PREVIEW: INDY ELEVEN at THE MIAMI FC
All-time series record: 0-1-0 (W,D,L)
6/4/16 Indy Eleven and Miami FC finished 0-0 at FIU.
Since their first meeting in early June Miami FC has been transformed into a new team and at times, unrecognizable. Miami FC have started the fall season in good form after purchasing the likes of Kwadwo Poku from New York City FC, Jonny Steele from the Ottawa Fury, and Gabriel Farfán via Chiapas FC. Miami has reportedly signed Valladolid striker Vincenzo Rennella with several media outlets breaking the news. However, Miami has yet to make it official.
This will be another tough road trip for Indy Eleven but one they should handle better as the heat and humidity has finally settled in Indiana, negating any real advantage the team from South Beach had last month. The Eleven have not won on the road since April and 3 points in Miami could be a confidence booster for the NASL Spring Champions.
KEYS FOR THE ELEVEN:
Tighten, constrict, and compress the back line: For the second game in a row, Indy Eleven’s back line struggled in front of their own goal. Things were starting to boil over in the latter stages of the second half against FC Edmonton when the back line and goalkeeper were expressing their differences in philosophies. But it is not just the back line. The midfield must do a better job to apply pressure and allow the defenders and Jon Busch the ability to see the field to know where cover and balance is needed.
Lovell Palmer has only started in three of the first five games of the fall season, so he could be the difference if Miami has ideas of exposing the flanks as the Eddies did last weekend. If Miami attacks in similar fashion we could see Palmer come in (if he does not start) as the outside back, allowing Franco or Vukovic to push into the outside mid position. This will allow the Eleven to have a firm grip on the game if they have a one goal lead in the final moments of the match. In Indy Eleven’s previous match, Palmer came in for Dylan Mares as an outside mid.
Clinical approach in the final third: Once again the Eleven were clinical in the final third with their crossing and combinations to stretch the Eddies defense. Brad Ring put on a display for the 8,000 plus at Carroll Stadium while Gerardo Torrado showed he still has the golden touch with his play making ability. Both will be keys if the Eleven want to continue their dominance in the final third and allow Gordon and Mares to be the play makers that they are. This will only help Éamon Zayed and Justin Braun get back on the scoring sheet as they have only accounted for 1 goal so far this fall.
Aerial attack: The Giant from Michigan, Greg Janicki, has become an expert in scoring with his head as he took full advantage of a smaller back line the Eddies instituted over the weekend. This is quite the contrast to Miami FC’s personnel as they will employ a stronger and more physical backline on Saturday night. But if the Eleven want to be successful they need to continue to design set pieces that allow Janicki and even Nemanja Vukovic to shake off any defender who thinks they can contain them. Therefore, look for Mares or Nicki Paterson to find the noggins of Janicki and Vukovic from driven balls.
Head Coach: Alessandro Nesta
Captain: Jonathan Borrajo
NASL record overall: 2-6-6
NASL Combined table: 10th on 12 points
NASL fall table: 7th on 5 points
Previous game: D, 3-3 at Carolina Railhawks.
Formation: (4-2-3-1) GK, Daniel Vega; CB, Rhett Bernstein; CB, Mason Trafford; RB, Jonathan Borrajo; LB, Gabriel Farfan; DM, Richie Ryan; RM, Michael Lahoud; LM, Jonny Steele; AM, Kwadwo Poku; F, Jamie Chavez; F, Pablo Campos.
Head Coach: Tim Hankinson
Captain: Colin Falvey
NASL record overall: 7-7-7
NASL Combined table: 1st on 28 points
NASL fall table: 1st on 10 points
Previous game: W, 1-0 v. FC Edmonton.
Formation: (4-4-2) GK, Busch; CB, Cory Miller; CB, Greg Janicki; RB, Marco Franco; LB, Nemanja Vukovic; CM, Brad Ring; CM, Gerardo Torrado; RM, Dylan Mares; LM, Omar Gordon, F, Éamon Zayed; F, Justin Braun.
Eleven: Duke Lacroix (sprained ankle) questionable. Neil Shaffer (adductor) questionable.
Miami FC: N/A
PROJECTED STARTING LINE-UP
Smart for Gordon/Mares
Torrado for Paterson
Franco for Gordon/Mares- if the Eleven lead late and need to manage the situation.
TEAM AND PLAYER STATS
Points: Last year Indy completed the 2015 season with 33 points. A win in Miami on Saturday night will bring them within 2 points of last year’s mark. In addition, the Eleven finished the fall season with 20 points in 2015. They are halfway there just 5 games into the 2016 fall season.
Jon Busch: Indy Eleven’s goalkeeper is in a four way tie for first place in clean sheets with 6 and a three way tie for first in goals conceded with 11. He is fifth in saves with 35.
Straight baller: Nicki Paterson leads the team in chances created with 20 and total passes at 523. Paterson is second in total crosses with 59.
Greg Janicki Adailton
14 Games 14
1,244 Minutes 1,042
6 Clean sheets 3
59 Clearances 41
11 Tackles won 20
52 Interceptions 40
53 Duals won 66
32 Aerial duals won 27
3 Goals scored 0
8 Total shots 4
2 Yellow cards 2
0 Red cards 0
In 9 games (MLS and NASL) this season the center ref for Indy Eleven v. Miami FC has awarded 134 fouls, 35 yellow cards, and 2 red cards.
QUESTIONS HEADING INTO SATURDAY’S MATCH
Can the Eleven fix the woes in the back line against Miami FC? That being said, what kind of role will Cory Miller play now that Colin Falvey is back?
Will the Eleven continue to be clinical in front of goal?
Can the Eleven continue to create and find ways to score of the heads of their big players?
Most important question- Can the Eleven collect 3 points on the road for the first time since April?
Florida International University, the home of Miami FC, is the only public university in the city of Miami.
Featured photo: Trey Higdon.