevin Venegas, 1; Jamie Watson, 1.

Assists: Christian Ramirez, 6; Kalif Alhassan, 5; Kevin Venegas, 5; Ibson, 4; Pablo Campos, 2; Daniel Mendes, 2; Justin Davis, 2; JC Banks, 2; Tiago Calvano, 1.

Goalkeepers: Sammy Ndjock has allowed 20 goals on 49 saves and a goal against average of 1 in 20 games. Mitch Hildebrandt has allowed 13 goals on 24 saves and has a goal against average of 1.86 in 7 games.

PROBABLE STARTERS

Indy                                                                            Minnesota

GK: Cardona                                                              GK: Ndjock

RB: Franco                                                                  RB: Venegas

CB: Miller                                                                    CB: Dias

CB: Norales                                                                CB: Pitchkolan

LB: Hyland                                                                  LB: Br. Kallman

DM: Keller                                                                   DM: Ibson

CM: Mares                                                                  DM: Alhassan

CM: Ceballos                                                              RM: Mendes

RM: Stojkov                                                                LM: Banks

LM: Lacroix                                                                AM: Ramirez

F: Wojcik                                                                    F: Cambos

INJURIES:

Eleven:

Kyle Hyland, questionable. Marco Franco, questionable. Judson McKinney, questionable. Brad Ring, questionable (stress fracture in left foot). Daniel Cuevas, out (fractured leg). Charlie Rugg out (hernia).

Minnesota United:

Juliano Vicentini out (hamstring). Tiago Calvano out. Justin Davis out.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Eleven:

Duke Lacroix, midfielder: Look for the speedy midfielder to cause havoc on the left side of the pitch. Lacroix’s ability to stretch the field and take defenders on in one on one situations is crucial if the Eleven look to have any success pushing forward. With Calvano and Davis out for Minnesota, Lacroix must expose this area of the Loons line-up.

Minnesota United:

Pablo Campos, forward: Now that Miguel Ibarra has left for Mexico MX and Juliano Vicentini sidelined because of injury, expect Campos to be the main focus for the Loons attack. Campos’s ability to use his strength, size, and speed will cause issues for Eleven’s back line. As Campos draws attention from defenders look for Christian Ramirez to play off of him in give and go situations.

REFEREE:

In 18 games this year the center ref has awarded 486 fouls, 64 cautions, and 5 red cards. The center ref is averaging 3.56 yellow cards and 0.28 red cards per game. As physical as both teams are expect the whistle and referee’s book to be used frequently.

QUESTIONS HEADING INTO SATURDAY’S MATCH:

Recently, Tim Regan has used formations to cut down on the Eleven’s vulnerability of getting beat on the counter. Even last week when the Eleven were in numbers up situations defensively, they were beat. Could we see fewer Eleven players push into the attack this week with the threat of Minnesota’s counter?

Can Indy Eleven challenge Sammy Ndjock and find the back of the net from open play and set pieces?

If healthy, will Marco Franco and Kyle Hyland start as the outside backs or could we see Jamie Frias and Dragan Stojkov start in those spots?

FUN FACTS:

Minnesota United will be joining the MLS for the 2017 season. This is a year prior to the original start and although the Loons have struggled to find land to build a new stadium it looks like St. Paul will be the destination.

The Loons have seven players on their roster from Brazil.

The Loons have seven players on their roster from Brazil.

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