Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven at Ottawa Fury FC - #OTTvIND
Saturday, August 18, 2018 – 2:00 P.M. EST
TD Place Stadium – Ottawa, Ontario
· Local/National TV: N/A
· Streaming Video: ESPN+ ($)
· In-game updates: Follow @IndyElevenLive on Twitter
· Official stats: USL Match Center
Indy Eleven will face Ottawa Fury FC for the second time in its inaugural USL campaign on August 18 at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa. The first meeting between the two sides in Week 17 resulted in a 1-0 victory for Ottawa at Indy’s home field, Lucas Oil Stadium.
Indy Eleven (10W-7L-5D) sit at fifth in the Eastern Conference standings with 35 points. The “Boys in Blue” rose three spots after defeating North Carolina FC at home in their first Week 23 match-up. Forward Eugene Starikov opened the scoring in the seventh minute after tucking home a cross from fellow forward Jack McInereney. Midfielder Ben Speas found the net in the 31st minute after scoring a screamer nearly 30 yards from goal. Speas and Starikov netted their second and third goals on 2018, respectively. “Indiana’s Team” kept the drama going until the end of the game, when midfielder Juan Guerra netted the go-ahead goal in the 90th minute after a shot from midfielder Seth Moses found him just feet from net, marking his first of the regular season.
Ottawa Fury FC (10W-10L-4D) sits two spots below Indy Eleven in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings after defeating Richmond Kickers at home, 2-0. Captain and forward Carl Haworth opened the scoring for Ottawa after netting his second goal of the 2018 campaign in the eighth minute. Haworth placed a free kick from the left side of the 18-yard box into the left side of the net, barely beating Kickers goalkeeper Trevor Spangenburg. Ottawa left the second goal late, after forward Tony Taylor became Ottawa’s joint-leading goal scorer in the 84th minute. Taylor netted his fourth of 2018 season after a poor back pass led to an Ottawa counter. Ottawa goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau earned his 11 clean sheet of the season in the victory, tying him with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s Daniel Lynd for most clean sheets in the East.
A victory against Ottawa will be crucial for Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie and his side as one point separates fifth through eighth in the Eastern Conference standings. Not to mention Bethlehem Steel FC sits in ninth two points behind fifth placed Indy Eleven.
Indy Eleven defender Ayoze returned the starting XI for the first time since the team faced Charleston Battery in Week 18. Ayoze was arguably the man in form over the previous two months, continually creating plays for teammates, racking up assists and even netting a few goals himself. His return to the starting XI is not only a defensive boost for Indy head coach Martin Rennie, but also a boost for his offense.
The 32-year-old, Spaniard leads the team in assists with five and is tied for second most goals scored with four on the Indy Eleven roster. He’s also moved the ball masterfully, averaging 77 percent of his passes completed. In his return against NCFC, he outpaced that average by five percent. In addition to moving the ball well, Ayoze managed the full 90 minutes and proved he is ready to return to the starting XI regularly. Ayoze’s return will be welcomed by Rennie, especially with the absence of fellow full back Tyler Pasher.
A versatile forward who creates more than goals is a crucial asset to any team. Ottawa Fury FC possesses such a player in Steevan Dos Santos. The Republic of Cape Verde native has been an integral part of the Ottawa offense in the 2018 season. He’s scored four goals, making him joint leading goal scorer of Ottawa.
In addition to the four goals he’s scored, the 28-year-old has helped his teammates find the back of the net four times, as well. His most recent assist came in the previous fixture against Richmond Kickers. After a stray back pass found its way to Dos Santos and led to a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, Dos Santos selflessly played the ball across the box for a tap in finish by fellow forward Tony Taylor. A bigger show of the team mentality displayed by Dos Santos was apparent just after he played the pass, when Richmond’s goalkeeper leveled the forward. “Boys in Blue” keeper Owain Fon Williams will need to keep an eye on the veteran forward.
Indy’s Eugene Starikov and Jack McInerney are starting to hit their goal scoring stride for Indy head coach Martin Rennie at the right time. What is good news for Rennie and Indy fans though, is bad news for Ottawa goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau and defender Onua Obasi.
The last time McInerney or Starikov didn’t score or assist a goal was the last time the “Boys in Blue” played Ottawa Fury FC on July 4. That tallies a span of six games that Starikov or McInerney created or scored a goal. In that six game span, both forwards have scored three goals and each has assisted on a goal, totaling six goals scored and two assists for the striking pair in the last six games since previously facing Ottawa. Starikov managed to find the net off a McInerney assist in the prior fixture against NCFC. This indicates that not only can the forwards score and assist individually, but the two can work in tandem to be an even more dangerous striking pair by playing off each other.
The last fixture Indy Eleven failed to find the back of the net in was the first USL match-up between the “Boys in Blue” and Ottawa Fury FC. Fury goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau recorded his eighth clean sheet against Indy. Since then, he’s managed to record three more clean sheets in eight matches and allowed eight goals. A chunk of the credit for Crepeau’s stellar defensive run must be accredited to defender Onua Obasi. The 29-year-old, English full back leads the team in interceptions, tackles, and tackles completed. In the Week 17 fixture, Crepeau made four saves against Indy leading his team from the back, while Obasi recorded an impressive 10 tackles, two clearances, and an interception.
The “Boys in Blue” will need to exact revenge and claim three points in Ottawa in order to remain in playoff contention. Currently, three points separate fifth place from ninth in the Eastern Conference. McInerney and Starikov will need to lead the charge against Crepeau and Obasi in order to claim three more points and their sixth victory on the road.
Fans can catch all the action at home online via ESPN+. New users can signup for a 7-day free trial by visiting plus.espn.com.