In this edition of Lady Victory and Her Quest for Glory, I will be discussing Indy Eleven’s first home match of 2016.
PREVIEW: INDY ELEVEN v. OTTAWA FURY
All-time series record: Ottawa leads 5-0-1 (W, D, L)
5/17/14 Fury over Eleven 4-2 in Indianapolis. Indy Eleven goals by Mike Ambersley and Ben Spencer.
8/23/14 Fury over Eleven 2-1 in Indianapolis. Indy Eleven goal by Don Smart.
10/26/14 Eleven over Fury 2-1 in Ottawa. Indy Eleven goals by Jhulliam and Victor Pineda.
5/23/15 Fury over Eleven 1-0 in Ottawa.
7/19/15 Fury over Eleven 4-2 in Ottawa. Indy Eleven goals were scored by Don Smart and Judson McKinney.
8/8/15 Fury over Eleven 4-1 in Indianapolis. Indy Eleven goal by Duke Lacroix.
The Ottawa Fury and Indy Eleven saw drastic changes this offseason to their coaching staffs and rosters. While Indy brought in head coach Tim Hankinson, the Fury said goodbyes to Marc Dos Santos and welcomed in Paul Dalglish. Yes that is Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish’s son. The coaching change for the Fury was less dramatic compared to the turmoil and confusion that occurred with their roster. A few players the Fury lost included: their top goal scorer in Tom Heinemann, play maker Siniša Ubiparipović, captain Richie Ryan, and center back Colin Falvey. Then things got interesting indeed. Indy Eleven signed three Fury players, two of which came via transfer; Ubiparipović, Falvey, and midfielder Nicki Paterson. I am not calling this a revenge game for the three former Fury players. Instead, I see this as a “we are going to show you what could have been” game.
OTTAWA v. NEW YORK:
Although the Fury lost 3-0 to the defending NASL champions, the result does not reflect what the stats show. Ottawa still completed 292 of 384 passes for a 76% completion rate. Also, they were able to create 25 crosses during the game. The Fury struggled because they tried to create a high line as the average position was in the middle of the field. In addition, the heat map shows the majority of the Fury’s work was done on the outsides because the Cosmos exposed the weak left side of the Fury.
THREE KEYS TO THE GAME FOR INDY ELEVEN: Paterson, Ring, and Ubiparipović.
As I have stated before the defensive midfielders (6 and 8) are the two most important positions in the 4-2-3-1 formation. Brad Ring and Nicki Paterson were responsible for these positions last Saturday and they came through for the Eleven. They attempted 41 passes each as Ring completed 78% of his passes and Paterson 58%. This is key for any team in the 4-2-3-1 as the defensive mids start the build up from the back as a team transitions from defensive to the attack.
Overall, I was impressed with the relationship between Paterson and Ring in terms of their style of play, communication, composure, and fitness. Ring was excellent last year but has improved tremendously as he looks stronger, quicker, and his vision of the field was on display against the Rowdies. Although Paterson only played 63 minutes it was his first competitive match since last June after suffering an ACL injury. If Paterson and Ring are able to put a consistent run of games together and are able to connect with Siniša Ubiparipović, they will be the best midfielders in the league regardless of what the stats may or may not show.
The third key for Indy Eleven on Saturday night against Ottawa is, Ubiparipović. Against the Rowdies he had 52 touches, completed 31 of 38 passes, and 36% of his passes were played forward. However, Ubiparipović only created 1 chance in the attack. As Ottawa works out their new back line, Ubiparipović should easily create 6-8 chances against the Fury. In addition, he will have more combinations with Eamon Zayed. Whether those combinations are give-and-goes or through balls, these two players must link up more in this game.
I predict Indy Eleven takes three points with a 2-0 win. They do this by completing 300 or more passes as Ring, Paterson, and Ubiparipović have the highest amount of touches and combinations.
Head Coach: Paul Dalglish
Captain: Julian de Guzman
NASL record: 0-0-1 (W-D-L)
Position in NASL: 11th
Last game: L, 0-3 v. New York Cosmos
Formation: (4-3-3) GK, Romuald Peiser; LB, Timbó; CB, Rafael Alves; CB, Lance Rozeboom; RB, Kyle Porter; CM, Julian de Guzmán; CM, Mozzi Gyorio; CM, Marcel de Jong; F, Gerardo Bruna; F, Paulo Júnior; F, Dennis Chin.
Head Coach: Tim Hankinson
Captain: Colin Falvey
NASL record: 0-1-0 (W-D-L)
Position in NASL: 6th
Last game: D, 0-0 v. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Formation: (4-2-3-1) GK, Bush; LB Vukovic, RB, Palmer; CB, Falvey; CB, Janicki; DM, Paterson; DM, Ring; AM, Ubiparipović; RM, Braun; LM, Lacroix; F, Zayed.
Eleven: Daniel Keller (midfielder) bone bruise.
Ottawa Fury: Pablo Dyego (forward), out 6-8 months with knee injury. Kyle Venter (defender), out 6-8 months with knee injury. Rich Balchan (defender), Marcel DeBellis (goalkeeper), and Carl Haworth (forward) are day-to-day.
Unavailable: Onua Obasi (Ottawa) is playing in the Major Arena Soccer Championship with the Baltimore Blast on Sunday. Obasi will not be available for the Fury until April 24th v. FC Edmonton.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Colin Falvey, Nicki Paterson, and Siniša Ubiparipović: All three players played together in Ottawa before joining Indy Eleven. They were part of last year’s Fury team that made it to the final against New York.
Julian de Guzman(midfielder): The most recognizable player for the Ottawa Fury and Canadian national team, de Guzman wears the arm band for both squads. If he did not have to miss the NASL Championship last year because of international duty, we could be saying the Fury are the defending champions. De Guzman logged over 1,000 minutes for the Fury in 2015 and will be the core of the team once again this year.
In two games this years the center referee has awarded 46 fouls, issued 6 yellow, and 2 red cards.
QUESTIONS HEADING INTO SATURDAY’S MATCH: Important to most important
- How will the back six of Indy Eleven adjust from a big physical forward like Tom Heinemann to the quick pace of Dennis Chin?
- The Eleven did well transitioning from the attack to defense against Tampa. But can they be more efficient in switching from defense to attack?
- Can Ubiparipović get more touches on the ball to help jump start the Eleven in the final third?
Indy Eleven defender Nemanja Vukovic was selected for NASL team of the week. Vukovic led the Eleven in touches with 70, won 3 of 7 duels, and had 3 interceptions against the Rowdies.
Ottawa Fury signed Bryan Olivera on loan from Fluminense.
PHOTO CREDIT FOR FEATURED IMAGED: Trey Higdon