PREVIEW: Indy Eleven vs. Swope Park Rangers

Indiana's Team welcomes USL side Swope Park Rangers to Grand Park
Published Mar 1, 2017


Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven vs Swope Park Rangers - 2:00 PM
Thursday, March  2, 2017
Grand Park Event Center - Westfield, IN

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Off to a Proper Start

First thing first - Indy Eleven has played their first match of the 2017 preseason, a 1-0 victory against Butler University at the Butler Bowl. If that doesn't make you happy, nothing will!

Now those "first game" nerves are gone and the squad has had an extra few days to gel and continue working on the concepts that made them so successful in 2016, so expectations are higher. As the March 25 season opener edges closer, the team's confidence grows, and both head coach Tim Hankinson and the captain Colin Falvey back their side heading into the second of five preseason tests.

"In my opinion, this is just another step in making sure we are ready for the season opener in San Francisco," said Falvey. "It's always important to try to get as much out of the preseason games as possible. This is another chance for us to look at things."


Who to Watch, Indy Eleven edition: FW Justin Braun & Eamon Zayed

Forwards Justin Braun and Eamon Zayed impressed in Friday's win over the Bulldogs, but they will look to further embed themselves in the attacking play during Thursday's afternoon match.

Linking well with the midfield, Braun and Zayed are learning the tendencies of new teammate Ben Speas, who featured in a central role directly behind the lethal pair. As the trio familiarizes themselves with each other, their interplay will improve. It takes time to build an attack as prolific as last year's, but the sooner Braun and Zayed are on the same page as their teammates in the midfield, the sooner the goals flow again. We may see a more finished product on Thursday afternoon.


Match-up to Mark: MF Brad Ring vs. SPR attack

Last year, Ring's consistency gave coach Hankinson the option to use him in a number of different areas on the pitch, and time after time he impressed. This year, the same reliability may be required as Indy Eleven's attacking threat grows by the day, meaning part of the team's success could depend on a strong holding midfielder. Ring featured in 27 games and racked up over 1880 minutes in 2016, an increase from his 21 appearances and 1460 minutes in 2015, and may again see an uptick in his playing time if the system Hankinson has stuck with thus far this preseason holds into March. 

We've seen the tandem of Ring and Torrado hold down the center of the park with a free-roaming pair of Ben Speas and Don Smart in front of them, and both players in the No.6 role have helped to clean up the area in front of the defense. Their responsibility on Thursday will be to do much the same - win the ball back, move it forward quickly, and see to it that chances for the opposition on the counter are limited.