|Remember to say Hi to Pedro on Saturday!|
Three of our next four games are at home, including a return match against Ottawa Fury who currently are top of the fall table on August 8th. Also during this period Indy will round out it's ties against Atlanta for the year when they travel there on August 22nd.
With 18 points up for grabs over this month Indy have to try and get as many of these as possible. This has not always been easy for us against the Silverbacks. But we have to consider ourselves favorites this time around and we must get three!
Indy have met Atlanta on 4 previous occasions now, three times in 2014 and once in Spring. Indy opened their NASL 2015 campaign away to an Atlanta side that had been taken over by the league and almost completely overhauled their squad. It was a good chance for Indy to grab a quick three off the bat, but we only managed to pull back from a goal down to earn a point with a Don Smart penalty.
In 2014 the teams met twice in Atlanta and once in Indianapolis. The very first meeting of these teams came in the last round of spring at Atlanta, a match I attended. For the neutral it was probably highly entertaining, for an Indy fan it was nerve wracking. But we came out of it with a point in an exciting 3-3 tied game.
In a game that saw two penalties for either side Indy twice came from behind, at one point they were 3-1 down but came back with second half goals from Ambersley and Kléberson. Indy were down to ten men from 65 minutes after losing Fejiro Okiomah to a red card.
In August of 2014 Indy entertained Atlanta for the first time, in another game that saw two penalties for Indy, both scored by Kléberson but unfortunately the home team let in too many goals that night crashing 4-2 at home and another red card, although it was Pena who left the field the red was actually supposed to be for Ring who was later penalized with a one game suspension.
On the 6th of September 2014 in their final meeting of the year in Atlanta it was Indy's chance to turn the tables. No penalties or red cards in this game but Indy did rush into a 2-0 first half lead thanks to goals from Jermaine Johnson and Blake Smith, Atlanta pulled one goal back before the interval, but the second half remained scoreless and Indy took home three points.
So each side have beaten each other once away from home and we have tied twice. This will be only the second visit to Indy for Atlanta so far, and it is important we extinguish the memory of their last visit and beat them for the first time in front of our home crowd.
Interesting to note that Atlanta has only managed to win one of it's home games in 2015, which was their last one in a narrow 1-0 victory over Jacksonsville, for 2015 they are DDDDLW. Indy's away record is not overall too shabby, they have won two of their road games against San Antonio and Ft Lauderdale and drawn in New York. DWLLWDL.
Atlanta have been bolstering their squad recently as have Indy, but they have not really been adding anything new, mostly players that they have dropped in the past returning. Like former Indy Eleven star Pedro Mendes and his twin brother Paolo, Junior Burgos and a few others. Nothing I would call scary or formidable. Certainly not a team that Indy should struggle against. We should be favorites, and we should win this game.
Injuries and and all the other fun stuff..........
Well as most of you will know we have now lost two very important players this week. Erick Norales for his tantrum last week has been served a two match ban so we will not see him for this game or in Edmonton.
Also sad news Dylan Mares has gone under the knife and had surgery on his right knee which will see him out of action for four to six weeks. Losing both Erick and Dylan is a big blow, but we have enough depth to cover, we might be slim on the bench but we should be fine.
Victor Pineda still has an ongoing niggling hip problem but it did not stop him playing last week and playing very well, so no worries there, listed as probable and I expect him to start.
It may or may not be too early for Duke Lacroix to feature in this game, he has been moved from "doubtful" to "questionable" so this likely means we will either see him sit on the bench or we will not.
Brad Ring and Daniel Keller are continuing their way back to full fitness and should both feature in the 18 man roster for the game.
New signing Zach Steinberger is already training with the team is fit and is available for selection, and we may well see him on the bench or starting with our personnel issues in midfield.
Cory Miller will return and slot right back into place alongside Janicki this time. I expect some minor shuffling again this week but not too much, the biggest question with Mares being out will be the make up of that attacking three. I suspect Richards will be pulled back into the attacking mid position and we may see the return of Wojcik to the starting lineup alongside Brown should we decide to stick with a 4-4-2 formation.
Starting lineup may we be - Nicht, Franco, Janicki, Miller, Hyland, Pineda, Ring, Richards (or Steinberger), Stojkov, Brown and Wojcik (or Richards).
Prediction - 2-0 to the good guys!!
Just want to take an opportunity to wish Indiana Fire NPSL good luck in their national semi final on Saturday. They will kick off at the same time as Indy in Tennessee against Chattanooga in front of a crowd of up to 10,000 people. Indiana Fire won the Midwest Championship in only their second year. if they defeat Chattanooga they will move onto the national final on August 8th and face New York Cosmos B or Cd Aguiluchos. Exciting times for Indiana Soccer!!!