Friday, May 22, 2015

Gentlemen! Start Your Engines! (Ottawa Fury v Indy Eleven 5/23/15 Match Preview)

Who you gonna call, netbusters?
Ottawa Fury V Indy Eleven

While the fine folks of Indianapolis will be dealing with the roar of engines, backed up traffic, giant turkey legs, beads for boobs  and all the other wonders of the Indy 500 race weekend, Indy's professional soccer team will be in Canada's capital city trying to figure out the whole putting the ball in the back of the net thing again! As one of Ottawa's most famous sons Dan Aykroyd might say "It's 800 miles to Ottawa, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark...  and we're wearing sunglasses!" (if you have not seen Blues Brothers I pity you)

The Skinny...

Indy Eleven have played Ottawa three times, losing twice at home and winning the only match they have played at Fury so far. Ottawa defeated Indy 4-2 in their first trip to Indiana last spring and also defeated them 2-1 at the Mike in fall. Indy Eleven defeated Ottawa 2-1 at TD place in their second to last game as part of that end of season run in fall, its was a pretty tetchy affair that saw both sides receive a red card. Richie Ryan and Sergio Pena both saw red for an altercation in added time. Indy had led the game 2-0 thanks to goals from Jhulliam and Pineda, Ottawa pulled a goal back through Oliver Minatel in the first minute after 90!

Ottawa come off their bye week for this game and have not scored a goal since April 25th, they have scored 4 goals in 6 games this spring, one in each of their first four games, they have one win against Minnesota at home and have had two draws, one on the road in Atlanta and one at home to Tampa. Fury sit at the bottom of the table one point behind Indy Eleven on 5. Indy have scored 6 goals in 6 games so far and have one win (San Antonio) and three draws with Atlanta away, Cosmos and Carolina at home. Both teams have only achieved one point in their last three matches. Ottawa and Indy Eleven both find themselves in familiar territory again this year, in or around the bottom of the NASL table.

Who's at the Nurses office?...
UPDATE: Miscommunication from Indy Eleven. DRAGAN STOJKOV remains injured, will not play.

As we know Kleberson is out long term and will undergo surgery. Judson McKinney (ankle bone chip) is not ready to return. Greg Janicki (calf) and Victor Pineda (ankle bruise) are probable for the game so may start from the bench. Dragan Stojkov is not listed on the health report so I will assume he is ready to play. Indy Eleven will have 21 available players to choose their 18 from. According to the team Kristian Nicht was afforded another weeks rest after returning from Montreal so I am going to assume he will start in goal this week. So for Indy three players will not suit up, most likely Dawson, Keller and new signing Duke Lacroix, unless Janicki or Pineda incur any further problems before kickoff.

For Ottawa, the scorer of their goal in Indy's 2-1 win last year, captain Richie Ryan who has missed all of Spring so far is ready for a return, but I doubt he would start with no match fitness, may see him play off the bench. Tommy Heineman is listed at 75%, he has been playing off the bench a lot this season so he may do so again,however he  may start the game because of injuries to other forwards.. Oliver Minatel the Brazilian forward and top scorer from last year was not in the team for the last game against Tampa, unsure if he is available. Andrew Weideman (forward) took a knock in training and is doubtful. Ottawa made only 17 players for the last home game.

Just tell us if we will win?...

I think we have a very good chance, the biggest thing standing in Indy's way of getting points is Ottawa's own poor situation, they badly need to win this game and Coach Dos Santos is confident they can do it. It's good to be confident of course, but I think the difference between the two teams is the back line, despite Indy's poor run of form I am still happy with the back line, even more so now that Hyland is in and he will likely start again this Saturday alongside Janicki, Norales and Franco. I also think Nicht will start and as well as making the back line more comfortable because of his familiarity he also will be hungry to play and give a good performance. Ottawa have only conceded 1 goal in last two games, that was against New York and they drew 0-0 with Tampa, the top two teams in the league, but I still think our defense will be better. Don't forget Ottawa shipped 6 goals in between two games against Edmonton in the Amway Cup as well. Ottawa are not finding goals and I don't think they will be given many chances this weekend. Neither side's attack is lighting the world on fire however, Ottawa have a revolving injury door for attackers and Indy have one goal from a striker thanks to a goalkeeper mistake. I expect Indy to return to a more usual 4-4-2 formation with two strikers, Ottawa try to play 4-3-3 but they don't do it very well. According to press release Indy's probable starting lineup will be Nicht, Franco, Norales, Janicki, Hyland, Pineda, Pena, Mares, Melgares, Rugg and Wojcik. I hope this is not entirely correct, I think in current form Indy would be mad to drop Brad Ring right now. If I were allowed to pick the line up I would stick with the 4-2-3-1 kind of formation we had last week, but start with one forward and bring Melgares and either Stjokov or Smart in at the start (see image below). We shall see. This is a game both teams really need to win, I'll take a point, but really Indy needs to win this as much as Ottawa does, we are under performing with little excuse for it and we need to halt that. Indy needs to be on the same page at the back and play patiently, not start like they want to score three goals in the first three minutes, because we know that won't work. Be patient, work the ball, make Ottawa work if they want it. I think only one goal will separate the two teams and Indy will win either 1-0 or 2-1 again.

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