Match Preview: Indy Eleven Hosts Louisville City FC in Eastern Conference Final Showdown
Indy Eleven (#3) vs. Louisville City FC (#4)
USL Championship Playoffs | Eastern Conference Final
Saturday, November 9, 2019 - 3:00 P.M. ET
Michael A. Carroll Stadium | Indianapolis, Ind.
FOLLOW LIVE: Local/National TV: WISH-TV
Streaming Video: ESPN+ (click for a free 7-day trial)
Radio (Spanish): Exitos Radio 94.3 FM
In-game updates: @IndyElevenLive Twitter feed, presented by Honda
REGULAR SEASON RECORDS: Indy Eleven: 19W-9L-6D, 63 pts., 3rd in Eastern Conference
Louisville City FC: 17W-8L-9D, 60 pts., 4th in Eastern Conference
2019 MEETINGS: Indy Eleven 1 : 1 Louisville City FC | Saturday, June 29
Indy Eleven and Louisville City FC played to a stalemate in the first regular-season Louisville-Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest of 2019. Indy midfielder Tyler Pasher opened the scoring at Lucas Oil Stadium nine minutes in after slotting home a ball played into the box by Thomas Enevoldsen. Louisville equalized five minutes before the hour mark after an incredible free kick from midfielder Paolo DelPiccolo brought the match level. The draw pushed Indy's home undefeated streak to 17 games of the now 25-match run in regular season play.
Louisville City FC 1 : 1 Indy Eleven | Friday, August 30
Despite a two-month gap and a venue change, the score line remained the same after the final whistle of the latter 2019 LIPAFC match-up on a Friday night in Louisville. Pasher netted for the second time in as many games against Lou City, this time in the 43rd minute. The lead lasted 27 minutes before Louisville's Abdou Mbacke Thiam brought the score - and season series - even.
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville SC (#2) 0 : 1 Indy Eleven (#3) | Saturday, November 2
The Boys in Blue recorded their second consecutive USL Championship Playoffs clean sheet and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final after a 1-nil Semifinal victory in Nashville. A majestic goal by Tyler Pasher off an equally impressive assist from Tyler Gibson in the 59th minute was enough to spur the Boys in Blue to victory, moving Indiana's Team to the cusp of the USL Championship Final.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (#1) 1 : 2 Louisville City FC (#4) | Saturday, November 2
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC's postseason run ended in heartbreak after falling at Highmark Stadium for the first time in 26 games last Saturday against fourth-seed Louisville City FC in added extra time. Pittsburgh's lead after 11 minutes was cut short after Louisville hopped on the comeback trail and leveled the game in the 51st minute through Luke Spencer. Louisville avoided the stress of penalty kicks after netting the game-winner with two minutes left in extra time, when captain Paolo DelPiccolo headed home the goal that sent Louisville to their fifth consecutive Eastern Conference Final.
Saturday marks the most important edition yet of the Louisville-Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest series, which Indy Eleven trails by a slim 2W-3L-3D margin when factoring in USL Championship regular season, postseason and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches.
It was LCFC capturing the most pivotal LIPAFC fixture to date last year on Oct. 20, a 4-1 win at Louisville Slugger Field in the USL Championship Eastern Conference Quarterfinals that began their march to a second consecutive league title.
The Boys in Blue have clearly rebounded from last year's postseason disappointment, posting its first ever home and away wins in USL Championship Playoffs action across the last two Saturdays. This weekend's fixture will be the third playoff match hosted by Indy Eleven in club history, as Indiana's Team looks to extend the home undefeated streak to 28 games in all competitions.
Indy's structurally sound defense in the playoffs has helped the club advance to its first Eastern Conference Final. The Boys in Blue are yet to allow a goal in 180 minutes of playoff action, with goalkeeper Jordan Farr recording both clean sheets.
Indy Eleven hasn't allowed more than one goal in a match in its last six contests spanning back to early October.
First-year Indy Eleven forward Ilija Ilic spent the 2015-18 seasons as a member of Louisville City FC, making 75 appearances and scoring 17 goals for the Kentucky team. The Serbian has scored and assisted twice each in 17 appearances for the Boys in Blue during 2019, with one assist coming in the match at Louisville Slugger Park on Aug. 30.
Louisville defender Shaun Francis made two appearances for the Indiana Invaders in 2008. The defender has made 13 starts in 15 appearances for the club, recording one assist.
INDY ELEVEN PLAYER TO WATCH | MF TYLER PASHER Tyler Pasher loves him a game against Louisville City FC, proven by the Canadian having scored both of Indy's goals against the Boys in Purple in 2019. Pasher went on a scoring streak during the middle of the 2019 USL Championship season that helped the 25-year-old finish the regular season with a team-high 11 goals to his name - and he added one pivotal one for good measure in last weekend's triumph in Nashville.
Pasher's not only been a consistent goal scorer throughout the season, he's been a crucial scorer as well. The pacey winger has scored six of his 11 goals after the 70th minute. Four of those six have come in the last 10 minutes of matches and three have been game-winning goals. Thanks to those tallies, Pasher is one of four Boys in Blue to put up double-digit goals in a single season, joining the likes of teammate Dane Kelly and former strikers Eamon Zayed and Jack McInerney.
LOUISVILLE CITY FC PLAYER TO WATCH | MF PAOLO DELPICCOLO Paolo DelPiccolo came into the second half of the Eastern Conference Semifinal at Pittsburgh with five minutes left in regular time. He made his limited time in the game count, the midfielder scoring the winning goal just two minutes before the match would move to kicks from the penalty spot. DelPiccolo hasn't been the most consistent member of the Louisville City FC lineup, making 15 appearances over the 34-game season, but the captain has been there when his club needed a goal, most recently against Pittsburgh.
The 28-year-old provided the same type of impact in the first LIPAFC fixture of the year. The midfielder took advantage of a free kick opportunity and placed the ball into the goal like a postage stamp on an envelope, scoring the first USL Championship goal against Indy goalkeeper Jordan Farr. One area that has plagued the Boys in Blue at times is committing fouls around the penalty area that have resulted in free kick opportunities, the likes of which teams like Louisville - and players like DelPiccolo - can capitalize on. You may not see him early on Saturday, but you'll assuredly see him impact the match at some point.
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United Soccer League Championship Stories from November 8, 2019
- Randall Leal Called up to Costa Rica National Team for November CONCACAF Nations League Matches - Nashville SC
- Match Preview: Indy Eleven Hosts Louisville City FC in Eastern Conference Final Showdown - Indy Eleven
- Real Monarchs SLC Hosts Western Conference Final on Saturday against El Paso Locomotive FC - Real Monarchs SLC
- Rowdies Confirm Return of Nine Players for 2020 - Tampa Bay Rowdies
- New Mexico United Announces 14th Returning Player for 2020 Season - New Mexico United
- Ottawa Fury FC Forced to Suspend Operations - Ottawa Fury FC
- Hartford Athletic Announces New Head Coach Radhi Jaidi of Premier League's Southampton Football Club - Hartford Athletic
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