Friday, September 11, 2015

Full steam ahead, the playoff train has no seats for losers! (San Antonio Scorpions V Indy Eleven 9/12/2015 Preview)

Indy adds Dani Cuevas to the roster!
It has been a long awaited return to battle for San Antonio and Indy Eleven. The two teams have not met since that spring evening in Texas when Sergio Pena dropped the bombshell that knocked the Scorpions for six and gave Indy Eleven their first win of 2015 on April 18th.

Despite a Soccer Bowl win for the Scorpions in 2014, their year has gone from bad to worse in 2015. San Antonio started their 2015 campaign with back to back home games, and they lost both to Tampa and Indy. San Antonio since winning the championship have had to drastically  cut their player budget and have not made any really impressive moves in the transfer market for this year outside of Omar Cummings.

San Antonio managed a brief revival in Spring, but have since dipped in form again and find themselves at the bottom of the combined table four points behind Indy Eleven. Having mustered only 9 points from 10 games in fall so far, they faced Carolina Railhawks in Texas on Wednesday night.

That game ended in a 3-3 draw which saw both sides receive red cards, San Antonio's Canadian defender Adrian Cann went off in the 20th minute and will not be eligible for the match against Indy on Saturday.

If ever there was ever a time to be consistent... it's now!

Despite our fluctuating fortunes in fall, especially over the last five or 6 games, Indy still remain within punching distance of the top four spots in the combined table. The next five games are extremely important for Indy, we have two games away and at home to a struggling San Antonio and in between we have games against Edmonton, Rowdies and Jacksonville. If we want to make the playoffs, this is the time for a winning run.

San Antonio have only two wins in their last ten games, and those wins came against our last two losing opponents, Tampa and Jacksonville. Indy Eleven are in the same boat with only 2 wins in their last ten games and a pretty hefty goals conceded ratio. More recently though, Indy have two wins in their last five games to Scorpions one. As far as form goes, both teams are pretty close, it's not going to be won by stats, it will be down to who really wants it most.

There has never been a draw between these two teams, after four games each team has beaten the other twice. Indy have won the last two encounters against San Antonio.

Indy are in pretty good shape as far as player availability goes, however there is a doubt over Kyle Hyland who has been suffering from a very bad bout of flu and also Charlie Rugg will most likely miss the game, not entirely sure on the injury . Dylan Mares saw some minutes in the previous game against Jacksonville. Duke Lacroix will return this weekend as well. Sergio Pena is getting back into a position to be offered limited time on the field so we may see more of him soon.

As we saw yesterday we finally have announced the signing of US Youth international Daniel Cuevas and he is available to play in this tie.

Indy Eleven Adds midfielder Daniel Cuevas

Indy's explosion of midfielders worked very well against Jacksonville, hopefully we will not see any tinkering with the team, or as little as possible. I am sure both Mares and Ceballos would like to claim a starting spot if they can as would Stojkov. I think if changes are required the only person I would consider moving would possibly be Keller to left back and bring Ceballos in up front and drop Steinberger alongside Ring, or bring Mares in to the midfield in front of Ring.

The chemistry in the last game looked good, so I would be loathe to make any changes at all for the start of the game. Indy are fresh and have had plenty of rest this week, San Antonio within only two days rest before this match.

Who to watch.......

If Hyland is unavailable, then one of the keys to Indy's play will be how well Kyle's replacement performs, it is hard to tell who will slot in there, multiple things could happen, including Marco moving over to the left and Stojkov playing right back (this may be the best option). Indy could elect to go three at the back, but I don't quite think we are ready for change quite as dramatic as that.

In attack watch out for Dan Richards getting on the score sheet, he will be kicking himself for the chances missed in the last two games and he will be itching to find the net. If both start look for a continued growth of the chemistry that is appearing between Smart and Richards. Ceballos will be one to watch as well, he wants a starting spot and will keep doing what is needed in order to gain one.

For San Antonio we all know the dangers of Omar Cummings, Billy Forbes and Martin Chavez, the Scorpions like a good counter attack and our reshuffled defense will have to be aware of that. The last time we played San Antonio they also had a defender missing, Julius James was out. This time it is Adrian Cann who is suspended and Julius James is still out through injury so it will be interesting to see how San Antonio shuffle their own back line, they appeared to play something of a 5-4-1 in their last game and still let in three goals. Billy Forbes also did not appear in the Wednesday night roster.

If Indy can play like they did against Jacksonville, we could well expose a less familiar back line of the Scorpions.


1 comment: