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MATCH PREVIEW | INDY ELEVEN HEADS TO NASHVILLE SC FOR USL CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFFS EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL ROUND

By IndyEleven.com, 10/31/19, 5:15PM EDT

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Boys In Blue Aim for First Postseason Away Win

#NSHvIND Gameday Preview
Indy Eleven (#3) at Nashville SC (#2)

USL Championship Playoffs |  Eastern Conference Semifinals
Saturday, November 2, 2019 – 8:00 P.M. ET
First Tennessee Park  |  Nashville, Tenn. 

Follow Live:

Local/National TV: MyINDY-TV 23

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

Radio (Spanish): N/A

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

 

Regular Season Records:

Indy Eleven: 19W-9L-6D, 63 pts., 3rd in Eastern Conference

Nashville SC: 20W-7L-7D, 67 pts., 2nd in Eastern Conference

Click here for the full USL Championship standings 

 

2019 Meetings:

Indy Eleven 0 : 0 Nashville SC | Saturday, May 25

A nil-nil draw within the walls of Lucas Oil Stadium was the end result of the first 2019 USL regular season matchup on May 25. Along with dominating possession nearly 60-40 and outshooting Nashville 12-8, the Boys in Blue nabbed their fifth clean sheet in as many games from the third all-time meeting between the two sides.

#INDvNSH:  Highlights  |  Recap  |  Stats 

 

Nashville SC 2 : 0 Indy Eleven | Saturday, July 27

A pair of first-half goals were enough to hand Indy Eleven its first-ever defeat against Nashville SC. Indy nearly took an early lead through the foot of forward Alioune Diakhate, but recently-crowned 2019 USL Championship Golden Glove winner Matt Pickens made the crucial save that kept Indiana’s Team off the scoreboard. It wasn’t long before Nashville’s Daniel Rios and Alan Winn made their mark on the evening, scoring the game’s only goals in the 24th and 42nd minutes, respectively. Before the defeat, the Boys in Blue held an all-time record of 2W-0L-1D and a +3 goal differential against their Music City foes.

#NSHvIND:  Highlights  |  Recap  |  Stats 

 

Last Time Out:

Indy Eleven (#3)  1 : 0  New York Red Bulls II (#6)  | Saturday, October 26

Indy Eleven recorded its first USL Championship Playoffs win, and first postseason victory since November 5, 2016, after defeating New York 1-nil on a gusty night at Michael A. Carroll Stadium. The return to “The Mike” featured a stunning volley from defender Karl Ouimette in the 27th minute, which proved enough to advance out of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal round. Goalkeeper Jordan Farr recorded his fourth clean sheet of 2019 in his postseason debut, which helped extend Indy’s home unbeaten home streak in all competitions to 27 games.

#INDvNY:  Highlights  |  Recap  |  Stats 

 

Nashville SC (#2) 3 : 1 Charleston Battery (#9)  | Saturday, October 26

A trio of goals, two in the first half and one in the second, saw Nashville advance to the 2019 USL Championship Eastern Conference semifinals after topping Charleston Battery last Saturday. Nashville gained the lead out of the gate courtesy of midfielder Lebo Meloto’s goal in the ninth minute, only to see Charleston draw level from the spot 26 minutes later. Goals from Nashville’s leading goal scorer in Daniel Rios and substitute Derrick Jones extinguished hopes of a late-game comeback from Charleston, pushing the Music City side into the Final 8.

#NSHvCHS:  Highlights  |  Recap  |  Stats

 

#NSHvIND Storylines

  • The all-time series between Indy Eleven and Nashville SC lies in the Eleven’s favor at 2W-1L-1D, with Indy possessing a +1 goal differential (4 GF; 3 GA).
  • Saturday night’s USL Championship Eastern Conference Semifinal fixture marked the furthest the Boys in Blue have advanced in the postseason since joining the league last season. The victory over Red Bulls II was the second postseason win in Indy Eleven history, with both triumphs coming at Michael A. Carroll Stadium, the team’s original home venue from 2014-17.
  • During its USL Championship debut season in 2018, Indiana’s Team qualified for the postseason but couldn’t advance out of its playoff opener, falling 4-1 at eventual defending champion Louisville City FC in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
  • Indy Eleven has yet to win a playoff game on the road in two attempts. The first such match came in the NASL Soccer Bowl in 2016 when the Boys in Blue lost 4-2 on penalties to NASL rivals New York Cosmos after a scoreless draw, followed by the aforementioned match at Louisville last season.
  • #NSHvIND has the potential to be a tight battle, as it will feature the two best defenses in the USL Championship. Indy Eleven finished the regular season with 29 goals allowed, trailing only Nashville SC’s league low of 26 goals. Nashville also finished second in the league in the clean sheet category after recording 16 in 34 games, only two more than fourth-place Indy Eleven.
  • The Boys in Blue didn’t give up more than one goal during any of its five games in October. Meanwhile, Nashville’s impressive defensive effort has doubled that stretch.  The last time the Tennessee-based club conceded more than twice came all the way back on August 21, in a 2-1 defeat to New York Red Bulls II.
  • Nashville SC ‘keeper Matt Pickens recently took home the 2019 USL Championship Golden Glove award after recording a league-low 0.64 goals against average and finishing T-1st in the USL Championship for most clean sheets recorded (14). He is no stranger to facing the Boys in Blue, holding a 2W-1L-6D record against Indy Eleven in nine games across stints with Nashville (1W-2L-1D) and the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
  • Indy ‘keeper Jordan Farr enters the playoffs in good form as well. The 25-year-old has recorded two clean sheets in his last five appearances, allowing just two goals along the way. He’s made 10 total appearances in 2019, recording four clean sheets and allowing just as many goals.
  • Nashville SC’s Ramone Howell spent four years in the Hoosier State playing at Valparaiso University, where he made 67 appearances and scored seven goals for the Crusaders. He’s made one appearance for Nashville playing a total of one minute for the club.
  • Nashville fullback Justin Davis is no stranger to Indy Eleven, having faced the side 10 times with Minnesota United from 2014-2016 and twice in 2018 with Nashville SC. He’s recorded 22 starts in 27 appearances in 2019 for the Blue and Gold, recording the second most assists for the club (6).
  • Davis’ fellow wing back Darnell King faced the Boys in Blue a total of nine times while playing for Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Tampa Bay Rowdies from 2014-2016. He’s made 20 starts in 22 appearances for the Music City side throughout the 2019 campaign.

 

Indy Eleven Player to Watch | DF Neveal Hackshaw

There’s an age-old saying that claims defense wins championships. If true, Indy Eleven is in good shape after racking up the best defensive year in club history and allowing the second fewest goals in the USL Championship with 29 goals allowed. One of the most integral parts of the Boys in Blue defense lies in left-sided cog Neveal Hackshaw.

Despite being only 24-years old, the Trinidad & Tobago international plays with the mentality of a veteran defender. Hackshaw can typically be found lining up on the left side of Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie’s 3-back system, a position that well suits his defensive astuteness and creativity on the ball. He displayed his strength and intelligence last weekend against Red Bulls II, repeatedly using his frame to shield attackers off the ball, allowing Indy to keep shots to a minimum and control the flow of the game for much of the match. Hackshaw also showcased his ability to play out of the back and to release teammate Ayoze while shoring up the left flank, and doing so again on Saturday will allow the Spaniard to push forward into more attacking opportunities, which Indy will need to create chances against the stingy Nashville defense.

 

Nashville SC Player to Watch | GK Matt Pickens

Indy Eleven has yet to score on 2019 USL Championship Golden Glove winner Matt Pickens this season, with the MLS, USL Championship & NASL veteran recording eight saves split evenly amongst the two regular season fixtures.

Pickens has the luxury of being able to rely on a stifling defense, as well – but don’t discount the 37-year-old’s role in organizing the unit in front of him. His side is the only team in USL Championship that allowed less goals than Indy, finishing 2019 with 27 concessions. Pickens isn’t tested often, as shown against Charleston Battery where he didn’t have to make a single save in the run of play and saw his only shot faced come from the penalty spot. However, the Golden Glove recipient can step up to the occasion when necessary, as he made 63 saves on 80 shots faced this season.

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