By Trey Higdon
For those who haven’t heard by now, it was announced on, Wednesday May 25th, that Indy Eleven would be taking on Liga MX’s C.F. Pachuca on Sunday, June 26th, at Carroll Stadium.
“As you know, soccer is the most global sport,” said Indy Eleven’s Owner Ersal Ozdemir. “Our long term plan is not just to grow soccer [in the city], but to impact the city altogether. We want to make sure we continue to put Indianapolis on the map in different places.”
This match-up with one of Mexico’s top sides will mark the third time in the past three years that international play has made landfall in the Circle City. In 2013, English Premier League titans, Chelsea F.C., trounced Italy’s Serie A heavyweights F.C. Internazionale Milano (Inter Milan) 2-0 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Fast forward two years later to 2015, our “Boys in Blue” squared off against Liga MX’s Monarcas Morelia—resulting in a 0-0 draws in our first international friendly. All of this bringing us to where we are today, as we (I’m) patiently wait to take-on the Liga MX champions.
Ozdemir indicated his hopes towards the working, developing relation between the Eleven and Mexico’s top competitors. It is possible that, over time, we could see the return of future Liga MX and potentially additional international teams on the pitch of “The Mike”.
“We have to build a better relationship with Mexico; we want to have talent from Mexico and we want to know more about our club, as well….We will focus on Mexico for the foreseeable future…”
Building relationships with international teams and organizations isn’t the only benefit Indy Eleven will receive from this matchup. While future player and coaching loans and marketing ventures seems enticing to the bigwigs managing the team, Tim Hankinson, Indy Eleven’s head coach, focuses on another aspect: Experience.
“The main focus is the game and this is a team that has million dollar players at every position…national team players” Hankinson said. “It’s a big test for us, but it will be an exciting day for the players.”
The match will take place just a week after the Eleven take on the Chicago Fire in the fourth round of Lamar U.S. Open Cup, which takes place days after the end of the NASL spring season. What would normally be a break for players to recoup and recover from injuries is now packed with two extremely important matches prior to our club’s start to the fall season.
“…This is not a team looking to take a break; it’s a team that needs to build,” Hankinson proclaims.
With details still being worked out between Pachuca’s schedule in Indy, as well as possible public transportation to the match and corresponding events in the city, Hankinson claims that this is “without a doubt the biggest match of the year.”
For those who question if we can win this, I have three words for you.
“Si Se Puede.”
POSTER CREDIT: INDY ELEVEN AND PACHUCA