Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC - #INDvPGH
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 – 7:00 P.M. EST
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Indy Eleven will face Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC for the second time in the 2018 USL campaign on August 29, attempting to extend its undefeated streak to seven. The fixture will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium this time around, after the previous meeting between the two sides in Week 9 resulted in a 0-0 draw in Pittsburgh.
Indy Eleven (11W-7L-7D) remain sixth in the Eastern Conference with 40 points following a 1-1 draw against Atlanta United 2 in their previous fixture. A corner kick goal from Karl Ouimette gave “Indiana’s Team” the lead in the 53rd minute. The goal was Ouimette’s second of the season. Defender Ayoze recorded his sixth assist of the season on the ball played into the box, keeping him as the team leader in assists. It seemed Owain Fon Williams was set to record his 10th clean sheet of the season, but miscommunication led to a 96th minute goal for Atlanta United 2 that leveled things at one and led to the draw.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (12W-3L-9D) are currently third in the Eastern Conference with 45 points. In their most recent match, Pittsburgh drew Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-1. Midfielder Mouhamed Dabo found his first goal of the season in first half stoppage time with a well struck, long range effort that found the bottom right corner of the net. Leading goal scorer and midfielder Neco Brett recorded his fourth assist on the play. Riverhounds’ lead lasted until the 72nd minute, when they conceded in nearly identical fashion to Indy Eleven. The draw brings Pittsburgh’s undefeated streak to five.
Indy Eleven defender Karl Ouimette notched home his second goal of the season against Atlanta United 2. Both of his goals have come from headers off set pieces, making him a dangerous asset to Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie’s side. Ouimette’s goal was the result of defensive partner Ayoze’s sixth assist of the season. Pittsburgh will need to avoid silly fouls deep inside their own half and corner kicks to keep from Ouimette from being able to take advantage of his aerial abilities.
In addition to being an aerial threat, Ouimette is also a stellar back. He’s put up great defensive numbers in 2018, including 10 clearances in the most recent match against Atlanta United 2. The last time out against Pittsburgh, Ouimette posted 11 clearances, four interceptions, and two tackles. He’ll need to put up similar numbers to slow down leading goal scorer for Pittsburgh, forward Neco Brett.
Riverhounds SC midfielder Neco Brett trails three players by three goals for the title of most goals scored in the Eastern Conference. The 26-year-old midfielder has scored 13 goals in 23 starts for Pittsburgh, making him the team’s leading goal scorer. He’s also tallied four assists throughout 2018.
His most recent assist came in the team’s previous fixture against Tampa Bay Rowdies, when he laid off a shot for fellow midfielder Dabo to cleanly strike into the back of the net. The Eleven defense frustrated Brett in the two team’s first meeting in Week 9. Brett managed three shots, but was unable to place any of the three on target.
Two leaders of their teams will face off in the midfield on the night of August 29. For Indy Eleven, its midfielder Matt Watson who leads the team in the center of the park. On the other half of the midfield marker, its Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC midfielder Kenardo Forbes who martials his team’s midfield.
Watson has been a key piece to Coach Rennie’s midfield. Rennie’s mindset of applying pressure in the midfield into the opponents half has been carried out exceptionally well by Watson. The Englishman his intercepted passes in the midfield and sprung counter attacks for goals on multiple situations. The 33-year-old midfield maestro has racked up 38 interceptions in 2018, leading all midfielders on the team and trailing only defender Karl Ouimette for most.
The man Watson will most likely be trying to frustrate and press in the midfield is Forbes. The 33-year-old veteran midfielder leads Riverhounds SC in assists in 2018, tallying seven total. The Jamaican completes just over 80 percent of passes per game and has played 32 key passes in 23 games played for Pittsburgh. Forbes is usually the man who leads the charge into the opposition half and springs counters, as 36 percent of his passes are played in the forward direction, outweighing any other direction by at least seven percent.
The “Boys in Blue” will need Watson to intercept passes in the midfield, spring quick outlet passes, and create counters leading to one-on-one opportunities in order to beat the side with the most clean sheets in the Eastern Conference. Not only will “Indiana’s Team” rely on Watson to create quick counters, they’ll also need him to help shut down Forbes’ passing lanes, as so to not concede.
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