Looking to Push Undefeated Streak to Seven, Boys in Blue Hit the Road for First Time in Over a Month
Indy Eleven at Memphis 901 FC
Saturday, May 14, 2022 – 8:00 p.m. ET
AutoZone Park – Memphis, Tenn.
Local TV: n/a
Streaming Video: ESPN+ (click to subscribe)
Radio (Spanish): n/a
In-game updates: @IndyElevenLive Twitter feed, presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers
Live stats: #MEMvIND MatchCenter on USLChampionship.com
2022 USL CHAMPIONSHIP REGULAR SEASON RECORDS
Indy Eleven: 4W-2L-2D (+2 GD), 14 pts.; T-5th in Eastern Conference
Memphis 901 FC: 5W-2L-1D (+3 GD), 16 pts.; 4th in Eastern Conference
COMMUNITY HEALTH NETWORK SPORTS MEDICINE INDY ELEVEN INJURY REPORT
OUT: MF Bryam Rebellon (R quadriceps strain)
MEM: Niall Logue (red card at CHS on 5/06)
After enjoying one of only two bye weekends on its 2022 regular season calendar, Indy Eleven returns to action Saturday night with a “heat check” contest at Memphis 901 FC that pits the fourth- and fifth-place squads in the Eastern Conference against each other. Indy enters the affair with four straight wins that have extended its unbeaten run to six games dating back to early April, while 901 FC have won three of their last four outings over the last month.
The two-week break came at a good time for the Eleven, which will only have Bryam Rebellon unavailable due to injury, the Colombian midfielder being forced from consideration after suffering a quadriceps injury during warm-ups the last time out against Hartford Athletic back on April 30. The match will be Indy’s first away affair in over a month, but with a 1-1 draw at Louisville on April 2 followed by a 2-1 victory at Rio Grande Valley FC a week later that marked its first three-point result of the season, the Eleven will certainly not fear hitting the road once again. The contest will give the Boys in Blue yet another opportunity to continue their quick ascent up the Eastern Conference ladder, as the Tennessee side sits only two points ahead on the table heading into the weekend.
Memphis has posted an impressive start of its own, stacking five wins out of their first eight affairs – six of which have come against teams currently above the playoff line. However, the Tennesseans have seen both of their stumbles come at AutoZone Park, including a 1-2 defeat to Miami FC in their last home match on April 30. Memphis will be without the services of two regulars in enter back Niall Logue, who had played all 711 minutes of 901 FC’s campaign up until his 81st minute red card in a 2-0 win at Charleston last weekend, and forward Derek Dodson, who started the first seven games of the season until a left ankle injury sidelined him for the Charleston affair.
LAST TIME OUT
Indy Eleven defeated the visiting Hartford Athletic and Mother Nature (barely) at Carroll Stadium to close out a prefect three-game homestand. The game kicked off nearly 45 minutes late due to a severe weather alert, and halftime lasted almost 90 minutes due to a second stoppage, but night’s irregularities didn’t seem to be an issue for the Boys in Blue. Captain Ayoze’s first goal of the season in the 40th minute proved to be the deciding one thanks to Indy’s first clean sheet of 2022.
Memphis controlled most of the match in a thorough win at Patriots Point in Charleston. 901 FC went ahead in the 32nd minute on Luiz Fernando’s first goal of the season, and just eight minutes later Jeremy Kelly netted his third of the campaign for the key insurance tally. Memphis registered 10 more total shots than Charleston (18-8) and allowed just one shot on goal, which came only after Niall Logue’s 81st minute sending off for a second caution on the evening.
SERIES VS. MEMPHIS 901 FC:
USLC regular season: 3W-3L-1D (12 GF/9 GA)
USLC regular season away: 2W-2L-0D (7 GF/6 GA)
The Boys in Blue secured wins in their first three contests against Memphis, but the Tennessee side evened the all-time series up quickly with three wins and a draw in 2021. Their last meeting saw Memphis end Indy’s 2021 regular season campaign with a 3-0 win at AutoZone Park last October 30 on a goal by Roland Lamah (12’) and two tallies assisted by Laurent Kissiedou through Kyle Murphy (32’) and Andre Fortune (56’). Memphis also collected a 1-0 result at home on Sept. 22 after drawing 1-1 at Carroll Stadium on July 17 and starting the 2021 season series with a 2-1 win at “The Mike” on June 5.
That said, Indy Eleven is not unfamiliar with success at AutoZone Park, which is where the Boys in Blue notched their biggest comeback win in history on March 7, 2020, via a memorable 4-2 triumph. That 2020 season opener – the club’s lone match prior to the four-month COVID stoppage – saw Ayoze (48+’), Tyler Pasher (69’, 72’), and Carl Haworth (83’) put four straight behind legendary USMNT netminder Tim Howard. Indiana’s Team began the series between the squads with a pair of 3-0 wins in 2019, starting with a victory in Memphis on June 8 and concluding at Lucas Oil Stadium on Oct. 5.
#MEMvIND FAMILIAR FACES: Memphis 901 FC acquired a pair of former Eleven defenders in the offseason in the persons of Rece Buckmaster and Patrick Seagrist. Buckmaster, a son of the Hoosier State as an Auburn native and Indiana University alum, played in 23 contests (15 starts) for Indy in 2021 before returning to 901 FC, with whom he suited up for in 2020. Seagrist started 20 of his 29 appearances on the Eleven backline while on loan from MLS’ Inter Miami CF last season. One more familiar face to Indiana soccer fans is goalkeeper Trey Muse, who stood out in two seasons at IU from 2017-18 before turning pro.
While no Indy Eleven player has donned the Memphis blues in their past, forward Aris Briggs will be making a homecoming trip over the weekend. Briggs grew up in the Bluff City and attended Christian Brothers High School prior to continuing his playing days in Georgia with Atlanta-area club Concorde Fire and Georgia State University.
ELEVEN PLAYER TO WATCH: FW ARIS BRIGGS
We’ll give this week’s nod to the league’s premier “super sub” over the first quarter of the USL Championship campaign and, as mentioned above, a guy who might have a little extra motivation as he returns home over the weekend.
Head Coach Mark Lowry gushed over Briggs’ performances over the course of April, lauding the striker’s attitude and embrace of his role as a key cog off the bench not just on the scoresheet, but as an energetic “first defender” up top in the Eleven’s increasingly swarming high-pressure set-up. That said, the dude can indeed finish, as his two goals and assist in three consecutive games – all as a sub – were pivotal in kicking off the team’s current four-game winning streak.
Regardless of when the call has come, the 25-year-old ex-Real Monarchs man has been ready. He better continue to be, as Lowry has expressed that Briggs’ size, speed, and skill are a huge plus as the game stretches out late no matter the scoreline. You can bet that with all the extra support he’ll have in the stands on Saturday night, those attributes will be dialed up an extra notch as he looks to help the Boys in Blue stay red hot.