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GAMEDAY | Indy Eleven welcomes Miami FC to Carroll Stadium

"Boys in Blue" face league leaders for second straight week
May 19, 2017

PREVIEW:

Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven vs Miami FC - #INDvMIA
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – 7:30 P.M. EST

Michael Carroll Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana


Watch/Listen Live:

  • Local: MyIndy TV-23
  • National: beIN Sports
  • Streaming Video: beIN Sports Connect ($)

Follow Live:

Match notes:
Indy Eleven notes
Miami FC notes

 

THE FIGHT FOR THREE INTENSIFIES…

“Indiana’s Team” continue their efforts to secure the club’s first win in this Saturday’s rematch with the table-leading Miami FC. Indy’s Spring undefeated streak fell to the wayside after last Saturday’s 3-2 stunner secured Miami’s first-place lead. In their last matchup, Miami opened in scoring versus Indy in the dying minutes of the first half. Indy was quick to equalize with a Miami own goals moments into the second half, but Miami redeemed themselves with two additional goals in quick succession. “Boys in Blue” forward Justin Braun placed another in the back of Miami’s net in the 83rd minute, bringing the score line closer together. However, Braun’s effort to close the goal gap ultimately failed, tallying the first loss for the 2016 NASL Championship runner-ups.

Miami lingers in first place for the second week in a row after becoming the first team to claim three successive wins, bringing their record to 4W-2D-1L. Not only does Miami lead the table with 14 points, but the south Florida side has now become the highest scoring club with 12 goals. Moreover, each of the NASL’s top 10 lists has occupying multiple slots on each. Miami will pursue a fifth seasonal win to widen the space between themselves and the second-place San Francisco Deltas.

Miami’s current performance is a total turnaround from last Spring’s, in which the team finished their inaugural Spring season at the bottom of the table with just seven points and one win. By the end of 2016, Miami finished in 7th place with a combined 40 points; eight points off from qualifying for a playoff spot.

With a 0W-6-D-1L record, the Eleven’s “fight for three” has reached a pivotal point. Pending results from around the league, a win on Saturday could potentially see the Circle City Crusaders just a point off from advancing into fifth place.

 

WHO TO WATCH INDY ELEVEN EDITION: MF GERARDO TORRADO

For the past few weeks, Indy midfielder Gerardo Torrado has had notably high performances, and his performance in Miami last Saturday added another match to that list. Torrado continued to shine in the midfield during his full 90-minute performance in Week 8, demonstrating his understanding of situational awareness and defensive dominance. The former Cruz Azul legend collected four interceptions, won half of his duels and completed all but three of his passes, retaining the highest passing accuracy for “Indiana’s Team” with teammate Tanner Thompson following close behind. Torrado also went on to win every tackle he was involved in, most notably his slide tackle against Miami’s Kwadwo Poku in the 42nd minute from inside Indy’s penalty box, further staving off Miami’s first goal that eventually found the back of the net minutes later in stoppage time.

In a more expansive view, Torrado remains one of the league’s top passers with 370 balls laid-off to teammates. Meanwhile, Torrado has won the majority of his tackles and nearly half of his duels since the start of the season in a showcase of defensive expertise.

 

WHO TO WATCH MIAMI FC EDITION: FW VINCENZO RENNELLA

Miami FC’s Vincenzo Rennella will look to continue to add his name to the scoresheet as the Italian National continues to find minutes in 2017. Rennella’s performance saw him involved in two of Miami’s three goals (1 goal, 1 assist), that ended “Indiana’s Team’s” undefeated streak in the Spring season. Rennella opened the scoring during the first half’s stoppage time, after a lucky ball from Miami FC veteran Kwadwo Poku found the striker’s left foot outside Indy’s penalty box. Rennella collected his second contribution of the evening with a generous pass in the 61st minute to ex-Indy “original” Dylan Mares, who sent Miami in the lead moments later.

Overall, Rennella’s performance saw him in the NASL Team of the Week for the second time in 2017 (Week 5, Week 8). Furthermore, Rennella became the fifth Miami FC player to add his name to the top 10 goal scorers in the league with two goals; Indy Eleven’s Justin Braun is still currently tied for first place with four goals.

 

MATCH-UP TO MARK: MF BEN SPEAS VS. DF HUNTER FREEMAN

 “Boys in Blue” midfielder Ben Speas aims to test his improving post-injury form against opposing defender Hunter Freeman this Saturday.

Minutes have been limited for Speas as he works his way back into the regular starting XI. However, April’s Play of the Month honoree made his return to the pitch during the second half of last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat in Miami. Just 13 minutes after his second-half introduction, Speas’s made a right-footed effort towards Miami’s goal that would have jettisoned Indy into the lead, but just barely misses the upper right corner of the box. Although the night would ultimately end in a loss for Indy, Speas walked away with positive stats and improved fitness for Indy’s rematch with Miami at home. Prior to his injury, Speas had scored one goal and assisted in another in his first two regular-season appearances for Indy.

Despite sending the first of Indy’s goals off of a misjudged header into the back of his team’s net last Saturday, Miami’s Freeman will look for redemption while away in the Circle City. The NASL veteran concluded his match in Week 8 with the third highest pass completion rate of any player on the pitch, with the first two also being Miami FC teammates. Additionally, the former New York Cosmos champion displayed his marksmanship by completing more successful crosses than any other player from both sides and added an assist to his career stats. In 2017, Freeman alone has made 22 clearances, 10 interceptions, won every tackle and has completed over 85-percent of his 488 passes. 

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