Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven at Charlotte Independence - #CLTvIND
Saturday, April 28, 2018 – 7:00 P.M. EST
Sportsplex at Matthews—Matthews, NC
Indy Eleven enter Week Seven play on the road against Charlotte Independence after coming off a much Indy Eleven enter Week Seven on the road against Charlotte Independence after coming off a much needed break in Week Six. The “Boys in Blue” aim to secure their third straight road win in as many games against former “Boys in Blue” Eamon Zayed.
“Indiana’s Team” spent Week Six on the training ground and in the physio room as the squad worked to get back to full fitness after defeating Nashville SC, 2-1, in Week Five. Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie has made adjustments to the starting squad nearly every game throughout his team’s first four fixtures due to absences for varying reasons. Getting back to full fitness is crucial for Indy Eleven’s success in the next two weeks. The “Boys in Blue” will play three games in a week’s time. The first of Indy’s matches will take place on the road in Charlotte this Saturday. Then, Indy Eleven welcomes back FC Cincinnati to the Circle City on Wednesday, May 2. And just three days later, defending USL champions Louisville City FC will travel to Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, May 5.
Like Indy Eleven, Charlotte Independence also enters Week Seven coming off a bye in Week Six. The Independence fell at home to North Carolina FC, 2-0, in their Week Five matchup. Charlotte has only claimed one point from their last three matches, putting them in 9th place in the Eastern Conference with seven points. The home team has conceded six goals and found the back of the net twice in that span. Charlotte Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries’ side had only given up one goal before the last three games. Charlotte forward, and former “Boys in Blue”, Eamon Zayed is aiming to find the back of the net against his former side in hopes of helping the Independence collect three points for the first time in three games.
Charlotte is attempting to claim their first win in the month of April in front of their home crowd on Saturday. Indy Eleven are targeting another three points on the road in hopes of climbing the top four. Expect the game to be of high intensity as both teams come off a bye week.
Midfielder Brad Ring will be one step closer to his 100th appearance for the “Boys in Blue” if he makes an appearance on Saturday against Charlotte Independence. He will be four appearances short of catching Don Smart, the current record holder for most appearances for Indy Eleven with 101. Ring is the current minutes leader for the “Boys in Blue” at 6,984, overtaking former teammate Marco Franco’s record of 6,902 minutes.
Ring has played a more defensive role throughout in the start of Indy Eleven’s first season in the USL. The natural midfielder moved back to a defensive role after defender Reneir Ferreira sustained an injury in the home opener against FC Cincinnati. The man known as “The Legend” by the Brickyard Battalion has found the back of the net four times during his five year tenure with “Indiana’s Team”. Ring has made four appearances this season, two of which were starts, and accumulated 234 minutes so far this season.
Indy Eleven’s backline is going up against its all-time leading goal scorer in Eamon Zayed on Saturday at Charlotte. Last time out, Zayed made his first appearance as a substitute for the Independence since signing for the North Carolinian team in March. Zayed is fifth all time in appearances for the “Boys in Blue” with 63 total.
Zayed joins the Independence after leading Indy Eleven in goals scored during in 2016 and 2017 with 15 and 11 respectively. Zayed’s contribution in front of goal aided Indy Eleven’s successful run to the 2016 NASL Spring Championship, guaranteeing the “Boys in Blue” a spot in the playoffs.
Indy Eleven’s backline will have to keep a close eye on Charlotte Independence’s leading goal scorer Jorge Herrera this Saturday.
Herrera put pen to paper in December 2014, becoming Charlotte’s first ever signing ahead of the USL debut. Since then, the veteran midfielder has made 81 appearances for his club and scored 27 goals. The Bogota, Columbia native has accounted for half of Charlotte’s goals in the 2018 campaign, scoring four of the team’s eight goals this season.
On top of finding the back of the net, Herrera is the “midfield maestro” for Charlotte Independence, completing just over 80 percent of his total passes. He’s also created 12 chances for his teammates in his five starts this season, during which the 37-year-old midfielder has totaled 450 minutes.
Karl Ouimette will be one of the Indy Eleven defenders tasked with subduing the crafty midfielder. Ouimette has made three appearances in 2018 for the “Boys in Blue” since signing in February, playing all but one minute during his time on the pitch.
The Canadian International performed well during his three starts for “Indiana’s Team” winning over half of his tackles and shutting down the opposition’s ball movement with 12 interceptions. The strong defender is extremely reactive and quick to the ball helping Indy Eleven frequently win 50-50 challenges.
Ouimette will need to continue to read the run of play in order to take away Herrera’s passing lanes. Disrupting Herrera’s ability to move the ball in Indy’s defensive third is vital to slowing down Charlotte’s attack. Look for Ouimette to be attached to Herrera’s hip to keep him from testing Indy Eleven goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams.
The "Boys in Blue" will return home for two back-to-back matches this week. Indy Eleven welcomes back FC Cincinnati to Lucas Oil Stadium on Wednesday, May 2 at 7:00 p.m. Just three days later, the defending USL champs Louisville City FC will travel to the Circle City for the first time in 2018 on Saturday, May 5 at 12:00 p.m. Fans can grab tickets to both matches at a discounted rate by taking advantage of our Rivalry Week Two-Pack.
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