INDIANAPOLIS (September 13, 2017) – Better late than never, Indy Eleven planted their first brick down on a long road to the final few games of the Fall Season with a goal from Eamon Zayed knocking off North Carolina FC, 1-0.
An emotional night at Carroll Stadium, the “Boys in Blue” grinded through the opening half working towards a lead. North Carolina FC did their best to get on the scoresheet early, but Indy goalkeeper Jon Busch prevented the visitors from doing just that with a huge save in the 14thminute. NCFC captain Nazmi Albadawi shifted his feet just inside the box and attempted to curl one past “Buschy,” only for the veteran to put a pair of significantly sized fingertips in the way to push the ball out for a corner.
Indy’s momentum would continue to build throughout the half as half-chances fell for midfielder Ben Speas and forward Eamon Zayed to no avail. A consistent bright spot for the team’s attack came in the form of new signing Paulo Junior, who worked the wing and petrified the NCFC defense in creating opportunities for his fellow attackers. The tide continued to turn against the visitors when, in the 40th minute, NCFC midfielder James Marcelin was sent off for an apparent elbow on Indy’s Sinisa Ubiparipovic near the touchline.
However, despite Indy testing North Carolina FC goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre, neither side would break the deadlock at halftime.
With no chances in the second half, Indy came out swinging and owned their man advantage.
In the 66th minute, defender Nemanja Vukovic lined up a free kick opportunity just 21 yards from goal. Opting to hit to the side of the wall, “Vuko” was nearly in full celebration mode before Sylvestre pushed the effort wide for a corner. Indy would continue to press and created an opportunity for Speas just outside the box in the 79th minute. Driving at goal, the midfielder put Sylvestre into action again and substitute forward David Goldsmith just couldn’t reach the rebound in time.
However, just into stoppage time, forward Eamon Zayed sent the crowd into a frenzy by heading home a cross from defender Marco Franco to secure all three points at Carroll Stadium.
“It was great to cap it all off. It’s vitally important that we build off this now. We know what we have to do. We spoke about it – we need a run. Time is running out and it’s frustrating but we’re good enough to be in the playoffs. This was step one,” said Zayed.
Indy Eleven was also proud to honor the life and memory of Drew Schwier tonight, one of the club’s longest standing supporters.
“I felt like it’s been an emotional night and an emotional few days. What happened with Drew [Schwier] tonight and the tribute – he’s been our number one fan. That was emotional,” said Zayed. “I was delighted to get the win and the brick, which I gave to Drew’s family because I felt that was right.”
Indy Eleven travels to face FC Edmonton on Sunday, September 17 at 4:00 P.M. ET, but returns home to IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium to host Puerto Rico FC on Saturday, September 23 at 7:30 P.M. ET. Tickets for the game – and all remaining 4+ NASL matches at “The Mike” in 2017 – can be purchased for as little as $11 online at www.IndyEleven.com or by phone at 317-685-1100.
NASL Fall Season
Indy Eleven 1 : 0 North Carolina FC
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Carroll Stadium – Indianapolis, IN
IND – Eamon Zayed 90+3'
IND – Gerardo Torrado 32’
NCFC – James Marcelin 40’ (RED)
NCFC – Connor Tobin 80’
Indy Eleven lineup (4-2-3-1, L-->R): Jon Busch (GK); Nemanja Vukovic, Cory Miller, Colin Falvey ©, Marco Franco; Gerardo Torrado (David Goldsmith 65’), Brad Ring; Ben Speas (Don Smart 81’), Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Paulo Junior; Eamon Zayed
IND bench: Keith Cardona (GK); Christian Lomeli, Tanner Thompson, Kwame Watson-Siriboe
North Carolina FC lineup (4-1-4-1, L->R): Brian Sylvestre; Paul Black, Connor Tobin, Christian Ibeagha, Kareem Moses;
James Marcelin, Austin Da Luz (Matt Fondy 90’), Dre Fortune (Bolu Akinyode 44’), Nazmi Albadawi, Steven Miller; Renan Gorne (Lance Laing 74’)
NCFC bench: Macklin Robinson (GK); Tiyi Shipalane, Alex Molano, Jonathan Glenn