Friday, May 29, 2015

The good thing is it can't get any worse right? (Open Cup recap and Indy V Tampa Preview)

American Samoa waited 17 years
for their first ever win! But they
never gave up! Neither should we!
With so much football being played this week forgive me for combining my thoughts on two events in one post, as you can imagine it's been a pretty rough week. Indy Eleven's problems continued midweek, in what was supposed to be a welcome diversion from our slump in league form, ended up becoming the stuff of nightmares. The US Open Cup game against Louisville City FC was a chance for the players to regain some poise, play some better football and achieve a win and a happy ending. Unfortunately all of the problems we have seen of late were still apparent, none more so than our failure to find any chances in front of goal. We never looked like scoring, we lost 2 goals in extra time, I felt had we played for 180 minutes we still would not have scored a goal. The Cup dream is gone, the trip to Chicago is off and we can go back to hoping for a an improvement in league form.

Tonight at the Indy Fringe theater there will be a screening of "Next Goal Wins" a movie that I have already seen, I think it would be a good thing for Indy Eleven to make the whole team sit down and watch it. The story involves the American Samoa national team who hold the record for the biggest ever international defeat when they lose 31-0 to Australia. Thomas Rongen the head coach of our opponents Tampa on Saturday took over the team and helped them achieve their first ever win in 17 years of playing. It's the kind of movie that reminds you of why you love the sport and why you should never give up trying, and never give up on your team or your dream. I think a lot of the more negative fans leaving comments about stopping going to games or giving away their season tickets should also watch this movie. Never give up on your team no matter how bad things get, they need our support more than ever right now. Happiness is only ever one win away. Hopefully the spirit and determination of American Samoa is with us tomorrow night and not with Thomas Rongen's Rowdies.

Indy Eleven (DLLL) V Tampa Bay Rowdies (WDDW)

Indy were not the only team who were knocked out of the cup on Wednesday, Tampa also exited the competition through a 1-0 defeat by USL's Pittsburgh Riverhounds. It's a quick turnaround for both teams. Tampa are undefeated in their last four games with two wins and two draws in NASL whereas Indy Eleven have picked up a solitary point in their last four matches and have been defeated in their last three games and scored only one goal against Minnesota. In 2014 the sides met three times, in the very first meeting of the two teams the game ended 1-1 at Carroll Stadium. In the fall season Indy suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Tampa before drawing 2-2 in Tampa at the end of the season. Tampa have scored 8 goals in their seven games so far, they drew 0-0 in Ottawa against Indy Eleven's most recent NASL opponents. Despite Indy being bottom and going through a pretty rough spell and having to play a team in good form closer to the top of the table, I think this game will be pretty tight. Both teams have only had a couple days to prepare, but the issue again for Indy is going to be finding the back of the net, including the US Open Cup match, we have scored only 1 goal in four games now. Our strength may come from set pieces, corners, free kicks are probably our best chance to score in games. bearing this in mind it is probably going to be a long night again for Indy fans, any casual observer is probably going to expect Tampa to win this game. But will a little patience and a little luck, anything is possible, there have been many games already that we should have won but didn't, we always have a chance if we can keep the other team out.

Who has a boo boo this week??

Kleberson and McKinney still not ready to rejoin the roster, Sergio Pena remains out. Brad Ring is listed as "questionable" with right hamstring tightness. Dragan Stojkov is a probable for the game so most likely we may see him on the bench tomorrow, possibly starting.

If Brad Ring is not available to start then we are missing both of our regular defensive midfielders, I am thinking it is likely we will see a 4-5-1 formation again possibly with Keller at the back of the midfield. I expect to see a similar lineup as seen in the Louisville game, question marks will be on who starts in midfield and whether anyone will be sat down for lack of effort. I think it would be good to bring Mares back into the lineup, he had an off game in Ottawa so was not overly surprised he was sat down for the Louisville game. I would leave Brown on the bench and stop playing him out of position, move Melgares over to the left and put Pineda inside him, or vice-versa, and have Mares inside Smart or Stojkov on the right, and either start with Wojcik or Lacroix up front, I don't think it would do any harm to give Duke more time, we can't score regardless of who is on the field so I won't be disappointed if he starts. Back four will likely not change Hyland, Janicki, Norales and Franco and Nicht in goal.

If you are not busy tonight (5/29) there are two things going on in town worthy of participation. Indiana Fire  will play host to Fort Pitt Regiment in the NPSL Midwest Conference at park Tudor High School. $5 admission kick off at 6pm. Indiana Fire will also play at 2pm on Sunday at PTHS against FC Buffalo. Or if you are inclined to be downtown, Indy Eleven will be presenting a screening of the greatest Soccer movie ever NEXT GOAL WINS at 6.30pm at the Indy Fringe Theater, you can enjoy the movie, meet one of the stars Thomas Rongen and enjoy free beer!! FREE BEER. Use this link to RSVP and enjoy a free movie!


If you did not hear our podcast from yesterday with guest Peter Wilt, CLICK HERE to listen to us discuss FIFA, US Open Cup and Indy Eleven with him.

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