|Will Falvey and Vukovic play in the middle of the back line, or will Janicki return?|
By: James Cormack
It's been a tough couple of weeks for Indy, playing three away games in 11 days against Carolina, Ottawa and New York, and gaining only 1 point in three along the way.
There is never really an easy time to play the Cosmos in New York, but this was possibly the worst timing for Indy considering time and travel and facing a Cosmos side in blistering form currently.
Indy started brightly but before long in the game the Cosmos had managed to make their mark, first with a goal through Ruben Bover on 8 minutes and then doubled their lead through an Arango penalty on 17 after a fould on Daniel Szetela by Nemanja Vukovic.
Indy managed to do enough to limit the score line for the rest of the first half. Things went from bad to worse in the 53' minute when Indy Eleven again conceded a penalty, this time Cory Miller fouling David Diosa, fortunately for Indy Arango missed the kick, but as a result of the foul Cory Miller was shown red and will be suspended for this Saturday's game.
Arango would later make up for his penalty miss by scoring again for New York in the 73rd minute with a bullet header inside the box, that would be the last goal of the game and Indy Eleven went down 3-0 on the night. It was a poor goal to give up by a very tired defense.
Arango also no adds pressure to the race for the Golden boot as his two goals helped him to creep up on Zayed and Ramirez, Juan Arango now has 11 goals, one behind Éamon Zayed and two behind Cristian Ramirez.
Tampa comes to Indianapolis...
With very little rest Indy will now face the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Carroll Stadium. Indy Eleven opened their 2016 NASL campaign in Tampa, the two teams were deadlocked in a 0-0 draw in the opening weekend.
Tampa are currently the worst form team in terms of road games, with five played and five straight defeats away to Carolina, Rayo OKC, Ottawa, New York and Minnesota United. Despite not yet having a road win in fall they did manage to put up 2 goals against the Cosmos in a 3-2 defeat which for a spell they led 2-0. They need to improve, and Indy need to get back to winning.
The Rowdies are not in a good situation as far as fall standings god, with only 11 pts so far they find themselves already 14 pts back from the leaders New York. The combined standings may be there bet for a play off position and they are currently in fifth place, six points back from Minnesota.
Despite having a full week of preparation for their trip to Indianapolis, Tampa's training schedule was disrupted by Hurricane Hermine enough to make Thursday an off day for the team. They will still be much more rested and this will be a tough game for Indy Eleven.
The importance of a win for both sides could put quite an edge on this game. Tampa run the risk of being bottom of the fall table should they lose and other results do not work in their favor. For Indy Eleven they run the risk of adding a home defeat or draw to an already poor run of games.
With FC Edmonton drawing in Ottawa on Friday night Indy can move back to second in the combined standings on goal difference and also close the gap to a point behind the Eddies in the fall standings.
Indy will have to deal with the attacking threat of Joe Cole, the English attacking midfielder has now scored 6 of his teams last 11 goals. Indy have looked sluggish in defense lately and with the potential of injury as well our back line is going to have to be tough in this game, and very much switched on.
Indy may have to juggle at the back...
|Duke still not being played, does coach not like him?|
Indy Eleven will be without Cory Miller through suspension. Greg Janicki who sat out the Cosmos game after playing through injury against Ottawa is recovering from plantar fasciitis and remains a question mark for Saturday. Marco Franco and Justin Braun were in training on Friday but it is still unknown if they are ready to start, it is likely they will be included.
If Greg Janicki is not available for selection it poses problems for Indy with Colin Falvey the only regular center back available. There are options if Franco can start we may see either Franco and Palmer in the full back positions with Vukovic and Falvey at center back or we could move Palmer in to right center alongside Falvey with Franco on the right and Vuko remaining at left back.
Otherwise Indy will have all other players available for selection. In the last two games against Ottawa and New York, the Eleven have only scored one goal from five shots on target in 180 minutes, four of which came in New York but could not produce a goal. Indy need to start finding the net again and it will be interesting to see if Braun is brought back in on Saturday or whether Hankinson tries a different combination up top.
In the game against New York some of the substitutions really made no sense, we need to be more logical with our team selection this week. I was correct in calling for Reinoso to be in the squad for NYC but both Lacroix and Reinoso should have got time. Omar Gordon has not shown enough evidence for me that should have got preference in coming on the field first.
The team is tired and some of these players that Hankinson has not been giving time to need to get on the field in this game and allow a few to get some rest at least from the start of the match.
Starting XI without Janicki: Busch, Franco, Palmer, Falvey, Vukovic, Smart, Paterson, Ring, Lacroix, Reinoso, Zayed.
Starting XI with Janicki: Busch, Franco, Falvey, Janicki, Vukovic, Smart, Paterson, Ring, Lacroix, Reinoso, Zayed.
As always Bloody Shambles and Permanent Relegation are supporting Playworks Indiana children's charity with our #EamonZayedRule initiative. We are donating money for every goal Éamon Zayed scores this year and you can choose to play along or just make a one off donation to help us reach our target of $2000. Click Here for More Information.