|Little known fact - Jacksonville's|
mascot is indeed a Squidbilly!
As it turned out it took a little longer for Jacksonville to part company with their coach. On September 21st 2015 Jacksonville Armada owner and CEO Mark Frisch announced the dismissal of GM Dario Sala and head coach Guillermo Hoyos along with assistant coaches Edison Ibarra, Rafael Perez Niño and Sebastian Fabres.
Eric Dade was installed as interim coach for Jacksonville and took on the job of pulling the Armada away from three consecutive defeats that started with Indy Eleven (3-0) and continued with the Cosmos (1-0) and ended with a 2-0 defeat to Ft. Lauderdale. The telling stat in that trio is the fact not a single goal was scored. Eric Dade, like Tim Regan, saw his first match in charge as interim coach become a win when Jacksonville defeated Tampa 2-0 at home on September 26th.
So there is two ways this upcoming battle can be billed. It is a meeting of two interim coaches as Eric Dade and Tim Regan come face to face. Maybe we could call it the "Tim and Eric Show"? (Oh snap I just made another Adult Swim reference) I doubt however the game itself could be less funnier or less entertaining than those two fools. (now trying to figure out how to tie in Aqua Teen and Robot Chicken into this blog).
The other way to bill this game would be obviously the "basement battle" as both Jacksonville and Indy look to keep themselves from ending 2015 as the bottom billing of the NASL combined season. Of course we cannot rule Carolina and Sa Antonio out of this. But the simple fact is our Indy Eleven can do themselves a big favor in this game by winning and pulling themselves away from the dishonor of finishing "ELEVENTH"!
OKAY, okay, all joking aside. This is a serious matter, a game is about to be played tomorrow, and we need to win it. Let's figure that out?
Jacksonville Armada V Indy Eleven........
As we all know this is Jacksonville's inaugural season in NASL and we have met each other twice already. The first meeting, a 1-0 victory in Florida was a night to forget for Indy fans. In a game that probably should have seen Indy Eleven fall to a defeat of three or four goals or more.
A lot has changed for both sides since that meeting in Spring, including a slump for Jacksonsville and a slight improvement for Indy Eleven even despite their coaching overhaul in Spring. However the meanderings of both teams have now brought them very close together in terms of failure.
The last time we saw Indy Eleven win and win well was against Jacksonville Armada, albeit on an evening when several key players were missing, we still gubbed them and we did it in style. So the spoils are shared and this game is set up to be a battle, and I for one firmly believe Indy Eleven can do it again, they just need to "bring it"!
In the last five games for each team, both have collected only four points. Jacksonville with a draw against San Antonio and a win over Tampa last week, and Indy with a win over Jacksonville and a draw with Tampa this week. You can see how this is shaping up!
Indy Eleven's achievement of a point from the game against Tampa on Wednesday pulled them off the bottom of the fall table and saw Carolina Railhawks relegated to last place. As far as the combined standings go the bottom four teams of which Indy is the bottomest along with Carolina, Jacksonville and San Antonio all sit on 26 points. Carolina have a bye week and San Antonio face a tough test at home to a Strikers team desperate to get back into the top four. Should Indy win and Ft. Lauderdale win we can move to eighth in the combined standing!
Who's in, who's out and what will be different from Wednesday....?
Despite making eight changes to the starting line up against Tampa, Indy came away with a decent point and also managed to rest some players during that game. Unless you missed the game or were not paying attention, it was hard not to notice Indy Eleven had more then the full compliment of 18 players present at the game on Wednesday, evident by the sight of the track-suited figure of Kyle Hyland encouraging players from the sideline.
Outside of the known injuries to Brad Ring, Daniel Cuevas and Kristian Nicht, Indy Eleven have no new injuries to report. Jaime Frias despite being an illness worry before the game against Tampa and having left the game early after scoring due to cramp, has recovered and is available if necessary.
Having said that I think the game plan for Indy for this two game trip is to have two different teams. I expect Indy to start with a stronger team than we started against Tampa, it is more important for us just now to take points away from Jacksonville, and of course beat them!
Indy will most likely start with a familiar back four of Franco, Miller, Norales and Hyland in front of Cardona. As we have seen in the last few games we have done some experimenting in the forward line, neither Wojcik or Brian Brown have been able to produce anything and I expect neither will start this game.
Dylan Mares looked eager and lively in the Tampa game and despite playing in an unusual striker role, he almost scored for us and I expect him to feature in this game, either from the start or off the bench. If Ind Eleven do elect to play with two forwards again I expect that to be Dane Richards and one of either Mares, Steinberger, Lacroix, or Ceballos.
My real hope, seeing as we seem to be going through a period of experimentation is that Indy will look upon this game as an opportunity to try a different formation for this game. I think it is clearly evident from our roster as far as strikers go we do not have any that score goals, even Dan Richards who is listed as a striker is really an attacking midfielder. So why do we bother playing with two up front?
I would really like to see Indy play a 4-5-1 (think of it as 4-1-4-1) with Pena behind two attacking midfielders and two wings that can push forward to create a 4-3-3 in attack. Several teams within our league are utilizing this formation very well. Jacksonville line up in an attacking formation and that has not changed under their interim coach. The midfield battle is going to be important and when defending I think it would be of benefit to us to flood the middle of the field.
If I had to pick the starting lineup for Saturday based on the last few games and setting a 4-5-1 formation then I would pick Cardona, Franco, Norales, Miller, Hyland, Smart, Ceballos, Pena, Steinbeger, Lacroix, and Dan Richards in the forward role. In attack this would give us Lacroix, Richards and Smart attacking the 18 yard box of JAX with Steinberger, Ceballos and Pena in support behind them.
If Indy play it smart and field something close to what I have mentioned, they will either win this game or it will end in a 0-0 draw! My gut feeling is Indy Eleven will take four points from Florida after two games.
COME ON YOU BOYS IN BLUE!!!