Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven vs. Charleston Battery - #CHSvIND
Wednesday, July 11, 2018 – 7 P.M. EST
MUSC Health Stadium – Charleston, South Carolina
Indy Eleven look to continue a new win streak against Charleston Battery on July 11. The “Boys in Blue” travel to South Carolina to face Charleston for the second time this season, after a thrilling, 3-3, home draw in Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 12.
In their most recent matchup, Indy Eleven (8W-5L-4D) defeated Charlotte Independence at home, coming back to win 2-1. Charlotte forward Jorge Herrera opened the scoring in the 50th minute, giving the visitors the 1-0 lead. The South Carolinian’s lead lasted for 12 minutes, when Eleven midfielder Ben Speas struck home a venomous volley from near the 18-yard box to level it in the 62nd minute. The “Boys in Blue” would seal the comeback victory in the 70th minute, when defender Carlyle Mitchell headed home defender Ayoze’s corner kick. The goals were Speas first of the season and Mitchell’s second, whose goal was nearly identical to his first in Week 13’s 2-0 shutout against Atlanta United 2. The victory sees “Indiana’s Team” jump a spot in the Eastern Conference standings to fourth, putting the “Boys in Blue” one point off of third place Louisville City FC with 29 points.
Charleston Battery (6W-3L-8D) faced North Carolina FC in their previous fixture, which finished 1-1 after Charleston surrendered a 1-0 lead. The Battery opened the scoring in the 63rd minute. Forward Ataulla Guerra beat North Carolina FC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis after a poor turnover just outside North Carolina’s 18-yard box. Guerra smashed home a shot to the bottom-left corner. The lead lasted until the 80th minute, when forward Daniel Rios tucked away a square pass into the box from near the 6-yard line. North Carolina nearly stole the points in the 97th minute after having three open shots on goal in a 15 second span. The Battery would’ve lost if not for a goal line save, followed by a shot off the post, ending with a ricochet off keeper Joe Kuzminsky. Charleston now sit at 6th in the Eastern Conference with 26 points, two points behind Indy Eleven.
In order for the “Boys in Blue” to secure the three points against Charleston this time around, they will need to tighten up their focus at the end of the game. “Indiana’s Team” regained a 3-2 lead in the 90th minute, but surrendered it in the 94th minute resulting in a draw.
Arguably Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie’s most influential signing of 2018, defender Ayoze has performed at peak form all season. Ayoze’s defensive abilities aren’t what makes him a key asset to the “Boys in Blue”; It’s his ability to pick out teammates in crucial moments. His skill on the ball is impressive, but if you watch Ayoze’s highlights, you’ll notice how well he can pick out a pass and drop it on a dime. Whether it be a full-field dime to release Soony Saad, or an in-swinging free kick or corner, the pass is perfect nearly every time.
The Spaniard has racked up five assists during the 2018 campaign. The 32-year old can also find the back of the net himself, as he’s scored four goals this season. Two of those goals came against Charleston Battery in their last meeting - One to level things and then the second to regain the lead in the 93rd minute.
Charleston goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky didn’t have the best of matches against Indy Eleven. In his defense, the goals conceded were two world class free kicks and a penalty. Since the 3-3 draw in Indianapolis, Kuzminsky has allowed four goals in five games and tallied two clean sheets. The two clean sheets in the last five bring his season total to six in 12 appearances.
Against North Carolina, Kuzminsky made two saves and allowed one goal. He’s now conceded 9 goals in 12 appearances for Charleston after taking the reins from fellow keeper Odisnel Cooper. Kuzminsky made only one save on four shots on target in the first matchup with “Indiana’s Team”.
Charleston Battery forward Ataulla Guerra was able to get the best of Indy Eleven goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams in the team’s first fixture against each other. In the second tie, in Charleston, Fon Williams will look to shut out the opposition’s leading goal scorer.
Guerra has started 16 games for Charleston Battery, totaling nine goals in that span. The 30-year old forward currently leads the team in that category, with the second closest player coming in at Gordon Wild with four goals. The talisman has found most of his goals coming from inside the box, where he’s scored 7 out of9. The Trinidad & Tobago native scored one of those goals in the previous match against North Carolina, where he capitalized on a misplaced pass. He’s scored two goals in the last five matches since facing Indy.
Fon Williams has given up four goals in the last five matches since drawing with Charleston. The Welshman has collected two clean sheets since the fixture, similar to his counterpart Kuzmisky. Fon Williams now has 7 clean sheets in 17 appearances with the “Boys in Blue” during the 2018 campaign and has totaled 40 saves. The veteran goalkeeper was called into action three times last Saturday against Charlotte Independence. His arguably most crucial save came in the 90th minute when Charlotte forward Cordell Cato was one-on-one with Fon Williams from the left side of the six-yard box. Fon Williams saved Cato’s driven shot that would’ve tied the game at two with nearly no time left.
Fon Williams will need to make crucial saves again to gain three points on the road against a tough Charleston offense that has lost only one game at home this season. One of the keys to victory will surely be dependent upon Fon Williams stopping Guerra and the Battery attack.
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The "Boys in Blue" are on the road for the rest July before returning to Lucas Oil Stadium on Wednesday, August 15, to take on North Carolina FC. No need to wait - get your tickets to the 7:00 p.m. kickoff now by visiting IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling (317)685-1100.