KEYS TO THE GAME FOR INDY ELEVEN:
Team shape: Against the Deltas the Eleven’s midfield diamond was discombobulated and disengaged for large portions of the match. This allowed the Deltas to create and have better looks in their final third. Against Jacksonville, Ubi, Ring, Torrado, and Henderson changed their shape which allowed them to stay within distance and press as a unit. If the midfield continues to show progress against FC Edmonton the only thing left is to create more chances and crosses from both flanks.
Limit that one mistake: This year’s squad is more talented, organized, and tactically stronger than last season’s spring championship team. The only difference is this year’s roster compared to the 2016 version is, making that one mistake that has led to a goal for the opponents. Attention to detail will be crucial as the Eleven look to capture their first win of the young season while dealing with an injury epidemic.
Blood in the water: While Indy needs to concentrate on their shape and limiting their mistakes, the Eleven need to approach this game and play like sharks with blood in the water. FC Edmonton is coming into this match low on confidence, only converting 3 goals on 3 points in the NASL and fell Wednesday night to the Ottawa Fury in the Canadian Championship. This will be the perfect week for the Boys in Blue to watch Shark Week videos and apply that tenacity to defending the eighteen and in front of the Eddies goal given the low assurance and short rest of Edmonton. That being said, it’s time Eamon Zayed morphed from a rat into a Great White Shark.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Keller made the most of his opportunity when Colin Falvey and Lovell Palmer were absent from the team. Now that Nemanja Vukovic is out with no timetable of a return, that position is now Keller’s to lose. Do not expect the Eleven to use the same tactical approach with Keller when they allowed Vukovic to push into the attack. Regardless, Keller is solid, quick, and reliable in one on one situations. Against Jacksonville Keller won 2 tackles and 5 of his 6 duals. If the local product from Indianapolis cleans up his distribution we could be talking about the two most dependable outside backs in the NASL in Marco Franco.
Corea has been the one shining star for a struggling Eddies side that are bottom of the table. This season Corea has 1 goal, 1 assist, 6 shots, and has created more chances than anyone on the Eddies with 8. Under Collin Miller, FC Edmonton has had a stellar reputation of parking the bus and waiting patiently for the counter during road games. That being said, the Salvadorian midfielder will be the focus of the Eleven as the prep for the counter attack this week given Corea’s 76% passer rating and 64% completion rate on long passes.
PROJECTED LINE-UP V. EDDIES:
Don Smart (quad strain) out. Ben Speas (groin) out. Nemanja Vukovic (kidney contusion) out.
The center ref for this match has overseen 2 matches, handing out 14 cautions and 1 red card.
Former Indy Eleven midfielder Ben Spencer signed with Toronto FC. Spencer becomes the second player to move up to the MLS after playing with the Eleven. The first was Kristian Nicht with the Montreal Impact.
Former Eleven coach Tim Regan won his first game as interim head coach against FC Edmonton in 2015.
PHOTO CREDIT: TREY HIGDON