PREVIEW: INDY ELEVEN v. MINNESOTA UNITED
All-time series record: Minnesota leads 4-0-3
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 beat Minnesota United 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.
10/17/15: Eleven beat Minnesota United 3-1 in Indianapolis. Goals for Indy by Brown, Mares, and Ring.
5/21/16: Eleven defeat the Loons 4-2 in Indianapolis. Justin Braun, Omar Gordon, Nicki Paterson, and Éamon Zayed scored for Indy.
**FIRST HOME WIN IN CLUB HISTORY
In the span of two weeks Indy Eleven and Minnesota United will face off twice in a battle for top spot in the NASL combine and fall table. After their July 16th match is complete neither team will see each other unless Minnesota makes the playoffs. A similar situation happened last year when it seemed the New York Cosmos and the Eleven faced off every week in July and August.
Expect major rotations in the starting lineup this weekend as the Eleven have a midweek trap game at home against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on July 13th. These next three matches will test the Eleven and show their depth and resilience once again as they go up against some of the best teams in the league. It is in these situations where players like Keith Cardona, Daniel Keller, and Neil Shaffer play just as big of a role as those who have received an abundance of playing time.
After falling to the Eleven on May 21st, the Loons have gone 2-2 in league play. Minnesota lost to Tampa Bay and Rayo OKC while beating bottom tier Miami and Carolina. But one thing is for sure, the Loons are still one of the deadliest scoring teams in the league as they led the NASL with 21 goals.
KEYS FOR THE ELEVEN:
Treat it like a playoff game: This game against Minnesota United could potentially be a playoff match-up come November. There is still a ton of soccer to play and both teams may not put out their best starting lineup as they face each other the falling week. However, the Eleven need to raise the intensity and level of play as if it was a single elimination playoff match- even greater than they did against Carolina when a trophy was on the line.
Set the tone and score early: For the Eleven to bring the intensity, they need to set the tone early. This means challenging and winning 50/50 balls in crucial areas of the field. Then, convert those wins into a goal. In three of Minnesota’s four losses in the NASL, the Loons have surrendered first half goals. If the Eleven want to come away with 3 points in a potential playoff game, they must score in the first half. This does not mean the Eleven need to dominate on the stat sheet. Rather, set the tone by doing the little things stats do not pick up.
Convert scoring opportunities: Indy Eleven have shown they can score multiple goals in a match within the style they play. Scoring at home has been easier for the ‘boys in blue’ as majority of their goals have come at home. However, this match will be completely different than the last time these two teams played and either team may only see one or two chances to score. The Eleven must convert those few opportunities whether it be from open play or set pieces.
MINNESOTA UNITED FC:
Head Coach: Carl Craig
Captain: Aaron Pitchkolan
NASL record: 6-1-4
NASL Combined table: 1st on 21 points
NASL fall table: 1st on 3 points
Previous game: 5-1 v. Carolina Railhawks
Formation: (4-2-3-1) GK, Sammy Ndjock; CB, Brent Kallman; CB, Tiago Calvano; RB, Kevin Venegas; LB, Justin Davis; DM, Aaron Pitchkolan; DM, Jeb Brovsky; AM, J.C. Banks; AM, Danny Cruz; AM, Stéfano Pinho; F, Christian Ramirez.
NASL record: 4-7-0
NASL Combined table:
NASL fall table: on 1 point
Previous game: D, 1-1 at Puerto Rico FC.
Formation: (4-4-2) GK, Busch; CB, Cory Miller; CB, Greg Janicki; RB, Marco Franco; LB, Nemanja Vukovic; CM, Brad Ring; Nicki Paterson; RM, Dylan Mares; LM, Omar Gordon, F, Éamon Zayed; F, Justin Braun.
Greg Jordan (knee) out.
Minnesota: Jeb Brovsky, red card v. Carolina Railhawks.
PROJECTED STARTING LINE-UP:
TEAM AND PLAYER STATS:
Goals for: Indy Eleven have scored 12 of their 16 goals at home this season. While Minnesota United have only scored 7 of their 21 goals on the road.
Goals against: The Eleven have given up 6 goals at home. Their last game against Minnesota is the Eleven’s only game in which they gave up multiple goals. Minnesota has given up a total of 9 goals. The Loons gave up 4 of their 9 goals against Indy on May 21st.
Cardiac kids: The Eleven have scored 5 goals from the 85th minute or beyond this season. Out of those 5 goals; 2 came against the Cosmos, 1 to tie the Fury, and 1 to seal the NASL Spring Championship.
Cards: Minnesota United and Rayo OKC are tied for the most red cards this year with 3.
Superman: Christian Ramirez leads the NASL with 8 goals so far this year. Against Indy Eleven, Superman has registered 3 goals in his career with his last coming on August 16th, 2014. In 280 minutes of action at Carroll Stadium, Ramirez has only registered 1 assist.
PLAYER MATCH-UP: kick save and a beauty.
Jon Busch Sammy Ndjock
11 Games 11
990 Minutes 990
9 Goals conceded 13
3 Clean sheets 4
2.2 Avg. save per 90 min 2
72.7% Shots saved 62.9%
7 Punches 5
6 Catches 9
0 Penalties conceded 0
In four games this year the center ref has given up 100 fouls, 18 yellow cards, and 1 red card.
QUESTIONS HEADING INTO SATURDAY’S MATCH:
Can the Eleven raise their intensity to an even higher level and treat this match like a playoff match?
With a trap game on Wednesday night, what kind of rotation can we see with the Eleven? Could Keith Cardona, Daniel Keller, and Neil Shaffer get playing time?
The Eleven have scored the majority of their goals at home this year. Can they do the same against Minnesota United for a second time this season?
The town of Blaine, Minnesota, current home of Minnesota United, was named after U.S. Senator James G. Blaine of Maine.
Minnesota United play their home matches at the National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine. According to the NSC, it is the world’s largest amateur sports and meeting facility.