PREVIEW: INDY ELEVEN v. CAROLINA RAILHAWKS
All-time series record: Indy leads 2-2-1
4/12/14* Indy and Carolina draw 1-1 at Carroll Stadium. Mike Ambersley scores the first goal in Indy Eleven history.
7/12/14 Indy defeats Carolina 2-1 at Wakemed. Ben Spencer and Don Smart score for Indy.
4/25/15 Indy and Carolina tie 1-1 at Carroll Stadium. Own goal by Carolina.
7/11/15 Indy defeats Carolina 2-1 at Carroll Stadium. Wojciech Wojcik and Erick Norales scored for the Eleven.
10/30/15 Carolina beats Indy 3-1 at Wakemed. Marvin Ceballos scored for the Eleven.
*First game in Indy Eleven history.
After getting out to a fast start, taking max points in their first four games, the Railhawks have been brought back to earth since the start of May. In their last four NASL games Carolina has allowed 5 goals and have only found the net once themselves during that time. The Railhawks will be looking to end the spring season on a high and build momentum heading into the summer when they face the New England Revolution in US Open Cup play on June 15th and West Ham United of the English Premier League in a friendly in July.
On the flip side, Indy Eleven are currently in a three way tie for second place and are the only realistic team to challenge the New York Cosmos for the spring title. After undergoing frustrating seasons in their first two years of existence, the Eleven are now prepared to make history and bring home the first hardware in club history.
KEYS FOR THE ELEVEN:
Score. Score lots of goals: Since their breakout game against Minnesota United when the Eleven put up 4 goals, they have struggled to put shots on frame. Only 4 of the Eleven’s total shots against Jacksonville were on target, while only 1 shot against Miami challenged their keeper. Pressure will be on Justin Braun and Éamon Zayed to produce on the front line of Indy. Both Braun and Zayed’s biggest strength is inside the eighteen as all 5 of their combined goals have come from in the box. If they can receive service in the box look for both to score this weekend.
Outside midfielders must produce: In their last three NASL matches Indy Eleven have only connected on three crosses from open play. Even against Minnesota when Indy scored 4 goals, the Eleven were only successful on 2 of their 10 crosses. If they are to win against Carolina and have the margin of victory be four goals or more, the service into the box is at its most crucial. All of this will come down to Omar Gordon, Dylan Mares, and Don Smart who have been the three consistent starters on the wings for the Eleven since May 14th.
Next man up: Yes this is a cheesy cliché quote the football team in Indianapolis has been known to use from time to time. However, when it comes to Indy Eleven’s back line it has a fitting message. As Greg Janicki recovered from a facial fracture and Lovell Palmer still rehabbing a leg injury, Cory Miller and Marco Franco have stepped up and filled their roles with authority. Under immense pressure Miller came in late against Minnesota and swept away any scoring ideas the Loons had in mind. Even against Jacksonville, Miller won three tackles and majority of the duals he was involved in. For Franco, he shut down the right wing against Jacksonville and Miami while trying to contribute to the Eleven’s attacking options. Regardless if Miller or Franco start or come off the bench against Carolina both will be ready to be step up to the challenge.
Head Coach: Colin Clarke
Captain: Connor Tobin
NASL record: 4-2-3
Position in NASL: 5th
Previous game: 0-0 v. Jacksonville Armada
Formation: (4-4-2) GK, Fitzgerald; CB, Tobin; CB, Mensing; RB, Beckie; LB, Black; CM, Watson; CM, Albadawi; RM, Shipalane; LM, Da Luz; F, Schuler; F, Shriver.
NASL record: 3-6-0
Position in NASL: 2nd on 15 points
Previous game: D, 0-0 at Miami FC.
Formation: (4-4-2) GK, Busch; CB, Falvey; CB, Janicki; RB, Franco; LB, Vukovic; CM, Larrea; CM, Paterson; RM, Mares; LM, Gordon, F, Braun; F, Zayed.
Brad Ring (knee) out. Lovell Palmer (leg) out. Siniša Ubiparipović (hip) questionable. Don Smart questionable. Jair Reinoso questionable.
PROJECTED STARTING LINE-UP FOR ELEVEN:
Dylan Mares Tiyi Shipalane
0 Goals 2
0 Assists 0
78.5% Passing Accuracy 79.6%
33 Duels Won 33
1 Aerial duels Won 0
28 Recoveries 26
11 Interceptions 6
8 Tackles won 12
5 Chances Created 12
72% Passing Accuracy opp. Half 79.6%
2 Shots on goal 4
8 Shots off goal 4
The referee for this match has been the center official for two NASL matches this season. During those two games he awarded 47 fouls and 7 yellow cards.
Away goal difference
Away goals scored
The Eleven must win with a margin of plus 4 on Saturday night to claim the NASL Spring Championship.
QUESTIONS HEADING INTO SATURDAY’S MATCH:
Can the Eleven win by 4 or more goals after struggling in the final third these past two weeks?
As head coach Tim Hankinson stated, “Even though we risk an undefeated spring, you have to go after this game to go after the title.” That being said, could the Eleven change their formation from a 4-4-2 to a more attacking style?
Cary, North Carolina was founded by Allison Francis “Frank” Page. He built a hotel, grocery store, sawmill, and post office. The city was originally named Bradford after the town’s local pub. But Page, persuaded the town to be named after Samuel Cary a leader in the prohibition movement during the 19th century.
Cary is part of ‘The Triangle’ which includes the cities Raleigh and Durham.