Indy Eleven travels to San Francisco Deltas for 2017 Season Opener

Indiana's Team kicks off the season away to expansion side SFD
Published Mar 24, 2017


Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven at San Francisco Deltas - #SFDvIND
Saturday, March  25, 2017
 - 10:00 PM ET / 7:00 PM PT
Kezar Stadium - San Francisco, CA

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Expanding Horizons

For the second straight "season," Indy Eleven opens up their season against an expansion side. In the 2016 Fall Season, Indiana's Team traveled to Bayamon, Puerto Rico to face Puerto Rico FC in their first-ever game as an NASL team, and now they get that chance again when visiting Kezar Stadium and the San Francisco Deltas.

Not much is known about the Deltas with limited footage of the team's performances floating around. Their personnel, however, will be familiar with the returning NASL core.  With names like Nana Attakora, Tom Heinemann, and Devon Sandoval leading the way, San Francisco's roster is chock-full of former league players.  Heinemann, in particular, will be one to watch. Indy faced the forward in last year's season opener when the American led the line for Tampa Bay Rowdies in a 0-0 draw in St. Petersburg.

Head coach Tim Hankinson is hopeful his side can repeat the Spring Season form that brought home the club's first-ever trophy but understands the task that lies ahead.

"This is a massive trip for us when you look at the time spent even getting there. Fortunately, we've made the plan to go out a day early to be ready for Saturday night. When you have a game of this magnitude - their first game ever in this league - the energy you bring is of the highest level. If we can bring the same energy, we have a good shot at getting all three points."


Who to Watch, Indy Eleven edition: FW Eamon Zayed

All eyes are on Indy Eleven's all-time leading scorer Eamon Zayed when the season opens up on Saturday night. Scoring 15 goals and chipping in six assists, Zayed was one of Indy's biggest threats throughout the whole of last year. When working in tandem with strike partner Justin Braun, the forward was especially dangerous, and he'll get that chance again this year as the pair return.

The Irishman netted one time in the preseason - a calm, collected finish against Swope Park Rangers helping to secure a 1-1 draw. But, after last year's disappointment of missing out on the Golden Boot - awarded to the league's top scorer - the No.9 is hopeful that he can find those final few goals. While stressing that individual awards mean nothing when looking at the full picture, winning The Championship Final, the Golden Ball has been on Zayed's mind since his arrival at the beginning of last year.


Match-up to Mark: GK Jon Busch vs. FW Tom Heinemann

Having already dueled in one season opener, Indy Eleven GK Jon Busch faces San Francisco forward Tom Heinemann to start the season for the second straight year.

Heinemann spent all of the 2016 season with Tampa Bay and scored four goals in 26 appearances. In the 0-0 draw to begin the year last April, Heinemann fired two shots at "Buschy" but could not find his goal. The match was one of Busch's more memorable showings in goal for the "Boys in Blue" in the whole of last year. 

The physical forward and determined 'keeper go head-to-head once again, and Busch will be confident of replicating his form last year to keep the opposition off the scoresheet in front of a familiar back line.