Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
FC Edmonton vs Indy Eleven - #FCEvIND
Sunday, July 30, 2017 – 4:00 P.M. EST
Clarke Stadium – Edmonton, Alberta, CAN
Indy Eleven notes
FC Edmonton notes
FALL SEASON ASCENT
Closing out the Spring Season with four wins and five games while staying unbeaten during that stretch, Indy Eleven flies into the Fall Season in fine form as they face FC Edmonton to start the 16-game stretch. "Indiana's Team" has never lost a season-opening contest (Spring or Fall) since the club began play in 2014, going 1-6-0 in six away contests with one home game. The team's lone win came in the 2014 Fall Season opener, 2-1, at North Carolina FC.
FC Edmonton, meanwhile, come into the break in a similar position as Indy Eleven having not played an international foe. That said, their form to end the Spring Season was about as close to complete opposite of Indy, with the Eddies losing five out of their final six contests en route to a 7th place finish. While Indy Eleven finished just one spot above Sunday's opposition, the "Boys in Blue" were a full seven points clear (20 pts vs 13 pts) and finished just one point off North Carolina FC (21 pts).
Starting the Spring Season with six straight draws, Indy Eleven defender and captain Colin Falvey stated the importance of getting off on the right foot when the Fall slate begins.
"We're looking to continue our end of Spring Season form and bring it straight into the Fall Season," said the Irishman. "It's really important we get off to a good start."
WHO TO WATCH INDY ELEVEN EDITION: DF NEMANJA VUKOVIC
Through Indy's incredible run over the last five matches, it's hard to find a player more directly influential to the attacking success than defender Nemanja Vukovic. Lining up at left-back, the Montenegrin stud has a knack for pressing high up the pitch and pressing the opposition wingers as soon as they cross the halfway line. As a result, his positioning frequently sees him maraud forward into attack.
Over the last two games - a 2-1 win over the New York Cosmos and a 2-0 win over Jacksonville Armada FC - Vukovic has tallied one assist and netted one goal, the game-winner against Armada FC. Indy's attempts to squeeze the Eddies off the ball on Sunday will be partly dependent on the play of Vukovic and his other teammate at fullback in Marco Franco.
WHO TO WATCH FC EDMONTON EDITION: FW TOMI AMEOBI
For FC Edmonton, forward Tomi Ameobi has been the main man through the Spring Season. One of only two players to feature in all 16 regular season games, Ameobi racked up four goals on 35 shots to lead his team. Sunday's hosts only have two players who have scored more than one goal all season, so the Englishman will all but certainly be the target man for Indy to lock down come kickoff.
Born in Newcastle upon Tyne in northern England, Ameobi has been with Edmonton since 2014 and has scored 13 goals in 64 regular season matches for his club. Featuring in 30 games last year, the forward has already doubled his tally from 2016 (two goals) but has yet to match the threat of other top goalscorers around the league with Miami FC forward Vincenzo Rennella still leading the way with ten scored so far.
MATCH-UP TO MARK: FW EAMON ZAYED vs DF SHAWN NICKLAW
One of the bigger focuses at the weekend will be Indy Eleven forward Eamon Zayed against FC Edmonton defender Shawn Nicklaw.
Zayed, who scored three goals in 13 appearances broken up by a rib injury in May, has again produced alongside strike partner Justin Braun this year after the tandem lit up the league in 2016. Notching an assist in Indy's Spring Season finale against Jacksonville Armada FC, Zayed's hold-up play has been an integral part of Indy's success as they march into a new portion of the year.
For Edmonton, Nicklaw is the only other player (alongside Ameobi) to have featured in every Spring Season game and has locked down the right back position in a fairly consistent back four. The defender had an impact in Indy's fall trip to Edmonton in October of last year, earning the assist on forward Ben Fisk's late winner against "Indiana's Team" at Clarke Stadium. While Nicklaw's attacking output has been behind that of Indy fullbacks Nemanja Vukovic and Marco Franco, still expect the Guamanian footballer to try and shut down Zayed, and likely midfielder Ben Speas, on Sunday.