Tuesday, August 4, 2015

In a land far far away. Indy head north in search of answers. (FC Edmonton V Indy Eleven 8/5/2015 Preview)

Forget 10:04, the Eleventh Hour is upon us!!
There are fifteen games left in fall, whether it is too early for us to be concerned about our play off chances right now is hard to say, I am always concerned. Losing to Atlanta at home this weekend was possibly the first coffin nail in my opinion, problem is I am not sure what the magic number of coffin nails is that we can allow before we are buried in 2015. Well okay, maybe that's a bit harsh ;)

By the end of August we will have only 10 games left, it would be nice to know at the end of this month that we can realistically say we still have a crack at this. The only way dropping points at home can be sufferable is if the team can go on the road and have a big night and win all three, it's something we know we can do. We've done it before, even in Edmonton.

It's time for us to stop messing around.We need to see players playing in their natural position. We need to see us have a Plan B, we need to be able to adapt our playing style and formation in game to overcome teams. As of now we only have one dimension and if it doesn't work we just fail.

Our players also have to raise their game and play to the best of their level consistently, Saturday night was a weak performance, too many players were not doing their best so I would expect them to stand up and be accountable on Wednesday night. We will once again not be able to pick our perfect eleven, so we need to choose wisely, we can't afford to be as wasteful in possession as we have been.

It is important for Indy to try and get a result of some kind in every single game they play now, we can't keep saying it's too early to worry, we can say that every week until it's too late and we will be at the point of saying "hmmm there is still a slim mathematical chance?" We need wins, and we need them now!

I wonder how many people will get my Michael J Fox reference?

Can we get three points from this game.....

Short answer: YES

Looking solely at very recent form, Edmonton have also been tripping themselves up. In their last two games which have both been at home they have lost to the two teams that have beaten us in fall.

Knowing that they have lost two games at home now, there is no guarantee that Edmonton will not switch things up and do something different, like Atlanta did with their 3-5-2 formation against us.

Edmonton in most of their recent games have played a 4-5-1, you could call it 4-1-4-1 it's all semantics. What we do know from this, like Saturday, the midfield area is going to be busy.

Atlanta Silverbacks managed to go through that Edmonton formation with a flat 4-4-2 on July 26th and put three goals past the Eddies in a game that ended 3-1. More unusual on Sunday Ottawa managed to defeat Edmonton with a very late goal using a 4-3-3 formation which is by no means easy, 4-5-1 is usually a good counter to an attacking 4-3-3 formation. This may be a good indication that Edmonton are vulnerable at the moment?

No doubt Edmonton will be running the rule on the tapes of our last two defeats looking for ways to unlock Indy, and my hope is Tim Regan is doing the same on them. I think Indy have to work on being able to adapt during the game this week, we have to look at two different formations and train for that, we start with one and if it's not working we switch it up. It's something many teams in NASL do, but we just can't for some reason. Minnesota is a great example, a team that can change its formation up to three times during a game.

I would like to see Indy start with somewhat of a 4-4-1-1 formation, which basically gives us the option of using the second forward as a midfielder both with possession and without. If Edmonton overload the midfield, it is important that we have an extra body in there to enable us to pass our way through the midfield. We couldn't do it against Atlanta, we failed to adapt during the game and as a result we failed repeatedly throughout the whole game to really create good opportunities.

Indy needs to be able to switch from a 4 man midfield to a 5 man midfield at any given time if they want to gain an edge on teams when things go south. This will be especially important if Edmonton decide to switch things up, they have been known to play a 4-3-3 attacking formation quite often in the past and they may revert to that, and that will mean trouble for us, we saw what happened in Jacksonville in Spring.

In our game against Atlanta I felt our biggest problem was not being able to deal well with the congested midfield, we were unable to build any kind of attack from the back, our full backs were not able to penetrate as deep as we would normally and we resorted to a more direct route by trying to put the ball over the midfield. I felt if we had made a decision to drop Dane back alongside Steinberger earlier we could have had an extra passing option and moved through Atlanta a little easier.

I also think in our last two games the front pairing of Brown and Richards is not working effectively, it is not really producing anything. Dane is not a forward and would give us more coming out of midfield. I would much rather see us try to play with one up front and achieve more in midfield and play a better passing game.

If we do start with a 4-4-2 I would like to see Wojcik back in the starting lineup, we all know Edmonton is a very big physical team, Dane and Brian did not deal with that physicality against Atlanta's back three, and we could not get balls into their feet. We need that physical option and I think Wojcik needs to start. Hopefully we start conservatively and play players in their natural position and if things aren't working out change things up.

Injuries and lineups and all the other good stuff.....

Obviously we have a quick turnaround here, it's going to be difficult to get any new injury news before kick off, if I hear of anything I will update before kickoff.

Obviously if you watched the Atlanta game Pineda seemed to have took a shoulder injury later in the game, not sure if this is serious or not, I don't think it will be. probably just a displacement or muscle pull that a good rub down won't cure, I expect him to start.

Duke Lacroix should be back in the 18 man roster and should feature on the bench for Indy Eleven to give us another attacking option. Outside of that I don't expect us to have any new injuries.

As we know Erick Norales serves his second game of a two match suspension and is not available.

Players to watch? For Indy I am going to go out on a limb here and say that Wojcik will start and he will cause some trouble. I expect that Dane Richards will be moved back into an attacking midfield position and my hope is he will find his comfort zone and use his pace to cause problems running at the Edmonton defense from a more familiar position.

For Edmonton, obviously Lance Laing is the man to cover up, they have not had a lot of success hitting the net in the last couple of games, Lance missed the game against Atlanta but came back against Ottawa. I suspect their biggest threat to us will be set pieces and we know Laing hits a mean free kick. Ameobi will most likely start, he is large and physical and fast and he will run at out defense, those two linking up are always a big danger!!

Edmonton are a big physical and fast team, aerial threat is always going to be there, especially from free kicks and corners. We failed to deal with this kind of threat against Ottawa so hopefully we are better prepared.

I suspect we will start like this: Nicht, Franco, Janicki, Miller, Hyland, Richards, Ring, Steinberger, Pineda, Brown, Wojcik. Subs: Cardona, McKinney, Keller, Rugg, Smart, Lacroix, Frias.

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