Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven at Penn FC - #PENvIND
Wednesday, September 12, 2018 – 6:30 P.M. EST
FNB Field – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Indy Eleven are back on the road as “Indiana’s Team” travels to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to take on Penn FC. The road trip comes after a three game home stint where the “Boys in Blue” closed a seven game stretch in 22 days.
Indy Eleven (12W-7L-9D) rose to fifth in the Eastern Conference with 45 points after defeating New York Red Bulls II 3-0 on September 5. A brace from forward Eugene Starikov made him the second highest goal scorer for the “Boys in Blue” with five goals. The third goal was scored by defender Reiner Ferreira, who found the back of the net for the first time in a checkered shirt. Goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams recorded his 10th clean sheet of the season. The Welshman has the fifth most clean sheets in the Eastern Conference, trailing Nashville SC keeper Matt Pickens by two for most in the East. The shutout was the first since August 15, in a 0-0 draw at Ottawa Fury FC. The three goal haul improves the “Boys in Blue’s” goal scoring record to 40 on the season, while the clean sheet keeps “Indiana’s Team” at 33 goals conceded in 2018.
Penn FC (8W-10L-8D) are 12th in the Eastern Conference with 32 points after falling to Atlanta United 2,2-1. Captain and defender Kenneth Tribbett tied the game at one in the 34th minute, scoring his sixth goal of the 2018 campaign. Seven minutes later, Penn FC goalkeeper Romuald Peiser conceded his second of the game, and 28th of the season. The loss against Atlanta United 2 comes in the first game of a 10 game homestead to finish out the regular season for Penn FC, who are seven points out of playoff position. The Pennsylvania based team currently holds a 4W-3L-2D record at home. The side has a positive goal differential of three when playing at home, scoring 14 goals and conceding 11.
Indy head coach Martin Rennie aims to improve his side’s 5W-3L-5D road record and extend the team’s nine-game unbeaten run. The last time the “Boys in Blue” didn’t claim at least one point came on July 21 in a 3-1 defeat against Tampa Bay Rowdies.
When fully fit, Indy Eleven forward Eugene Starikov is a force to be reckoned with in the final third of the pitch. He displayed just how potent he can be in front of goal against New York Red Bulls II in the previous fixture. The 29-year-old managed a brace in his first and only two shots on goal.
Even more impressive than the 100 percent conversion rate for Starikov against Red Bulls II was the finishes themselves. Each goal scored by Starikov came off a one timer. He latched on to the end of a Dylan Mares cross, stretching a leg out and one timing a shot into the bottom left the corner. The second goal came from a venomous, one-time volley that Starikov powered in to the top left corner. His brace sees him jump to second in goals scored on the team with five.
It’s not often that a team’s second leading goal scorer and one of their most prolific players is a defender. Yet, Penn FC defender Kenneth Tribbett breaks the stereotype that defenders can’t finish in front of net. Tribbett is currently the second highest goal scorer on Penn FC with six goals, trailing forward Lucky Mkosana by four.
Standing at six foot two inches, it’s Tribbett’s aerial ability that makes him a potent goal scorer. He’s scored four of his goals in 2018 with his head. The 26-year-old must be tightly marked during set pieces, or a free chance at a header will most likely result in Tribbett’s seventh goal this season.
he Wednesday night fixture between Indy Eleven and Penn FC will be the second meeting in 2018 between the two sides. The first time around, Penn forward Lucky Mkosana put a penalty past Indy goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams. That fixture ultimately ended in a 1-1 draw.
This time around, Fon Williams will look to silence Mkosana, who celebrated his penalty goal in the first fixture by gesturing an “I can’t hear you” motion towards the Brickyard Battalion. Fon Williams comes into the Penn FC game off of a four-save performance against New York Red Bulls II last time out. The saves helped Fon Williams to his 10th clean sheet of the season. Seven of those clean sheets have come on the road, where Fon Williams has performed best. In 13 road games, Fon Williams has allowed 13 goals. The Welshman has only allowed more than two goals twice, surrendering four to New York Red Bulls II and three to Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Penn FC has performed fairly well in front of net at home. The Quaker state side has scored 14 goals in nine games at FNB Field. Their leading goal scorer, Mkosana, has found the back of the net 10 times for Penn FC, but only two of which have come at home. The quiet goal scoring record at home can possibly be attributed to the fact the side has only played in nine games at home. With a stretch of nine more at home to close out the year, Mkosana’s goal scoring record at home is likely to improve.
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