Part two of A Champions Affair will look what to expect from both teams and key match-ups for Sunday’s friendly.
What can we expect from Indy Eleven?
This will be the only chance Indy Eleven gets to experiment and make final decisions on player personnel, formations, and tactics heading into the NASL fall season. As coach Hankinson stated the impact of this game will be crucial for Indy Eleven’s success during the fall: “The timing the week before the start of the season and knowing we have US Open Cup even a week before that, says this is not a team looking to take a break. It’s a team that needs to build and that is going to be a peak performance level game to know we are ready for the NASL season. For the fans expect a great football match.”
Pachuca’s underlying success to winning the Clausura was their ability to force their opponents to turn over the ball in conditions favorable to counter. This will help the Eleven play at a much higher tempo than what they experience in the NASL. Pachuca’s ability to play quick counter attacks and have individual players that can beat defenders with pace will benefit the Eleven in dealing with difficult situations by showing the team what to do and where to be when they do not have the ball. In addition, how to get out of situations when every player is behind the ball.
In terms of players, this will be the first time fans of the ‘Boys in Blue’ will get to see newcomer Gerardo Torrado suit up for the Eleven. They will get to see his fitness level, skill, pace with and without the ball, leadership on the field, and what kind of depth he will add to the defensive midfield position. In addition, it will be the first time most fans of the Eleven will witness Guinean international Souleymane Youla play, even though he did receive some minutes against the Chicago Fire in the US Open Cup. Youla should help take the pressure off Éamon Zayed and Justin Braun and allow for a more flexible rotation on the front line.
What can we expect form Pachuca?
A team that has a balance in young players that are complimented with veteran leadership. Already mentioning what Pachuca does without the ball, they are just as deadly with it as this team loves to play an attacking style by getting width in the attack. Pachuca’s first option is to cross. If the opportunity is not there, expect a quick combination inside the eighteen to split the defenders.
That being said, Pachuca will not be at full strength as some of their players are still playing or recovering from Copa American duties, or are with their national U23 team preparing for the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. This will allow players who did not see much action during the Clausura campaign receive some much needed minutes to show why they belong in the starting line-up in the fall.
Goalkeepers keep getting better with age: Jon Busch v. Oscar Pérez
It seems age does not matter if you play between the posts in soccer. Jon Busch at age 39 and Oscar Pérez at 43 have seen it all in the world of soccer. Both have represented their national teams respectively and know how to guide sides out of difficult situations. It will be remarkable and fun to watch these two seasoned veterans deny young whippersnappers the opportunity to score.
Speed kills: Jonathan Urretaviscaya v. Omar Gordon
Although they are listed as forwards Urretaviscaya and Gordon play as wide midfielders to add pace and support for their teams in the final third. Their ability to beat defenders with pace allows them to whip crosses from the flank or make that final penetrating pass for the goal. Both have helped their teams secure championships as Gordon had an assist during the final spring match against Carolina and Urretaviscaya had a career game against Santos in the playoffs.
I still expect the favorable 4-4-2 formation to be used by the Eleven. But we could see some different rotations within the lineup.
Part 3 of A Champions Affair will be out on match day morning.