|Center back Greg Janicki in action against Carolina, found some game time in Jacksonville|
By: James Cormack
Indy Eleven return home after two relatively disappointing road games in Edmonton and Jacksonville. After controlling most of the game against FCE and leading 1-0 Indy pretty much engineered their own demise and allowed the home team to come back and finally win the game. That defeat pretty much ended any hope of Indy Eleven winning the fall season.
After a cancellation Saturday of the match against Jacksonville due to Hurricane Matthew, the game went ahead midweek. No real surprises in the lineup, Lovel Palmer stepped in for Cory Miller who unfortunately will now miss the rest of the season. Indy played out a rather humdrum 0-0 draw to catch a point on the road but at least the match gave an opportunity for Greg Janicki to return and gain a little game time in the second half.
Indy Eleven should be concerned about their defensive situation in the run up to the championship semi final. Janicki replaced Lovel Palmer who took a knock, with Miller being out, Janicki not 100%, and Falvey playing through injury for most of the season, one more injury to a key player in the back line before November 5th could be disastrous.
|Current Indy Eleven home and Carolina away form.|
As it stands heading into the match against Carolina, Indy Eleven now sit 10 pts behind the leaders New York, there is little pointing in the team pressing to try and win a championship which is pretty much out of their reach. There is however something to protect, Indy Eleven still remain undefeated at home in 2016 with two matches to go against the Railhawks and Puerto Rico FC not only is this highly achievable but it is also something to be immensely proud of.
The last time Indy Eleven played Carolina Railhawks was a match to forget, the Eleven took the lead twice in Cary and lost it twice in a 3-2 defeat at WakeMed Stadium. The last time the two teams met in Indianapolis was a much more memorable game, probably our most memorable game to date, Indy Eleven of course needing to win by three and score four or more goals to clinch the Spring Championship, which they did, defeating Carolina 4-1 on the 11th of June.
Carolina have not won away from home since the 16th July, their last road win coming at Fort Lauderdale, in the seven away games following that Carolina have managed only 2 pts in draws against Jacksonville and Rayo OKC. Indy's home record is the polar opposite of their away form, winning 12 of 15 home games with three draws against Tampa, Edmonton and Ottawa. The most recent draw against the Rowdies came after a period of match congestion and road games for Indy.
The Railhawks are also coming off of a Wednesday game, they played at home against Rayo OKC midweek and lost the match 1-0 to a goal from Michel in the 82nd minute.
Indy Eleven should be the clear favorite in this match, as mentioned the fall championship is probably out of reach, but maintaining an undefeated home record should be important to the coach and players alike, we only have two more steps to take to reach that goal.
|Zeke still doesn't know what a Railhawk is, but he is determined to catch one.|
Prior to the Jacksonville game Coach Hankinson hinted at players getting their chance between now and the playoff game, we didn't see much evidence of rotation in that match itself. Lovel Palmer came into the defense at center in the absence of Cory Miller and Brad Ring started, Gerardo Torrado is out with a calf strain and again is unlikely to feature this week.
I would be very surprised to find any significant changes for the match against Carolina considering the importance of maintaining a home record, if any they will most likely be in forward or attacking midfield positions with perhaps players like Lacroix, Paterson, Gordon, Youla etc possibly getting starts.
We also may not even see Janicki start even though he played 15 minutes in Jacksonville we cannot afford to rush injured players back into too much game time with only three weeks to go before the playoffs. If Greg starts I think he won't play 90 minutes, if he does not start he may see time in the second half.
Lovel Palmer was taken off during the Jacksonville game with a knock allowing Greg Janicki to enter the game, Lovel's injury was not serious and will be available to start if required.
Omar Gordon has returned to Indiana after International duty in the Caribbean Cup with Jamaica and is available for selection.
Apart from Miller and Torrado the rest of the roster is eligible to play and the only rotation I think we will see may be in the bench. I expect Indy Eleven will start the same lineup again, with possibly one or two changes.
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