Indy Eleven Gameday Preview
Indy Eleven vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC - #INDvPIT
Saturday, June 1, 2019 – 7:00 P.M. ET
Lucas Oil Stadium | Indianapolis, IN
Indy Eleven 0:1 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC | Wednesday, May 29 (USOC)
Indy Eleven was eliminated from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the Third Round following a 1-0 defeated on the road to Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. The 85th minute goal by late-match substitute Kenardo Forbes was the first conceded in 675 minutes by the Boys in Blue, a clean-sheet streak that lasted the majority of Indy’s six games played across a busy month of May.
Indy Eleven 0:0 Nashville SC | Saturday, May 25
The Boys in Blue kept their scoreless streak alive last Saturday after goalkeeper Evan Newton and the defense recorded a sixth clean sheet of 2019 – and fourth consecutive in league play, all at home - via a 0-0 draw with Nashville SC. Indiana’s Team also extended its undefeated streak at home to 13 games, dating back to last July, boasting a 7W-0L-6D in the span. Midfielder Kim Do-Heon made his first start for the Boys in Blue after previously making his Eleven debut as a 77th minute substitute in Indy’s 3-1 win at Swope Park Rangers on April 15.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 0:0 Charlotte Independence | Saturday, May 25
Pittsburgh also battled to a 0-0 draw with Charlotte Independence, but their scoreless duel on Saturday had an added degree of difficulty after going a man down in the 36th minute. Defender Joseph Greenspan received a first yellow card in the 28th minute and another eight minutes later, resulting in his ejection before the halftime whistle. The clean sheet was Pittsburgh’s third of the season.
After a six-game stretch in May that included only two goals scored, there’s pressure on everyone across the roster to make things happen in the attack, but there’s likely added pressure on Kelly, the team’s 2019 leading scorer - and the USL Championship’s career leader as well. After entering Wednesday’s Open Cup affair as a late-game substitute, Kelly will bring fresh legs into the weekend rematch, and with Pittsburgh defender Joseph Greenspan not making the trip due to red card suspension, he could find himself with added space in the final third.
The Jamaican international’s season haul includes four goals in 10 matches played, but none of those came during the team’s last four matches, all played at Lucas Oil Stadium, where he has yet to open his home account. A complete finisher, Kelly can score with either foot and is most dangerous when given space in the opposition’s box, as his four on the season were struck inside the penalty area.
A few Boys in Blue have the chance to square off against former teammate Ben Lungaard, as he may potentially staff the posts for Pittsburgh this Saturday. Lungaard spent 2018 with Indy Eleven on loan from Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew before another loan move in the offseason relocated him to the Steel City.
Lungaard has performed well for Pittsburgh in the four starts he’s made, keeping two clean sheets and has allowed just three of the Riverhounds’ 12 goals conceded.
Indy Eleven will need to keep tabs on Pittsburgh Riverhounds midfielder and captain Kenardo Forbes come Saturday night’s fixture. Forbes displayed his ability to make an immediate impact on a match on Wednesday after coming on as an 81st minute substitute and scoring the game-winning goal four minutes later to eliminate Indiana’s Team from Open Cup contention.
The 31-year-old has been an integral part of the 2019 Pittsburgh squad, starting all nine fixtures of the 2019 USL Championship season and playing all but eight minutes. The set-up man is the co-leader in assists for his side, having recorded three throughout his nine games in 2019. He’s also played 17 key passes, leading his side in that category, and scored a single goal for his club.
Forbes demands attention wherever he roams in the middle of the field, and his likely first points of contact – if recent starting XI’s are any guide – could be in the persons of Tyler Gibson and Kenney Walker. Gibson has been played a key role in controlling possession and pacing tempo in his first season with Indiana’s Team. After spending much of the 2018 season injured, the midfielder looks to be back in form and marshaling the center third, and it may very well be his pinpoint passing and possession skills that help take some of the bite away from Forbes’ attack. Likewise, the veteran Walker will be tasked with much the same roles, although likely more up the field than Gibson. Whoever is paired deep in midfield, they’ll be tasked with hounding, so to speak, the Riverhounds’ attack from getting space in the final third – which is how Forbes doomed Indiana’s Team during its lone defensive lapse on Wednesday.
Indiana’s Team will turn around to welcome the Riverhounds for the last match of a five-game homestand at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kickoff on First Responders Night for both teams’ return to USL Championship action is set for 7:00 p.m., and will be followed by the annual “Battle of the Badges” contest between the men and women of the Indianapolis Fire Department and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Tickets for Saturday’s game remain available for as little as $15 at indyeleven.com/tickets or by calling 317-685-1100.