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PREVIEW | INDY ELEVEN LOOKS TO CONTINUE TREK TO THE TOP VS. BETHLEHEM STEEL FC

By IndyEleven.com, 09/13/19, 10:15AM EDT

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The Boys in Blue Look to Extend Home Streak, Clinch USL Championship Playoff Spot

#INDvBST Gameday Preview
Indy Eleven vs. Bethlehem Steel FC
Saturday, September 14, 2019 – 7:00 P.M. ET
Lucas Oil Stadium  |  Indianapolis, Ind.    

 

Follow Live:

Local/National TV: MyINDY-TV 23

Streaming Video: ESPN+ (click for a free 7-day trial)

Radio (Spanish): Exitos Radio 1590 AM 

In-game updates: @IndyElevenLive Twitter feed, presented by Honda

 

Setting the Table:

Indy Eleven: 16W-5L-5D, 53 pts., 2nd in Eastern Conference

Bethlehem Steel FC: 7W-13L-6D, 27 pts., 12th in Eastern Conference

Click here for the full USL Championship standings 

 

First 2019 Meeting:

Bethlehem Steel FC 0 : 3 Indy Eleven | Saturday, April 20

The Boys in Blue put a 3-nil drubbing on Bethlehem Steel FC at Talen Energy Stadium in the first meeting of the 2019 USL Championship season. Two goals within two minutes of each other, scored by defender Neveal Hackshaw in the 26th minute and forward Dane Kelly in the 28th minute, gave the Boys in Blue a first-half lead before midfielder Tyler Pasher added a third 27 minutes into the second half to seal the victory. In addition to the three goals, Indy ‘keeper Evan Newton recorded his second clean sheet of the season.

#BSTvIND:  Highlights  |  Recap  |  Stats 

 

 

Last Time Out:

Indy Eleven  2 : 0  Ottawa Fury FC  | Wednesday, September 11

Indy Eleven extended its home undefeated streak to a record-breaking 22 games after defeating Ottawa Fury FC 2-0 on Wednesday night. A brace from defender Ayoze was enough to see the Boys in Blue victorious, bringing his scoring haul to three on the season. Goalkeeper Evan Newton also recorded his ninth clean sheet of the 2019 campaign, now leading the Eastern Conference with a club total of 12.

#INDvOTT:  Highlights  |  Recap  |  Stats 

 

North Carolina FC 3 : 3 Bethlehem Steel FC  | Saturday, September 7

Bethlehem Steel FC overcame a 3-1 deficit in the second half to secure a point in a six-goal thriller against North Carolina FC last Saturday. After conceding two in the first 20 minutes, Bethlehem was able to pull one goal back via forward Yomi Scintu before giving up the third two minutes into the second half. Captain James Chambers scored Steel FC’s second goal on the hour mark before the equalizer in the 84th minute, courtesy of substitute Shanyder Borgelin, earned a point for Bethlehem.

#NCvBST:  Highlights  |  Recap  |  Stats

 

#INDvBST Storylines

  • The relationship between both sides stretches back only one year after Indy Eleven joined USL Championship in 2018. Indiana’s Team holds a 2W-1L-1D (6GF/3GA) record against Steel FC, winning the first 2019 fixture 3-0 on April 20.
  • After defeating Ottawa Fury FC 2-0 on Wednesday, the Boys in Blue surged to second place on the Eastern Conference place, level on points with first place New York Red Bulls II with 53 points and total league wins, but sits behind on goal differential.
  • Wednesday night against Ottawa Fury FC saw Indy surpass two historic milestones. The Boys in Blue set a new home undefeated streak at 22 games, eclipsing the 21-game ledger set between 2015-17. Indy Eleven’s single-season win record was broken after the club secured its 16th win of 2019 against Fury FC, tipping over the previous 15-game tally set 2016.
  • Pending results in the Eastern Conference, Indy Eleven could potentially secure a playoff berth Saturday evening with a win.
  • Despite being undefeated at home in over a year, the Boys in Blue have yet to defeat Bethlehem Steel FC inside Lucas Oil Stadium, losing 2-1 the inaugural match between clubs on May 19, 2018, and drawing 1-1 at home on October 6, 2018.
  • A win against Bethlehem would see Indy Eleven eclipse its single season points record at 56 points. Indy’s current 55-point record was set in 2016 through the team’s NASL Championship run.
  • Indy has been getting the job done with defense in 2019. Head Coach Martin Rennie’s squad is first in the Eastern Conference for most clean sheets with 12. Indiana’s Team hold the second most clean sheets across the league, trailing only Western Conference heavyweights Phoenix Rising FC by one. However, the Boys in Blue do lead the USL Championship in fewest goals conceded at 19.
  • Bethlehem Steel FC’s James Chambers and Indy’s Paddy Barrett have a bit in common as both players spent time with Waterford FC in the League of Ireland Premier Division. Chambers made 24 appearances when on loan with the club in 2006. Barrett, a native of Waterford, made a total of 32 appearances in three years combined with his hometown club.
  • Former Indy Eleven forward and year-one signee Jose Kleberson is the U12 Academy Head Coach for Bethlehem Steel’s Major League Soccer affiliate, Philadelphia Union. Kleberson, a member of the Brazil national team that won the 2002 World Cup, made 21 appearances for the Boys in Blue between 2014-15, scoring eight goals in that span.

 

Indy Eleven Player to Watch | MF Tyler Pasher

Obviously, Tyler Pasher is a player to watch every game. The Canadian leads the team’s scoring charge with 10 goals and is fourth player in Indy Eleven history to record a double-digit goal tally in a single season. He’s often found tearing down the wings, cutting through the opposition’s back line to find prime attacking opportunities. While he’s been one of the most consistent performing midfielders in the league, Pasher’s showing the first time around against Bethlehem is the reason fans will want to watch him come Saturday night.

The 25-year-old wreaked havoc in the final third of Talen Energy Stadium, generating three of Indy’s five shots on target on April 20. He managed to create chances with darting runs through Steel FC’s defenders, which eventually led to his goal in the 73rd minute. Not to mention his ability to drop back to the top of Bethlehem’s 18-yard box to receive cut back passes, freeing the winger for shots on goal. No matter what run he made or position he dropped into, Pasher was able to find plenty of space to test Bethlehem’s ‘keeper.

 

Bethlehem Steel FC Player to Watch | MF James Chambers

Bethlehem Steel FC midfielder James Chambers might be the one of the oldest members of Steel’s roster, but the 32-year-old has racked up the most appearances for his club with 25 and is tied for the most starts alongside midfielder Issa Rayyan with 21. The difference in age between the two? Thirteen years. Steel FC’s workhorse is the consistent veteran presence that the young squad needs. Chambers embodies what it is to be a complete midfielder.

The Irishmen has displayed longevity and fitness in his ability to start 21 out of 25 matches. He moves the ball well around the pitch, having completed nearly 82% of his passes to help his younger teammates control the tempo of matches, and can score goals with his ability to strike a well-placed free kick. Indy’s back third will need to be cautious of Chambers’ ability to strike from a dead ball scenario.

 

Match-up to Mark | Indy Press vs. Bethlehem Defense

Head Coach Martin Rennie’s love of pressing could prove fruitful against Bethlehem. The Chester, Penn. based team has struggled as of late, producing just five points in its last five matches (1W-2L-2D), scoring seven goals and conceding nine along the way. Check the tapes and one will notice that a bit of pressing often forces Bethlehem into giving up the ball in dangerous areas.                                                                

For example, North Carolina’s third goal in its 3-3 draw with Bethlehem last Saturday came from NCFC forward Rober Kristo earned a spot on the scoreboard by pressing higher up the pitch. The play forced Bethlehem center back Steve Kingue to lose possession, followed by a quick one-on-one that lead to a goal. As Kristo pressed, NCFC players stepped up to neutralize Kingue’s passing options. Poor foot skills from the Bethlehem center back under pressure resulted in the turnover, a tactic that could easily be deployed via Indy’s Dane Kelly and Pasher.

In the 3-0 road loss against Saint Louis FC, the Mississippi side scored their second of three goals after pressing Bethlehem’s defending third. Bethlehem’s back line let off slightly after losing possession and gave midfielder Lewis Hilton just enough space to rip a shot off from distance, rebounding off the crossbar and into the net. If Indy chooses to press high, take away Bethlehem’s passing outlets, and retain strong possession in the opposing team’s half, goal scoring opportunities should be plentiful.

Indiana’s Team will return to Lucas Oil Stadium this Saturday, Sept. 14, against Bethlehem Steel FC for its annual Hispanic Heritage Night, presented by Financial Center First Credit Union, which will be preceded by La Plaza’s annual Fiesta Celebration on Georgia Street throughout the afternoon. Kickoff for the contest is set for 7:00 p.m., and tickets remain available for as little as $15 at indyeleven.com/tickets or by calling 317-685-1100.

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