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MATCH PREVIEW | INDY ELEVEN HEADS SOUTH TO FACE BIRMINGHAM LEGION FC

By IndyEleven.com, 09/19/19, 2:00PM EDT

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Boys In Blue Seek Top Spot in the East

#BHMvIND Gameday Preview
Indy Eleven at Birmingham Legion
Friday, September 20, 2019 – 8:00 P.M. ET
BBVA Compas Field  |  Birmingham, Ala.

 

Follow Live:

Local/National TV: N/A

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

Radio (Spanish): N/A

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

 

Setting the Table:

Indy Eleven: 17W-5L-5D, 56 pts., 2nd in Eastern Conference

Birmingham Legion FC: 10W-12L-6D, 36 pts., 10th in Eastern Conference

Click here for the full USL Championship standings 

 

First 2019 Meeting:

Indy Eleven 3 : 0 Birmingham Legion FC | Wednesday, June 26

The Boys in Blue claimed three points from a 3-0 victory over Birmingham Legion FC in the first meeting between the sides at Lucas Oil Stadium. Goals by midfielder Tyler Pasher, an own goal from Birmingham’s Mathieu Laurent, and former Boys in Blue striker Thomas Enevoldsen sent the Legion home with an L. Indiana’s Team also collected its ninth clean sheet of the 2019 campaign. 

#INDvBHM:  Highlights  |  Recap  |  Stats 

 

Last Time Out:

Indy Eleven  2 : 1  Bethlehem Steel FC  |  Wednesday, September 4

Late game theatrics once again helped the Boys in Blue secure three points at home after defeating Bethlehem Steel FC 2-1 last Saturday. Goals from forwards Ilija Ilic, the Serbian’s second of this season, in the 57th minute and Dane Kelly, the Jamaican’s seventh, in the 80th minute pushed Indy to victory. The win also clinched Indy’s USL Championship playoff berth and tallied the club’s new single-season points record (56 pts.) with seven regular season games remaining.    

#INDvBST:  Highlights  |  Recap  |  Stats 

 

Nashville SC 1 : 0 Birmingham Legion FC  |  Tuesday, September 17

Birmingham Legion FC recorded their second consecutive loss after an own goal by defender Akeem Ward in the 93rd minute saw Nashville take all three points from the match. The loss is the second game in a row Birmingham have been shut out since putting five goals past Atlanta United FC 2 two weeks ago, a troubling sign as they prepare to face the best defense in the league in their next fixture.

#NSHvBHM:  Highlights  |  Recap  |  Stats

 

#BHMvIND Storylines

  • Indy defeated Birmingham Legion 3-0 in their first ever meeting on June 26 courtesy of goals from Tyler Pasher, an own goal from Birmingham’s Mathieu Laurent, and former Boys in Blue striker Thomas Enevoldsen.
  • The Boys in Blue clinched their spot in the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs last Saturday after defeating Bethlehem Steel FC 3-0. It is the first time in club history that Indy has gone to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, with both berths coming under Head Coach Martin Rennie.
  • The victory over Bethlehem also extended the Indy’s undefeated streak at home, lengthening the run to 23 games dating back to July 7 of last year.
  • A couple other club milestones have been met under Coach Rennie. The club broke the former single-season win record (15) and points record (55 pts), both of which were set during the 2016 season. Currently, the Boys in Blue have 17 wins and 56 points with seven regular season games remaining.
  • Defense continues to spur Indiana’s Team to victory. The Boys in Blue have the best defense in the Championship, allowing a league-low 20 goals, only five of which have been on home turf. Rennie’s squad is tied first in the Eastern Conference and second across the league for most clean sheets with 12, trailing only Western Conference club Phoenix Rising FC (14).
  • The Alabama-based side is coached by Tom Soehn, who was doubling as the Head Coach and Director of Soccer Operations of Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2011 before handing over the coaching duties to an up-and-comer (at the time) by the name of Martin Rennie.
  • Birmingham Legion FC forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen hails from the Hoosier state after spending 2012-15 playing for Indiana University, where he made 88 appearances and scored 22 goals throughout his collegiate career. He’s made 17 appearances for Birmingham in the 2019 campaign.
  • Birmingham, Alabama native and forward Chandler Hoffman signed for his hometown team this past off-season after spending the last seven years with various MLS and USL Championship squads. He made 17 appearances and scored four goals for Birmingham before picking up a season-ending knee injury on July 13.

 

Indy Eleven Player to Watch | Forward Ilija Ilic

Now that he’s healthy, Indy’s Ilija Ilic starting to be as dangerous as he was in 2018. The Serbian missed the front half of the season rehabbing a groin injury, but since returning, he’s started seven matches of Indy’s eleven played and appeared in 10. Ilic is making the most of his return, having scored a goal and tallied two assists in his last four appearances.

Ilic displayed his class for fans in the fixture against Bethlehem Steel FC, opening the scoring after miraculously bringing down a ball played well over his head with his foot. After the impressive aerial touch, the 28-year-old struck a one-time half volley into the roof of the net. Ilic’s touch and creativity are what make the forward difficult to contain, adding a threatening edge to Indy’s attacking power.

 

Birmingham Legion FC Player to Watch | Forward Prosper Kasim

One of the luxuries of being young is the ability to put in multiple 90-minute shifts with minimal recovery time in between. This has been the case throughout the season for forward Prosper Kasim. The 22-year-old has played the most minutes of anyone on the Legion roster, starting 26 of the 27 matches he’s appeared in and being subbed off 10 times.

The Ghanaian is also the team’s joint leading goal scorer, tied with J.J. Williams, with six goals scored in Birmingham’s inaugural season. He also acts as a creator, playing a team-high 44 key passes to his teammates, 12 more than the next in line. If that wasn’t enough, he’s a smooth operator on the ball, completing 82% of his passes.  

 

Indiana’s Team will hit the road to Alabama to take on Birmingham Legion FC this Friday, September 20. The first match in a three-game, nine-day road trip kicks off at BBVA Field at 8:00 p.m. Catch all the action as it happens via ESPN+ or by following the Indy Eleven Twitter feed, presented by Honda.

Indy Eleven returns to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on Memphis 901 FC on Saturday, October 5 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets to the match are available for as low as $15 at IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling 317-685-1100.

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