Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven vs FC Cincinnati - #INDvCIN
Wednesday, May 2, 2018 – 7 P.M. EST
Lucas Oil Stadium—Indianapolis, IN
Indy Eleven now sit at 7th place in the East after a draw against Charlotte Independence in Week Seven. The “Boys in Blue” are one point behind FC Cincinnati, who return to Lucas Oil Stadium for the second time this season. Cincinnati claimed three points in Indy Eleven’s home opener on March 31 after “Indiana’s Team” fell 0-1.
Indy Eleven remain undefeated on the road this season after they drew in Charlotte. Neither Charlotte Independence nor the “Boys in Blue” managed to find the back of the net in the 90 minute contest as the game finished 0-0.
The best chance of the game for Indy Eleven came from another Soony Saad shot that dipped and swerved, similar to his shot that landed him in ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10. The shot in the 62nd minute nearly caught Charlotte Independence goalkeeper Brandon Miller out as the ball swerved to the left and then back to the middle of the goal. Independence midfielder Jorge Herrera nearly broke the deadlock for Charlotte 10 minutes later after he connected with a square pass from the right side of Indy’s box, but his effort rattled Owain Fon Williams’ crossbar and stayed out.
FC Cincinnati defeated Ottawa Fury FC, 3-0, in Week Seven play. The victory has Indy Eleven’s cross-state rivals at fifth in the Eastern Conference. The win against Ottawa is Cincinnati’s first in three games.
FC Cincinnati midfielder Kenney Walker’s beautiful volley from just inside Ottawa’s defending half opened the scoring. The nearly 60-yard attempt found its way over Ottawa goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau. One minute later, FC Cincinnati midfielder Corben Bone headed home a cross into the bottom left corner that gave Cincinnati a 2-0 cushion. Forward Emmanuel Ledesma sealed the win after Crepeau had another shot lofted over his head into the back of the net.
Tyler Pasher caused trouble for FC Cincinnati on the wings in the first game between the two teams in Week Three. In Week Eight, expect Nathan Lewis to be a force on the right wing against FC Cincinnati. The Trinidad & Tobago International’s speed on the wing, and ability to cut inside and take on defenders gave Charlotte Independence trouble all night last Saturday.
The midfielder completed all but three of his passes played against Charlotte. If he starts on Wednesday, it will be his first appearance against FC Cincinnati. Lewis remained on the bench in the first fixture, but has been a mainstay the last few weeks in Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie’s starting XI. Lewis signed on with the “Boys in Blue” in February from Trinidadian side Central FC. He has made three starts and boasts nearly 90 percent passing accuracy.
Midfielder Kenney Walker scored a goal for the ages in FC Cincinnati’s match against Ottawa Fury FC. The University of Louisville alumni tucked home nearly a 60-yard volley in FC Cincinnati’s 3-0 win against the Canadian side. The 38th pick in the 2012 MLS Super Draft scored on his only shot of the game with the volley that will haunt Ottawa Fury FC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau for weeks to come.
Walker exited the first fixture against Indy Eleven in the 17th minute due to injury. The midfielder was only able to play three passes before being forced to leave the game. Walker wouldn’t make an appearance again until Week Six, when he came on as a 70th minute substitute against Pittsburgh Riverhounds, scoring the game tying goal in the8 minutes later. The former LA Galaxy player has scored two goals in four appearances for the “Orange and Blue” so far this season.
Soony Saad’s swerving shots have been giving goalkeepers nightmares as of late. Three weeks ago, Saad struck a free kick that froze Nashville SC goalkeeper Matt Pickens in Indy’s first home win. Saad almost found the back of the net in similar fashion against Charlotte Independence, except this time it was from the run of play instead of a spot kick.
Saad created two chances on the road against the Independence. One of those chances was his only shot of the game, the shot that caused Independence goalkeeper Brandon Miller just as much trouble as the strike against Pickens did. Miller was barely able to get a touch on the shot that narrowly went over the bar.
Saad is going up against FC Cincinnati defender Forrest Lasso. The former Charleston Battery defender had a strong outing in the first fixture against Indy Eleven. Lasso recorded seven clearances against the “Boys in Blue” and also a tallied a pair of interceptions and tackles. The defender continued his good form against Ottawa with four clearances and three tackles during his 90-minute outing.
It will be Lasso’s job to contain Soony Saad and keep him from finding space to strike one of the sweet shots Saad is capable of. The Raleigh, North Carolina native has started all six games for FC Cincinnati in his first year with the team playing all 540 minutes possible. His defensive prowess in the air has helped FC Cincinnati to three clean sheets this season.
Wednesday marks the first of two games this week. This Saturday, the "Boys in Blue" welcome new regional rivals and defending USL champions Louisville City FC to Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time in 2018. Fans can get tickets to both Rivalry Week games at a significant discount by visiting www.IndyEleven.com/two-pack or by calling (317)685-1100.