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PREVIEW | Indy Eleven Travels to Michigan for #USOC17 Round Two

"Indiana's Team" makes second round entrance in the U.S. Open Cup
May 16, 2017

PREVIEW:

Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven at Michigan Bucks – Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup #USOC2017
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 – 7:30 P.M. EST

Ultimate Soccer Arenas – Pontiac, Michigan


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IT’S BUCK HUNTING SEASON…

“Indiana’s Team” will make their entrance into the 2nd round of the 104th Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup this Wednesday to take on USL PDL side, Michigan Bucks. This marks the fourth consecutive year that Indy Eleven has competed in the nation’s most prestigious soccer tournament open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams. Last year, Indy’s impressive run ended in the fourth round against the MLS’ Chicago Fire SC after a 1-1 draw saw the Fire advance following a penalty shootout. Last year also marked the second time the “Boys in Blue” made it to the fourth round to face-off against an MLS side; Indy Eleven fell 2-1 to the MLS’ Columbus Crew in 2014.

With top performances in past Open Cup appearances, Michigan Bucks will prove to be a formidable competitor in the early stages of the tournament.  While widely considered a Division IV team, Bucks could be branded as “giant killers” among amateur divisions given their results against top sides in Open Cup play; the defending PDL champs have defeated MLS’ Chicago Fire SC and New England Revolution in previous years. In addition, in 2016, the Great Lakes State’s team had won more matches against professional teams (9) than the entirety of the NASL combined (8). Outside of the Open Cup, the Michigan club has earned the title as the most successful PDL side, holding several divisional and league-wide records for championships won throughout the team’s existence. Further proving the quality of Michigan’s players, Indy midfielder Ben Speas began his senior career donning a Bucks kit during the team’s 2010 Great Lakes Divisional Championship season.

Indy Eleven fell 3-2 to Miami FC last Saturday, marking the first loss in the Spring season following six consecutive draws. However, head coach Tim Hankinson seeks victory on Wednesday to reboot and return to winning ways.

“We’ve got to find ways to focus the group,” Hankinson stated. “It’s very important that we rebound as a club from the loss in Miami and come back with a win. Sometimes a win can start to jumpstart confidence and positivity…It’s about winning every time we put on the jersey…”

 

WHO TO WATCH INDY ELEVEN EDITION: FW DAVID GOLDSMITH

With Eamon Zayed out of the regular starting XI last Saturday, former Butler University standout David Goldsmith found his first start in coach Hankinson’s squad. Although the English forward has only collected 72 minutes on the field in two appearances, Goldsmith will continue to provide his services in exchange for scoring opportunities. Joining the squad earlier this year, Goldsmith’s trial demonstrated his ambition and technical skills that coach Hankinson sought to incorporate into his squad.

Prior to joining the “Boys in Blue,” Goldsmith forged his legacy amongst the Bulldog elites after achieving a long list of collegiate accolades; All-Big East First Team, Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player and Big East Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2016. Adding to his aforementioned honors, Goldsmith was ranked among the top 20 nationally in scoring after he led Butler to capture the 2016 Big East Championship title.

 

MATCH-UP TO MARK: FW JUSTIN BRAUN vs. BUCKS DEFENSE

Indy Eleven’s second all-time goal scorer Justin Braun will look to emulate his success in the Open Cup. However, Braun will need to work to infiltrate the Bucks’ nearly-impenetrable backline.

Braun etched his name into Indy’s U.S. Cup legacy in 2016 after scoring the opening goal in the 105th minute during the fourth round matchup against Chicago Fire SC. The elation felt by the traveling Brickyard Battalion at Toyota Park was short-lived as Chicago equalized six minutes later and eventually won 4-3 in a penalty shootout. Moving forward, Braun has continued to put his name on the scoresheet. Today, the former Sacramento Republic FC striker is now tied for first place in the NASL for the most individual goals scored with four goals to his name in 2017. Braun’s ability to weave through defenders and link up with any striking partner makes him an ideal attacking option.

As “Indiana’s Team” builds their attack, the three-time PDL champs will look to counter with a hardened defense. Michigan Bucks are on a roll this season, entering round two of the Open Cup with a 1-0 shutout versus NPSL’s AFC Ann Arbor and securing a 2-0 smack down in their first PDL match of 2017. Additionally, Bucks topped the 2016 PDL table with 36 points in 14 regular season games, scoring 45 goals and only allowing seven to slip through the cracks of their defending wall. Surging ahead, Bucks continued their success in the PDL’s 2016 Great Lakes Division Playoffs, accumulating four wins and no losses; scored 11 goals and allowed only two into the back of their net.  

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