Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven vs. Richmond Kickers - #INDvRIC
Saturday, September 1, 2018 – 7:00 P.M. EST
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Indy Eleven will face Richmond Kickers for the second time in 2018 in Week 25 match play. The first meeting between the sides in 2018 came in Week Two, Indy Eleven’s first match in the USL, and resulted in a 1-0 victory for the “Boys in Blue”.
Indy Eleven (11W-7L-8D) remain at sixth in the Eastern Conference after drawing with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, 2-2, in their previous outing. Indy forward Jack McInerney scored a brace, with the game equalizing goal coming in the 94th minute, to secure a point. His two goals bring his tally to nine on the season, helping him remain as the team’s leading goal scorer. The two goals scored and conceded brings the team’s tally to 36 scored and 32 conceded in 2018. Midfielders Ben Speas and Matt Watson each recorded an assist in the match, bringing their assist totals to two and four, respectively. The “Boys in Blue” have now scored nine goals in their last five matches as they look to bring their undefeated streak to eight against a Richmond side that has allowed both the most goals and scored the least in the Eastern Conference.
Richmond Kickers (6W-17L-3D) sit at 14th in the Eastern Conference with 21 points after falling to Nashville SC, 4-0. The team’s leading goal scorer and assist leader, forward Brian Shriver, was unable to add to his seven goals and assists in 2018 against Nashville. Kickers’ goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg was given the nod between the sticks and conceded four goals bringing his tally to 27 conceded in his first season with the club. The four goals against Richmond last time out brings their total goals conceded on the year to 59, the most in the Eastern Conference and USL. Their inability to find the back of the net has also caused them trouble in 2018, as they’ve only scored 23 throughout the campaign.
Eleven head coach Martin Rennie should feel confident going into the match, as Richmond have lost four of their last five and conceded 15 goals in that span.
Indy Eleven Player to Watch | FW Soony Saad
At the start of the season, Indy Eleven forward Soony Saad looked to be the forward in form. The 26-year-old forward scored two stunning free kicks and was creating chances from the run of play. He had even jumped out as the team’s leading goal scorer for a short while. Yet, the Lebanese international has been quiet as of late.
The last time Saad found the back of the net was in a 3-3 draw against Charleston Battery in Week 12. He’s come close since, striking the post twice against Ottawa Fury FC in a Week 23 draw. Now in Week 25, with seven games in the span of 22 days, Rennie’s lineup may shift giving Saad the chance to start. If he does start, look for the match against Richmond, who’s allowed the most goals in the Eastern Conference and an average of three per game in their last five, to be Saad’s slump buster.
Richmond Kickers’ offense has relied heavily on forward Brian Shriver. The veteran forward currently leads the team in goals scored with seven in the 2018 season. In addition to finding the back of the net, the forward possesses the ability to help teammates find the back of the net as well. He also leads the team in assists, with seven, complimenting his scoring record.
Shriver also holds something many players are unable to keep in the later years of their careers, their engines. The 31-year-old, who is currently playing in his ninth professional season, has started 25 of Richmond’s games this year, missing just one start in for the Kickers.
We’ve all heard the phrase “defense wins championships”. In the eyes of Indy Eleven forward Jack McInerney, offense wins championships by scoring as many goals as he can. With that in mind, his Week 25 matchup against Richmond Kickers should have his eyes gleaming.
Richmond Kickers currently has the poorest defensive record not only in the Eastern Conference, but in the entire USL. The Kickers have allowed the most goals in the USL, conceding a total of 59 times. Thirty-four have come on the road, which will be their circumstances when they face Indy Eleven. Richmond’s managed a record of 1W-11L-0D on the road in the 2018. They have only managed two clean sheets total and also allowed 15 goals in their last five games, the most of any five-game stretch this season, with ten goals allowed coming in the last two games.
On paper, this fixture sounds like an absolute dream to a forward, especially a forward in form like McInerney. Before facing Penn FC at home and scoring a dramatic free kick, McInerney had scored just two goals. Just under a month later, McInerney scored another late goal, this time a header coming against Bethlehem Steel FC that would kick start his form. Since the fixture against Penn FC, McInerney has scored seven goals for the “Boys in Blue” in 11 appearances, including the match at Penn FC. “Indiana’s Team” is also yet to lose a match McInerney has scored in since his Penn FC free kick. Now, he leads the team in scoring with nine goals. With McInerney’s form remaining stellar, expect coach Rennie to continue to give the 26-year-old minutes.
“Goal scorer’s confidence thrives on scoring goals,” Rennie said. “He’s doing what I think we all know he can do, which is score goals.”
The “Boys in Blue” will kick off against Richmond Kickers this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Fans can get tickets to the upcoming match for as low as $15 by visiting IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling (317)685-1100.