Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven vs. Charlotte Independence- #INDvCLT
Saturday, July 7, 2018 – 7 P.M. EST
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana
The “Boys in Blue” look to secure three points in their third home match of the week on July 7 against Charlotte Independence. Indy Eleven drew Charlotte in their previous match, 0-0, in Week Seven on the road.
Indy Eleven (7W-5L-4D) had their five game unbeaten streak snapped against Ottawa Fury FC in their last fixture. The “Boys in Blue” controlled the tempo of the game and nearly every statistical battle. “Indiana’s Team” attempted 14 shots, but was only able to muster four on target. The home side outshot the Fury with a 4:2 shots on target ratio, but a four-save performance from Ottawa keeper Maxime Crepeau kept the “Boys in Blue” from finding the back of the net. Ultimately, it was Indy Eleven defender Carlyle Mitchell’s own goal in the 28th minute that handed Ottawa the 1-0 win. A free kick was played into the back post and as Mitchell tried to clear it, the ball deflected off the defender into the bottom left corner.
Charlotte Independence (6W-5L-6D) enter Week 17 after a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Bethlehem Steel FC. Bethlehem dominated the game, opening the scoring 10 minutes into the match. Bethlehem continued to push forward and found the back of the net three more times in the 46th, 72nd and 80th minute of the match. The loss wasn’t for a loss of trying in regards to Charlotte’s performance. Bethlehem goalkeeper Jake McGuire played an integral part in the victory, tallying five saves on six shots on target. Despite his best efforts, Charlotte was able to find a consolation goal in the 93rd minute courtesy of joint-leading goal scorer, forward Jorge Herrera. A cross was headed back across goal by former “Boy in Blue” Eamon Zayed and headed in by Herrera.
The “Boys in Blue” will need to continue the stellar defensive effort they displayed in the first meeting between the two sides in order to gain three points.
Indy Eleven defender Tyler Pasher is in almost every highlight from the matchup with Charlotte in Week Seven. The defender’s wing play caused Charlotte’s outside backs trouble down the flanks all evening, creating three goal scoring chances against the Independence. Pasher’s dangerous runs down the flank led to multiple crosses finding the head and feet of forward Jack McInerney that nearly led to the game’s opening goal multiple times.
Pasher returned to the pitch on July 4 against Ottawa for the first time in nearly two months. He created one goal scoring chance in his 17 minutes on the pitch. It is unclear if he will start against Charlotte at home on July 7, but what is clear is that Indy Eleven will look forward to having the creative presence Pasher brings down the flanks back on the pitch.
Charlotte Independence forward Jorge Herrera nearly defeated the Indy Eleven in the 72nd minute of play last time the two teams faced each other. Defender Joel Johnson came down the right flank and played a square pass into the box that found the feet of Herrera just outside the six yard box. The Columbian forward’s redirected shot beat Indy goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams, but was unable to beat the crossbar.
Herrera is the joint-leading goal scorer this season for Charlotte, tied with midfielder Cordell Cato with eight goals each. The 37-year old added to his tally last match against Bethlehem Steel FC with a late goal that provided nothing more than consolation, and maybe slight satisfaction that Steel FC was unable to keep a clean sheet.
The Indy Eleven defense has performed well during the team’s inaugural 2018 USL season. The Eleven backline will be tested come Saturday, as “Indiana’s Team” faces the challenge of stopping a Charlotte Independence offense that averages a goal nearly every hour.
With the injury to Indy Eleven defender Renier Ferreira at the start of the season, the Eleven backline has been majority led by Carlyle Mitchell and Karl Ouimette. The two share not only similar first names, but defensive statistics as well. Ouimette has dominated opposition passing lanes, tallying the most interceptions on the team (41). Mitchell’s veteran leadership of the back line has seen him act as the team’s clean-up crew, as he leads the team in clearances (89) and blocks (11). If Charlotte manages to get past the two stiff defenders, they’ll be assigned with the task of beating Indy goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams. The Welshman’s large frame has helped him to tally seven clean sheets and 37 saves so far this season. This defensive trifecta has led “Indiana’s Team” to allow the fifth fewest goals in the Eastern Conference this season and just three goals in their last five games.
Charlotte Independence’s trio of forwards Jorge Herrera and Eamon Zayed, and midfielder Cordell Cato have led a Charlotte offense that has found the back of the net 26 times in 17 games. The three talismans have combined to score 19 of Charlotte’s 26 goals during the 2018 campaign. Herrera and Cato have bulged the old onion bag eight times, while Zayed has three. In the last two matches Herrera has netted two goals and Cato one, with Zayed assisting on one of Herrera’s. The Independence have beaten goalkeepers six times in the last five games.
In order for Fon Williams to maintain another clean sheet, the backline will have to martial the 18-yard box extremely well. Charlotte has scored all but three goals from inside the opposition 18-yard box. If the “Boys in Blue” at the back are able to contain the attack and find midfield outlets to counter, then they will be able to exploit Charlottes left flank and score just as Bethlehem did twice last week.
Don't miss out on the last home game this month. Fans can get tickets for the 7:00 p.m. kickoff at Lucas Oil Stadium starting at $15 by visiting IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling (317)685-1100.