Friday, September 4, 2015

Back home again, with much work to be done!! (Indy Eleven V Jacksonville Armada 9/5/15 Preview)

Capitan Catracho - Erick Norales
With only one point gained from three away games, Indy Eleven return home knowing that they must win in order to keep alive any hopes of making the playoffs. The match against Minnesota was the only midweek game so we still remain five points behind the fourth spot in the combined table.

Indy travelled to Minnesota United on Wednesday and made several changes to the team that were thrashed 7-1 by Ft. Lauderdale on the previous Saturday. Cardona came into goal for Nicht and there were rare starts for Jaime Frias, Wojcik and Don Smart. Dragan Stojkov stood in for Marco Franco at right back and Frias was brought in left at the expense of Kyle Hyland. Erick Norales returned from suspension.

I was not impressed with the starting line up to be honest, but having said that our performance at least in a defensive sense was a lot better, and there appeared to be a lot more fight about the players. I expected the match to be a lot harder than it was and in the end it looked again like one we could have taken points from had we started our strongest lineup.

Probably the most impressive player coming in was Keith Cardona, pulling off at least three vital saves, and very good saves they were. But Indy's problem was one we have seen often before, an inability to finish our chances when they arise. Minnesota appeared to be having the same problem, and seemed very non urgent about the match.

In the end it though Minnesota were the only side that could finish and a goal from Justin Davis decided the match. The goal reminded me of the one Wagner scored against us for Carolina in spring, running in at back post unmarked with time to slam it into the net, everyone was drifting right and nobody had their eye on the left back.

It was a better performance for Indy based on the previous game, but again it was another opportunity for points missed, if you get three or four really good chances in a game, you have to put one away, we have always had a problem with that.

Indy Eleven V Jacksonville Armada.... how its shaping up...

Indy Eleven have only played Jacksonville once earlier in spring, it was a poor game for us, despite only losing one goal Jacksonville ran over us the whole game and were unlucky not to score three or four. If Jacksonville are still playing with their attack minded 4-3-3 formation, we will need to be aware of how easy it was for them to run through us in the last meeting.

Jacksonville have only conceded one goal in their last four games, losing by a goal to San Antonio on the road before again playing San Antonio in their next game at home and drawing 0-0. That may give Indy a little hope considering San Antonio are not in the greatest of form this year either. Before those two matches Jacksonville took two home wins against Atlanta and Carolina.

Indy have lost FIVE of their last seven games now, and have only managed to pick up 4 points against Tampa and Atlanta. Its a trend that honestly does not bode well for making the playoffs unless there is a drastic change in attitude and performance, we have problems scoring, we are shipping goals at an alarming rate (16 in the last 7 games) and we cannot keep a consistent lineup or use our substitutions wisely during games.

Indy will have almost a full squad back, Marco Franco returns from suspension. Most likely Mares and Pena will still be missing, but there are new new injuries and luckily we managed to come through a game without getting someone red carded.  I suspect after his performance in Minnesota that Keith Cardona may have anchored himself a starting spot on Saturday. Dylan Mares has been moved from "out" to "questionable" this means expect to see a return to play after this game.

I like the way we lined up against Ft. Lauderdale, despite losing really badly I still think it is one of the best starting lineups we have had recently. I would like to see us return to something close to that but possibly play more men in the midfield. Our biggest problem against Armada last time out with the 4-4-2 diamond was they were able to run right through it with two lines of 3, no doubt they will think about trying it again.

My line up for tomorrow would be a 4-5-1 with two attacking mids, we have no option to

go for 3 points, and as long as everyone is told when we don't have possession you drop back and defend, I think we will be good with that and win this game. My starters would be  - Cardona, Franco, Miller, Norales, Hyland, Ring, Stojkov, Ceballos, Richards, Pineda and Lacroix. I think from a coaching perspective it is fair to leave Cardona in, he had an almost flawless game, so it would seem unwise to not let him start again. Little fact, Cardona was also the starting goalkeeper in our first game against Jacksonville.

Subs: Nicht, Frias, Janicki, Keller, Steinberger, Smart and Brown. Defensive minded bench, we don't need a bunch of attacking players if the best attacking players are on the field. Concentrate on saving subs for the attacking mid, CDM and back if legs get tired.

It's all or bust, we must win this game. That doesn't mean I think we should come out of the traps fast and try to run over JAX, we don't have the fitness for that. We need smart, sensible, controlled football. Use our formation well, keep the ball down and be smart in passing and finish our chances when they present themselves. We are playing our best back four, with our midfield ability this should be enough to keep Armada out and shut them out!


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