PREVIEW: INDY ELEVEN v. FORT LAUDERDALE STRIKERS
All-time series record: Strikers lead series 3-2-2
4/26/14 Strikers win 3-2 at Lockhart Stadium. Kleberson and Norales scored for the Eleven.
8/6/14 Eleven and Strikers tie 0-0 at Carroll Stadium.
9/20/14 Strikers win 2-1 at Lockhart Stadium. Jamie Frías scored for the Eleven.
6/6/15 Eleven win 2-1 at Lockhart Stadium. Victor Pineda had two goals for Indy.
8/29/15 Strikers win 7-1 at Lockhart Stadium. Dan Richards scored for the Eleven.
10/24/16 Eleven win 2-1 at Carroll Stadium. Don Smart and Brian Brown scored the Eleven.
5/14/16 Strikers and Eleven draw 0-0 at Lockhart Stadium.
For the first time this year, Indy Eleven will play host to a team from the Sunshine State. Fort Lauderdale comes to Indianapolis after falling 1-0 to FC Edmonton on Sunday afternoon. This gives the Eleven a slight advantage given the travel the Strikers have had to endure from Florida to Alberta and playing on shorter rest than the Eleven. However, this will still be a difficult trap game for the Eleven because the Strikers are better on the road than at home. In four of their league wins, the strikers have won three on the road.
The Eleven were lucky to come away with a 0-0 draw the last time these two teams played in May. Jon Busch had to make 6 saves as the Eleven were on their heels most of the match. This time around the Eleven will have Brad Ring to lead the midfield as he missed the match in May with a knee injury. Gorka Larrea, who started as a center mid for the Eleven in Fort Lauderdale, will not feature for the Eleven as he was let go by the club to make room for the new signings. Fort Lauderdale will be without Adrianinho and Matheus Carvalho on Wednesday night. News has recently come out from Fifty Five One that the Strikers are struggling to pay their players on time and have parted ways with Adrianinho and Matheus Carvalho. Both players came on as substitutes the last time the Eleven and Strikers met.
KEYS FOR THE ELEVEN:
Rotation players must step up: With a game on Saturday on the horizon, the starting lineup could look drastically different than the one from the previous weekend. Players whose role is to come on as a sub or reserve may see the majority of the action tonight and will have to step up if they want to see their team stretch their unbeaten streak to 13 games. It would not be a surprise if Keith Cardona starts between the posts, and Souleymane Youla and Duke Lacroix on the wings. Marco Franco will get the start at right back tonight as Lovell Palmer serves his one game suspension. Gerardo Torrado will be available but may not play as he arrived yesterday after dealing with visa issues.
Play with a knife between your teeth: Head Coach Tim Hankinson echoed these comments after the Eleven’s match against Minnesota United. Everyone in the league is looking to push the Eleven off of their pedestal after winning the spring title. A tactic used by Puerto Rico and Minnesota United was to play a little beyond physical to disrupt the Eleven’s style of play. Expect another physical match as Fort Lauderdale comes into tonight’s game leading the league in yellow cards with 34.
Defensive shape: The last time these two teams met, the Strikers created 6 shots on goal by counter attacking, combinations, and driven crosses. The Eleven will have find an equilibrium between pushing into the attack and staying back with the Strikers looking to threat on the counter. If the Strikers have the ball in their final third, the Eleven will have to find a medium between supplying pressure and cover with the threat of the combinations and staying balanced defensively to defend the cross.
FORT LAUDERDALE STRIKERS
Head Coach: Caio Zanardi
Captain: Jean-Marc Alexandre
NASL record: 4-4-4
NASL Combined table: 8th on 16 points.
NASL fall table: 10th on 1 point.
Previous game: L, 0-1 at FC Edmonton.
Formation: (4-3-3) GK, Diego Restrepo; CB, Agbossoumonde; CB, James; RB, Gabriel; LB, PC; M, Jean-Marc Alexandre; M, Bryan Arguez; M, Luis Felipe Fernandes; F, Maicon Santos; F, Victor Pineda; F, Geison Moura.
NASL record: 5-7-0
NASL Combined table: 2nd on 22 points.
NASL fall table: on 4 point
Previous game: W, 1-0 v. Minnesota United.
Formation: (4-4-2) GK, Busch; CB, Cory Miller; CB, Greg Janicki; RB, Lovell Palmer; LB, Nemanja Vukovic; CM, Brad Ring; Nicki Paterson; RM, Dylan Mares; LM, Omar Gordon, F, Éamon Zayed; F, Justin Braun.
Colin Falvey (hamstring) out. Neil Shaffer (adductor) out. Jair Reinoso (leg) out.
Neil Hlavaty (hip) out. Kleberson (hamstring) out. Dalton (foot) out.
Lovell Palmer (Indy) red card.
PROJECTED STARTING LINE-UP:
The center referee for this match is usually a 4th official. However, in two games as the center he has awarded 43 fouls and 8 yellow cards.
QUESTIONS HEADING INTO SATURDAY’S MATCH:
How will Indy’s rotation look with a game this Saturday and tired legs from the weekend?
How will the defensive shape look as the Strikers look to combine around the eighteen but also threaten to score from a cross?
How will the Eleven deal and adjust to another team playing physical against them?
Fort Lauderdale traded forward Giuseppe Gentile for Paulo Jr. from the Ottawa Fury on July 8th. Paulo Jr. has one goal on the year.
Featured image by Trey Higdon.