#INDvBST Gameday Preview
Indy Eleven vs. Bethlehem Steel FC
Saturday, September 14, 2019 – 7:00 P.M. ET
Lucas Oil Stadium | Indianapolis, Ind.
Local/National TV: MyINDY-TV 23
Radio (Spanish): Exitos Radio 1590 AM
In-game updates: @IndyElevenLive Twitter feed, presented by Honda
Indy Eleven: 16W-5L-5D, 53 pts., 2nd in Eastern Conference
Bethlehem Steel FC: 7W-13L-6D, 27 pts., 12th in Eastern Conference
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.