Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven vs. Atlanta United 2 - #INDvATL
Saturday, June 9, 2018 – 7 P.M. EST
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana
Indy Eleven take on Atlanta United 2 in a Week 13 matchup at Lucas Oil Stadium this Saturday, June 9 at 7:00 p.m. The meeting between the two teams will be the first time the sides have faced each other.
The “Boys in Blue” enter Week 13 in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with a 4W-4L-3D record (15 points). The aim is three points at home after a 3-3 draw with Charleston Battery in the previous match in Week 12. A six-goal thriller saw “Indiana’s Team” find the back of the net three times from set pieces. In the 43rd minute, forward Soony Saad scored a free kick from nearly 40 yards out that brought his goal haul to four on the season. Saad is tied with defender Ayoze, who found the back of the net twice in the match against the Battery, for most goals scored in 2018. Ayoze converted a penalty in the 86th minute to bring the game level at 2-2. Seven minutes later, the Spaniard smashed home a free kick from just outside Charleston’s box. Despite the late goal that appeared to seal the win, the Battery drew level a minute later.
Atlanta United 2 sit in 15th place with a 2W-6L-4D record (10 points), after a Week 12 matchup with Tampa Bay Rowdies finished 0-0. Two red cards were handed out during the first half. Atlanta United 2 defender Will Crain was brandished the first after receiving a second yellow in the 40th minute. The second was to Rowdies midfielder Marcel Schafer four minutes later. Atlanta goalkeeper Paul Christensen helped Atlanta to the draw making four saves on five shots on target. He also earned his first clean sheet of the season against Tampa Bay. Forward Jon Gallagher currently leads the team in scoring, with five goals. The Dundalk, Republic of Ireland native is tied for third most goals in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta United 2 will be making the trip to Indianapolis for the first time ever. The visitors are seeking their first victory against the “Boys in Blue” and on the road in 2018 on Saturday night.
Few defenders are able to impact a game the way Indy Eleven outside backs have. At the beginning of Indy Eleven’s inaugural USL season, defender Tyler Pasher’s creative abilities gave opposition defenses trouble. Now, it’s defender Ayoze who’s keeping opposition goalkeepers awake at night.
The Spanish outside back found the back of the net twice in Indy Eleven’s match against Charleston Battery. Ayoze scored the equalizer on a penalty in the 86th minute and handed the “Boys in Blue” the lead with a world class free kick minutes later in stoppage time. He has now scored four times in nine appearances and is tied for most goals scored on the team with four.
A shining light, in a season that can so far be compared to a dark tunnel for Atlanta United 2, can be found in Jon Gallagher. The 22-year old forward has been a threat in front of goal for the Georgia-based team. He currently leads the squad in goals scored with five in 11 appearances.
This season is Gallagher’s first as a professional after being drafted out of Notre Dame with the 14th overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft by Atlanta United. He was then loaned to Atlanta United 2. Before his time with Atlanta, he trialed with European sides Juventus, Marseille, Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers. During his time at Notre Dame he scored 39 goals and recorded 15 assists in 84 appearances, and collected All-Atlantic Conference honors all four years of his collegiate career.
One strength of Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie’s squad in 2018 is the level of professional experience his squad possesses. The average age of the starting XI that took the pitch in Week 12 against Charleston Battery was 29-years old.
For the most part, with the exception of Nico Matern , the players that lined up for the pregame photograph last match have been the starters as of late for Rennie. A staunch defense is led by 31-year old, Welsh goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams, 30-year old Carlyle Mitchell, and 32-year old Ayoze. In addition to the veteran leadership, Rennie includes 25-year old, athletic defender Karl Ouimette. The seasoned defense averages just over one goal a game and has Fon Williams one clean sheet away from being tied in the Eastern Conference for most clean sheets.
It will be up to a youthful Atlanta United 2 side to try and break down the veteran Eleven defense. The average age of the players fielded against Tampa Bay Rowdies, Atlanta United 2’s Week 12 opponent, was 22-years old. Two teenage midfielders have been vital to Atlanta’s offense. Atlanta United 2 midfielder Chris Goslin has moved the ball well through the midfield. The 18-year old has completed over four-fifths of his nearly 270 passes on the season. Fellow midfielder Laurent Kissiedou played excellently in the midfield as well. The 19-year old has completed three-fourths of his passes this season and slotted home two goals.
Yet maybe the next potential up and coming star to face the most pressure is forward Jon Gallagher. The 22-year old Irishman is in his first season with the team and currently leads the team in scoring. It will be up to him and fellow striking partner Yosef Samuel, 20, to beat veteran Indy goaltender Fon Williams.
Don't miss any of the action at Lucas Oil Stadium. Fans can get tickets to this Saturday's 7:00 p.m. match-up starting at just $15 at IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling (317)685-1100.