Friday, June 3, 2016

Turn Up The Heat - Indy Returns to Florida - Miami FC V Indy Eleven PREVIEW (6/4/2016)

Indy Heads South for Final Road Game of Spring 2016
By: James Cormack

This weekend for supporters of NASL teams around the country will likely be the most nerve wracking of the season so far. There is a lot on the line, six teams are still competing for the Spring Championship which brings with it an early berth in the post season playoffs.

As I have mentioned previously in our Spring Championship article, the game to watch this weekend for everyone will also be in Florida. The Cosmos travel to Fort Lauderdale with one task in mind, win against the Strikers and win Spring, and of course the Strikers have to win to stay in the race, a draw for them means failure but gives a lifeline to Indy Eleven, a loss for the Strikers means the Spring Championship will be awarded to New York for the second year running around 9pm on Saturday night.

Despite all the scenarios and different things that can happen it all boils down to one thing, Indy Eleven really need just win this game and forget what else is happening. The only way a draw will keep us in it is if the Cosmos lose, then we would have to hope that we can run riot on Carolina in the final game and score plenty of goals to make up the difference on the leaders. 

Setting New York aside Indy Eleven are the only team that can finish on 20pts by winning out. If we win in Miami and Cosmos lose or draw then our destiny is back in our own hands in the final game of the season on June 11th.

We still remain the only unbeaten side in the NASL and our midweek heroics in the US Open Cup have put us on a streak of nine games without a loss. Indy are continuing to prove despite a catalog of injuries and illnesses that they can dig things out, and once again on Wednesday night we showed that we simply will not give up on anything.

No game is ever going to be easy this year...

Make no mistake, with the split season format every game is important for every team. Despite being the first team eliminated from winning the Spring title, Miami FC have to set their sites on improving their points haul for the long term. 

They have won 4 points in their last two games. They have added Richie Ryan and Michael Lahoud since their last defeat, both have gone straight into the starting lineup. Last weekend they took their first NASL win and proved they can be spoilers by defeating FC Edmonton and ending their hopes of a Spring success. In the previous week they held Carolina to a 0-0 draw, so Miami have not conceded since strengthening their roster.

That win over Edmonton lifted them off the bottom of the table and above Jacksonville Armada, Miami have the potential to win out and end Spring on 12pts which is a good enough base to build on for combined season points.

Like most NASL teams Miami played in the US Open Cup on Wednesday night, making their debut. They fielded a strong starting lineup including former Indy Eleven players Blake Smith and Dane Richards, but they fell short and lost to Wilmington Hammerheads. Wilmington sit 11th of 14 teams in the same USL conference as Louisville City FC and in the two games they played against LCFC last year they lost 3-1 and 3-0.

It will be tough for any team coming off a midweek game, Miami have a little advantage with not having to travel and can rest up a little longer and do a little more training than Indy Eleven can. They will no doubt do everything they can to win this game in front of the home crowd.

How are things for Indy, will we have enough players... ?

Duke Lacroix looking to start again.
Indy Eleven's roster is being tested without doubt, in the midweek win over Louisville our bench was sparse, we had 16 players to choose from and one or two of those probably would not have been risked anyway. The question is will we have a full bench in Miami and will any players return this week.

Greg Janicki could make a return after his facial fracture, hopefully wearing a pretty evil face mask and Colin Falvey should be good to start after a midweek rest. Lovel Palmer will be out for a while but this gets us back closer to our starting back four.

We know Nicki Paterson will be available for league duty, he served a suspension in the Open Cup. Siniša Ubiparipović could also make a return but most probably as a bench player for this game.

As ever I will hazard a guess at the starting lineup being as strong as we can get it, Indy need to go for the result in this game and use the next week to get as many players as fresh as possible for the home finale!

Starting XI: Busch, Franco, Falvey (c), Janicki, Vukovic, Gordon, Paterson, Mares, Lacroix, Braun, Zayed

Bench from: Cardona, Larrea, Miller, Ubiparipović, Keller, Shaffer, Smart, Reinoso (all may travel one will not suit up)


Schlabst Cup T-Shirt
Other news........

If you need more live action from your Boys in Blue don't forget that Indy Eleven NPSL plays back to back games this weekend and both are hugely important. Indy plays Friday at 7pm against Erie Commodores and 7pm on Saturday against AFC Cleveland. Entry is $5 per person without a season ticket. Season ticket scarves are still available to buy at the games. Both ties will be played at the Championship Field, Grand Park, Westfield.

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.

As Part of that cause and thanks to the Brickyard Battalion a special t-shirt has been issued to commemorate the US Open Cup tie between Chicago Fire and Indy Eleven on June 15th. The Schlabst Cup is a supporters trophy created in honor of Peter Wilt, and is awarded to the supporters of the winning team in any tie between Fire and Eleven. 

All proceeds from the sale of this shirt will go to the winning teams supporters charity of choice. The BYB has elected to donate the proceeds to the #EamonZayedRule initiative. If we don't win Chicago Fire Supporters, Section 8, will donate to The LampStrong Foundation, a charity for cancer patients founded by Fire goalkeeper Matt Lampson. If we win we are helping people, if we lose we are still helping people! Follow the link below for more info and a better look at the t-shirt design. 

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