|Is it time for another Vuko magick goal? Nemanja and Jonny Steele meet again in Miami.|
By: James Cormack
Indy Eleven will be looking to add to their tally of away wins this week in Miami. This year to date wins on the road have been elusive, a 2-1 defeat of Rayo OKC in Oklahoma the only one so far. Wins in Florida are equally rare, Indy Eleven have only once won a game in Florida since 2014, defeating the Strikers 2-1 in June of 2015.
This will be the second meeting of the two teams, and the second trip to Miami for Indy in 2016. In early June this year Indy and Miami played out a 0-0 draw at FIU Stadium. Much has changed for both teams since then in different ways. While Indy Eleven have matured as a squad game after game, Miami have also strengthened and have been continually adding to their roster and improving their results.
The Miami FC lineup that played in their last game against Carolina showed four changes from the lineup that played against Indy Eleven, several of which are players who have been added to the team since then. Johnny Steele, Kwadwo Poku, and Farfán have been added to the team since the beginning of the season. Former Eleven player Blake Smith may make an appearance but ex Boy in Blue Dane Richards has not featured since early July and even if fit is unlikely to feature.
One thing that has not changed with Miami is there direct approach attacking style. Expect to see the same again with Richie Ryan holding the middle in front of the back four and either Lahoud and Steele or Blake Smith outside of him with Poku in front and a likely pairing of Chávez and Cvitanich or Pablo Campos up front.
Despite some improvement for Miami since the beginning of the season, home wins have still been rare for them with two 1-0 victories over FC Edmonton and Jacksonville Armada are in fact their only two wins of 2016. Indy Eleven should be wary not to underestimate Miami but at the same time realize that a win here is very achievable.
I don't think Indy Eleven need to change their playing style at all for this game, but we do need to capitalize more on our chances especially from our forwards. Matt Van Oekel was credited for a great performance in Indy last week for FCE but truth be told a lot of our shots on target went straight at him. As we know we have many different players in the team who can score whether it's Dylan Mares, Nemanja Vukovic or Greg Janicki and hopefully they will again, but if Zayed and Braun or even Youla can add to those in this game we can take home three points.
|Is Cap'n Colin back? We'll see!|
Indy Eleven nearing full strength........
Outside of a Neil Shaffer injury and a recovering Duke Lacroix who may or may not make the roster, Indy Eleven are in very good shape. Colin Falvey is back in full training but has not had competitive game time since the Spring Championship win over Carolina Railhawks. I fully expect Colin to travel with the squad but unsure whether he will start or provide backup from the bench. Either way Janicki and Miller probably had their best game together against FC Edmonton so we are in good hands.
Indy Eleven have three games over the next week with a Wednesday match next week against Jacksonville Armada followed by Ottawa Fury next Saturday. We may see some rotation in this match with this in mind, Indy have three consecutive home matches after this match and will be hoping to take full advantage of that. August was a pivotal month for Indy Eleven's chances of post season success with six games in one month, they failed badly and effectively ended their chances. This year we will also play six games in August and we should be looking at using that to put ourselves in a dominant position in the fall standings.
Last time out Hankinson elected to try Ring and Torrado together with Gerardo exiting later to make way for Nicki Paterson, coach may try Gerardo and Paterson together this week to give the Mexican start more time or may try the same again. I have a feeling Torrado will start though, Indy need to get him as much NASL experience as possible with 17 games still to go.
The only other changes we might see is Palmer rotating with Franco again and maybe a start for new striker Souleymane Youla. Don Smart showed last week that he has lost nothing since his bout of injury and proved again he adds a dimension of intelligent passing and quick reaction that may put him in line for a start over Omar Gordon allowing him to be fresh for the Wednesday tie.
What about forgotten man Siniša Ubiparipović? it is testimony to the strength and depth in our roster that Siniša is struggling for game time. Ubi is a gifted player and adds a very tricky dimension to any team, despite struggling with injuries for most of spring he is fit and ready to play and it would not surprise me if we see him this week in the second half, especially if Indy has a lead in the second half.
Possible Starting XI: Busch, Palmer, Janicki, Miller, Vukovic, Mares, Torrado, Ring, Smart, Zayed, Braun
Subs: Cardona, Falvey, Franco, Paterson, Ubiparipović, Gordon, Youla
(If I get that all right I want some kind of prize!)
If you have not already listened, check out Caleb Ramp's excellent Preview Show where he gives a run down of each of this weekends games and the most likely outcomes but also talks at length to Mitchell and Drew the President and Vice President of Miami FC supporters group The Dade Brigade about their group, their club and this Saturday's match.