Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven vs. Penn FC - #INDvPEN
Saturday, June 30, 2018 – 7 P.M. EST
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana
Indy Eleven entertain Penn FC at home in their second fixture of Week 16 play. The “Boys in Blue” aim to capture their fourth victory in a row as they attempt to defeat the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania based team.
Indy Eleven (7W-4L-3D) defeated Nashville SC, 2-0, in their first of two Week 16 fixtures. The “Boys in Blue” also handed Nashville their first home loss of the season. In the 16th minute, defender Karl Ouimette headed home defender Ayoze’s corner kick into the middle. Indy Eleven forward Justin Braun beat Nashville goalkeeper Matt Pickens in the 35th minute with an angled shot that skid underneath the veteran goaltender. Braun’s goal last Saturday was his third in a two-match span after being sidelined by injury late in the 2017 season. Indy goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams recorded his seventh clean sheet, which tied him for first in the USL for most clean sheets. The “Boys in Blue” now sit in fourth place with 24 points.
Penn FC (5W-4L-6D) defeated Tampa Bay Rowdies, 2-1, in Week 15. Penn FC forward Lucky Mkosana netted a brace with two goals in the 49th and 67th minute. Tampa Bay scored first in the 34th minute, but Mkosana’s two goals from nearly the same spot on the pitch secured the three points for Penn. Penn have won three of their last five games, scoring 11 goals in the span and allowing 10. Forward Lucky Mkosana and defender Kenneth Tribbett lead the team in goals with four each. Goalkeeper Romuald Peiser leads the team between the sticks. He’s kept three clean sheets in 11 appearances. Penn now sits at 9th in the Eastern Conference just three points behind Indy Eleven.
Indy Eleven forward Justin Braun has found his place in the back of the net in his last two outings since he returned this year after sustaining a season-ending injury in late 2017. When Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie built his squad at the beginning of the season, Braun was a key inclusion as the club’s first USL era signing. Joining him were the likes of forwards Eugene Starikov, Soony Saad, and Jack McInerney. All of whom were high quality off-season signings that would force Braun to earn his time on the pitch.
Braun has made the most of his recent appearance in the starting XI. The absence of forwards McInerney, Starikov and Saad through various instances meant it was Braun’s turn to step up. In his last two games, he’s scored three pivotal goals that helped the “Boys in Blue” to three points each time, with his goal in the last game against Nashville coming against one of the toughest goalkeepers and defense in the league. It will be up to Braun to continue his form if “Indiana’s Team” is to make it four victories in a row against Penn FC.
Indy forward Justin Braun isn’t the only forward entering the game on Saturday night in form. Penn FC forward Lucky Mkosana is coming off a double against Tampa Bay Rowdies in Week 15. The Zimbabwean scored a come-from-behind brace that leveled the game in the 49th minute, and handed Penn FC its fifth win of the season in the 67th minute.
Mkosana is currently tied with defender Kenneth Tribbett for most goals scored on the team with four each. He’s contributed four of the team’s 17 goals scored so far during the 2018 USL campaign. Mkosana will need to find a way to get through Indy Eleven defenders Carlyle Mitchell and Karl Ouimette inside Indy’s 18-yard box, where he has scored all of his goals, if he plans to beat goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams.
Indy Eleven and Penn FC will face off in Week 16 of USL play with offenses that have been finding the back of the net regularly. In the last five games, each team has scored a total of 11 goals, averaging just over two goals a game.
Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie may disagree with the famous Vince Lombardi quote above. Rennie has preached a stern, stellar defense that doesn’t breakdown to help the “Boys in Blue” earn three points regularly. His team has given up seven goals in the last five games and recorded two clean sheets in that span. The ‘absorb the pressure’ style Rennie has taught his squad has proved fruitful, as the team has found its hot streak in front of net while not giving up many chances. What was thought to be a concern at the beginning of the season now seems a distant memory as the “Boys in Blue” are consistently finding the back of the net multiple times a game, just as they did in the 2-0 defeat of Nashville SC, one of the toughest defenses in USL, on last Tuesday night.
“Indiana’s Team” will welcome another hot offense, led by forward Lucky Mkosana and defender Kenneth Tribbett, into Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night. The Pennsylvanian based team has been the king of the comeback on the road in their last two matches as they fought back from down 3-1 against Louisville City FC and 1-0 against Tampa Bay Rowdies. Penn FC has struggled on the road, finding the back of the net only six times and securing two wins. A positive last two road results, a 3-3 draw against second place Louisville and 2-1 victory at Tampa bay, has given the side hope of defeating Indy Eleven.
The “Boys in Blue” have a 3W-3L-1D record at home and have conceded ten goals in Lucas Oil Stadium. “Indiana’s Team” aims to add a few more to their 11-goal haul at home this season, along with securing their fourth victory in a row on Saturday night. Coach Rennie’s side will need to continue their hot form in front of goal if they are to do so.
“Indiana’s Team” will take on Penn FC for the first time in the 2018 USL campaign. A win would potentially boost the “Boys in Blue” into second place overtaking Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and Louisville City FC. Fans can get tickets to the 7:00 p.m. kickoff this Saturday starting at $15 by visiting IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling (317)685-1100.