Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven @ Toronto FC II - #TORvIND
Saturday, June 16, 2018 – 7 P.M. EST
Marina Auto Stadium – Rochester, New York
Indy Eleven look to improve their 2W-1L-2D record on the road this weekend against Toronto FC II. The “Boys in Blue” are attempting to win their second game in a row, something the team has not done since the Week Four and Five victories.
Indy Eleven (5W-4L-3D) currently sit at 10th in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. The “Boys in Blue” are three points off of third place, chasing Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC with 21 points. In their last outing, “Indiana’s Team” defeated 15th place Atlanta United 2, 2-0, which ended a four game winless skid. Goals from Indy Eleven midfielder Matt Watson and defender Carlyle Mitchel handed Indy the victory. The two goals were also the first of the season for each player. Indy Eleven goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams recorded his sixth clean sheet for “Indiana’s Team”, which ties Fon Williams for most clean sheets in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto FC II (0W-11L-2D) currently sit at last place in the Eastern Conference with two points. The home team will attempt to get their first points since its draw with New York Red Bulls II on April 28. Toronto FC II nearly secured a point against Penn FC in their previous match in Week 13. The game was level at two when Toronto defender Robert Boskovic committed a hand ball in the Toronto 18-yard box resulting in a penalty for Penn FC. Penn substitute Jerry Ortiz scored the penalty and dashed hopes of a point for Toronto. The loss is now their seventh in a row and first under newly appointed head coach Michael Rabasca.
Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie will aim to continue the attacking performance and defensive dominance displayed last weekend against a Toronto FC II team that has conceded the most goals, and scored the least, in the Eastern Conference. Rennie will rely on captain Matt Watson to keep his squad focused going into the Week 14 fixture.
“You don’t underestimate anyone,” Watson said. “If we work hard, as hard as them or harder, then our talent will shine through.”
Indy Eleven forward Eugene Starikov returned to the pitch in last week’s matchup with Atlanta United. The reappearance of the forward, his first since Week Three, bodes well for Martin Rennie’s lineup. Starikov’s ability to return to action is timed perfectly, as teammate and forward Jack McInerney serves the second of his two-game suspension against Toronto FC II.
Starikov adds pace and flexibility to Indy Eleven’s offense, with the ability to bounce between forward and midfield. Last season with NASL’s New York Cosmos, he made 25 appearances for the club and found the back of the net four times.
What Toronto FC II midfielder Lucca Uccello lacks in size, he makes up for in talent on the ball. The 5-foot-5-inch midfielder has been a positive light in a dark tunnel for Toronto FC II. He has started 9 out of12 games for the Canadian side. Despite his youth, the 20-year old midfielder has moved the ball well this season and averaged just over 80 percent passing accuracy.
The Canadian born midfielder has been a threat in front of goal, having found the back of the net twice in 12 appearances. In addition to scoring goals, he can create them for his teammates as well. Uccello has tallied one assist so far this season and created 10 chances.
Indy Eleven’s offense seems to be catching stride at the right time. In the last three games the “Boys in Blue” have found the back of the net six times. The team has also found the back of the net using various methods, keeping opposition defenses from being able to contain one aspect of the team’s offense. They’ve found the back of the net once from a penalty, once from a corner kick, twice from direct free kicks and twice from the run of play.
Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie’s compact press has led to effective counter attacking play. The aim is to apply pressure in the midfield and attacking third taking away opponents time on the ball and forcing sloppy passes that lead to turnovers and goal scoring chances. The tactics proved fruitful as they led to midfielder Matt Watson’s first goal against Atlanta United 2.
“I think we’ve always been better on the front foot as opposed to letting them have good possession around the half way line,” Watson said. “I think we’re always better when we win the ball high.”
Toronto FC II will have to be weary of the counter attack deployed by Indy Eleven. During the 2018 season, Toronto has averaged a completion percentage of three-quarters of their passes per game. They also average 86 percent completion in their own half.
The high pressure may be amped up against Toronto FC II, as the Canadian side has given up 10 goals in the last three games. Toronto has given up the most goals (30) in the Eastern Conference through the 2018 campaign.
The “Boys in Blue” will aim for another three points and a chance at third place as Indy Eleven's offense continues to pick up steam.
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no local/ESPN+ live stream available for this match. Be sure to follow @IndyEleven and @IndyElevenLive on Twitter for live updates at the "Boys in Blue" kickoff against Toronto FC II at 7:00 p.m. in Rochester, New York.
Catch "Indiana's Team" when it returns to Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, June 30 at 7:00 p.m. for Pride Night against Penn FC. Fans can get their tickets starting at $15 at IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling (317)685-1100.