Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven at North Carolina FC - #NCFCvIND
Sunday, October 1, 2017 – 4:00 P.M. EST
WakeMed Soccer Park - Cary, NC
THE TIME IS NOW
As the Fall Season winds down and the push for The Playoffs comes to its pinnacle, Indy's "fight for three" points is more vital now than ever. Facing a team in direct competition for the final playoff spot, Indy Eleven travels to WakeMed Soccer Park to face North Carolina FC in one of four Sunday showdowns around the league. The "Boys in Blue" are fresh off earning their sixth clean sheet of the season in a 0-0 draw with Jacksonville Armada FC, while NCFC comes in hot off the back of a 2-0 win on the road against the New York Cosmos last Saturday.
In the last meeting between the two sides just two weeks back, Indy managed a 1-0 win at Carroll Stadium thanks to a late winner from forward Eamon Zayed with the visiting side down to ten men. In this encounter, Indy will need to find similar dominance in the midfield to continue to create chances for the attacking line while keeping an eye on NCFC forwards Renan Gorne and Matt Fondy, should their numbers be called on the day.
ELEVEN REWIND at JACKSONVILLE ARMADA FC:
"Indiana's Team" faced Armada FC in a midweek matchup that was rescheduled from Saturday, September 9 due to circumstances amid the arrival of Hurricane Irma.
The two sides traded chances in the first half with the best opportunities falling inside the opening 15 minutes for both. In the 9th minute, Jacksonville sniffed their first chance at goal when forward Tony Taylor drove forward on a breakaway. Taylor worked his way into the box and forced Falvey the wrong way on an attempted challenge, only to see his effort on goal blocked by Cory Miller.
Minutes later, Indy midfielder Don Smart led the charge to create a look on goal for his side. Surging down the flank, the Jamaican, nearing his 100th appearance for the club, whipped in a low cross that the Armada FC backline repelled with Zayed waiting in a central position to tap the ball home.
In the second half, Jacksonville midfielder J.C. Banks began to work his way into the match and created a pair of decent chances for his side, though they could not convert. For Indy, the best chance in the second 45 minutes fell his way with just under 15 minutes to play. Substitute forward David Goldsmith slid a clever ball to Smart just wide to the right, but instead of squaring the ball, the midfielder opted to go for goal at the near post and forced a solid save from Armada FC's Caleb Patterson-Sewell.
In the end, "Buschy" was tested just once as Indy won over 80% of their tackles in shutting out Jacksonville Armada FC, 0-0.
WHO TO WATCH INDY ELEVEN EDITION: DF COLIN FALVEY
Club captain Colin Falvey will be once again leading the defense against North Carolina FC on Sunday afternoon.
In his last time out, Falvey helped his side prevent Jacksonville from getting on the scoresheet, winning 100% of his tackles and nearly 70% of his duels while making four clearances and registering three interceptions. In addition, Falvey completed nearly 83% of his passes - 37% of which went forward - to help incite attack from the defense.
Against physical forwards like Gorne and Fondy, Falvey is an ideal pick. Neither forward carries the pace to get around Falvey, meaning it will be a physical fight for the defender who has featured in eight of nine Fall Season games, playing in every minute outside his 65 minutes against Miami FC in early August.
WHO TO WATCH NORTH CAROLINA FC EDITION: MF NAZMI ALBADAWI
Highlighting the other man donning the armband, NCFC midfielder Nazmi Albadawi is the one to watch for the hosts this weekend.
The American has produced once again on the statsheet, netting three goals with three assists in 27 appearances this year. Last year, Albadawi put up three goals and ten assists in 29 games, putting him just off the pace in the assists column. But, with two goals and one assist in the Fall Season so far, Albadawi will look to up his production in the final stretch.
The midfielder has an eye for a pass and the numbers to back it up, creating 48 chances while completing nearly 83% of his passes in the process. Indy will have to mark the creator in the NCFC tightly.
MATCH-UP TO MARK: MF DON SMART vs DF PAUL BLACK
As he approaches game No.100, "Mr. Indy" Don Smart will have another chance to show why he helps make things happen in the final third when he lines up across defender Paul Black.
Smart has played the full 90 minutes in his last two matches and has registered one assist in the Fall Season so far. Smart's pace and skill on the ball make him a threat against any defense, though he'll be facing one of the more consistent left backs in the league. Outside of his 42-minute stint against the New York Cosmos last week, Black has played the full 90 in every match he's appeared in dating back to his side's 2-1 loss to Indy on June 24.