Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven at Butler University - 4:25 PM
Friday, February 24, 2017
Carroll Stadium - Indianapolis, IN
One Game at a Time
While head coach Tim Hankinson is thrilled to have his side out for the first game of the 2017 preseason, he also recognizes the scope of such a game. After only nine days of work as a unit, Indy Eleven makes their first "road trip" of the season - albeit a short one - to the Butler Bowl to face Butler University on their home turf.
The game provides the "Boys in Blue" a chance to further familiarize themselves with Hankinson's coaching concepts, an important note despite having 13 players returning from the 2016 season. Mixing in new signings Ben Speas, Craig Henderson, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, and a few of the players currently on trial will be the first obstacle for Hankinson as he juggles between his first and second units.
Who to Watch, Indy Eleven edition: FW Justin Braun
Forward Justin Braun spent nearly all of the offseason between the 2016 and 2017 seasons preparing. Preparing for life forward with his (now) wife, preparing for his future after earning his college degree, and near the top of that list was preparing his body for the long season ahead.
"It's good. During the preseason it's always fun to get games, especially that first one. It's nice to get on the field as a group and see where we're at, where we need to go and improve, and what else we have to work on the rest of the preseason," he said. "The big thing for me is just keeping my fitness level up and working on sharpness. Hopefully, we can get some good combinations going forward and get something going."
Likely to see at least 45 minutes of playing time, Braun is eager to get back to work with his strike partner Eamon Zayed while also linking up with new pieces in the midfield in Ben Speas and Craig Henderson. Tomorrow is the first opportunity to build momentum for the coming season, and after earning top marks in the preseason fitness test, the forward is once again ready to test his abilities.
Who to Watch, Butler University edition: FW Isaac Galliford
Forward Isaac Galliford helped run the show for the Bulldogs last year, chipping in four goals and six assists in 19 appearances as a freshman. The Luton, England native will likely lead the line once more after senior forward David Goldsmith, who is on trial with Indy Eleven, graduated from the university. Goldsmith earned the 2016 Big East Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, leaving big boots to fill for his fellow countryman in Galliford.
Match-up to Mark: DF Lovel Palmer & Kwame Watson-Siriboe vs. Butler FWs
Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Lovel Palmer were familiar with each other before their paths intersected in Indianapolis but with captain and center back Colin Falvey out of commission due to his minor surgery, the two have formed a strong partnership ahead of their first game in 2017.
Palmer, who traded time at right-back with defender Marco Franco last year, will be called upon to command the defense in a central role, while Watson-Siriboe - a more natural centre-half - will line up next to the Jamaican for his first "start" in an Indy Eleven uniform. After working closely on defensive concepts throughout the last week-and-a-half, the pair will be put to the test against the Bulldogs' front line.