Preview | Year-Long Home Unbeaten Streak on the Line vs. Loudoun United FC
First 2019 Meeting:
Loudoun United FC 1 : 2 Indy Eleven | Saturday, June 15
Indiana's Team used another round of Tyler Pasher late-game magic to capture the full points from the two teams' first ever meeting, played in the posh confines of Audi Field, home to Loudoun's MLS affiliate, D.C. United. Andrew Lubahn's 12th minute screamer from distance past Jordan Farr - making his first career start between the posts for Indy in USL Championship play - put the home side up early. The Boys in Blue controlled the proceedings from there on out, the ratcheting pressure resulting in a Nelson Martinez own goal in the 66th minute. A frantic finish was punctuated by Pasher's clean-up of a rebounded Dane Kelly shot in the 89th minute, keeping Indy undefeated for seven straight and resulting in a third straight win.
#LDNvIND: Highlights | Recap | Stats
Last Time Out:
Hartford Athletic 2 : 1 Indy Eleven | Saturday, July 13
Indy Eleven's 10-game undefeated streak came to an end on a hot and frustrating night in Connecticut - one that coincided with the inaugural Hartford Athletic match at the renovated Dillon Stadium. Goalkeeper Evan Newton returned to the starting lineup after missing a month recovering from a groin injury, but he and the rest of the Boys in Blue were unable to keep Hartford's offense at bay. Forward Ilija Ilic also returned from injury to see the pitch for the first time since March 9, coming on as a substitute in the 60th minute. Defender Ayoze scored the team's lone goal, and his first of the season, from the penalty spot to halve the Hartford lead in the 88th minute.
#HFDvIND: Highlights | Recap | Stats
North Carolina FC # : # Loudoun United FC | Wednesday, July 17
Two goals from Yamikani Chester helped North Carolina FC secure a comfortable win in its first meeting with Loudoun. NCFC found the opening goal 10 minutes in, when Nelson Martinez fouled Steven Miller on the edge of the penalty area and Robbie Kristo expertly curled the resulting free kick past Loudoun goalkeeper Calle Brown into the top-left corner. The hosts had to work for it, but Kristo eventually sealed the result with tallies in quick succession in the 72nd and 74th minutes. The result pulled North Carolina even with Indy Eleven on 34 points, good for a share of third place on the Eastern Conference table.
#NCvLDN: Highlights | Recap | Stats
Eleven forward Dane Kelly was on the roster for D.C. United during its 2018 MLS campaign, the Jamaican making one appearance for the Black-and-Red last season.
To say that Lucas Oil Stadium has been kind to Indy Eleven would be an understatement. The Boys in Blue have gone undefeated in their last 17 regular season home matches (10W-0L-7D) dating back over a year to last July 7, when a 2-1 win over the Charlotte Independence kicked off the run.
That stretch includes a 5W-0L-4D mark at the corners of South & Capitol Streets so far in 2019, during which Indy Eleven has outscored its opponents 9-2 and posted clean sheets in seven of the nine outings.
The Boys in Blue still have some work to do to break the club's all-time home unbeaten streak, a 20-game run during the "NASL era" at Michael A. Carroll Stadium from October 2015 through May 2017.
While Evan Newton and Ilija Ilic officially came back from injuries last Saturday in Hartford, another member of the Boys in Blue, Eugene Starikov, is also getting closer to seeing the field yet again. The second-year member of Indiana's Team is aiming to make his first appearance since the Eleven's home opener against Hartford back on March 30, and with the Ukrainian striker's status upgraded to questionable last week, his return from a groin injury could come as early as Saturday.
Last weekend's loss at Hartford Athletic marked the first time Indy Eleven dropped points against a 2019 USL Championship expansion side, its record now standing at 4W-1L-0D collectively against Hartford, Loudoun, Memphis & Birmingham.
After scoring just once in four games across May, Indy Eleven has hit the back of the net at least once in its last seven contests, including four multiple-goal games (13 GF/5 GA in the stretch). Indy Eleven began the year by scoring in six straight games before May's dry spell.
Indy Eleven Player to Watch | DF Ayoze
While Ayoze played only a small portion of the match against Loudoun United FC the last time the two teams played on June 15, his 19 minutes were strong and impactful. The Spaniard averaged 92 percent pass completion and created one chance while helping build the attacking pressure Indy needed to capitalize late. That activity showed in the defensive third as well, as evidenced by him racking up two tackles and interceptions and a blocked shot for good measure.
The 33-year-old heads into the second fixture against Loudoun after scoring his first goal of the season last Saturday against Hartford via a late conversion from the spot. The former La Liga performer has been an integral piece in the Indy front third as he's notched a pair of assists, leads the team with 71 crosses and is second on the squad with 31 chances created (both the latter marks, ironically, place 11th in the Eastern Conference). What numbers won't show is his surprising physicality, savvy gamesmanship and uncanny ability to see the field - all qualities that may stand out even more against one of the younger teams in the USL Championship on Saturday night.
Loudoun United FC Player to Watch | FW Kyle Murphy
Murphy has started his 2019 season on the front foot, playing all but 32 minutes for his club since the start of the season. He leads Loudoun with five goals scored, and is also at the top of the team in assists with three.
Four of the 26-year-old's five goals have come from his right foot, so in order to keep him at bay the Boys in Blue would be wise to push him onto his weaker boot. Indiana's Team will also need to keep an eye on his creative ability if they take away his shot, as he's played eight key passes.
Matchup to Mark | Indy DF Karl Ouimette VS. Loudoun DF Peabo Doue
Ouimette and Doue are experienced defenders who play different roles on two very different rosters. Ouimette, a veteran among fellow veterans, and a regular on coach Martin Rennie's line-up sheet since stepping foot in the Circle City last year. After starting 32 of 34 regular season contests last year, Ouimette also started this year's first two games, but was shuffled out of the backline rotation for the next four. However, since entering early in Indy's match on May 1 against Tampa Bay following Paddy Barrett's red card exit, the Canadian has not left the field, playing every minute across Indy's last 10 outings. The 27-year-old is close to leading the team in several defensive categories including clearances (40), interceptions (17), and tackles won (76.2%), and he's also moved the ball well for a center back, where he's averaged just below 80 percent passing accuracy.
On the opposite side is Doue, who in his first season with Loudoun is similar to Ouimette in that he's a constant on the field, appearing in 13 of United's 14 games and missing only 75 minutes of action from his left back position. One thing the 27-year-old does not have in common with Ouimette is that he is surrounded by a Loudoun roster stacked with youth - although his status as a D.C. United Academy alum certainly gives him some locker room talking points with many of the lads. The well-traveled Doue, who has made previous Championship stops with North Carolina (19 appearances last season), OKC Energy FC and Phoenix FC, is also a contrast as a two-way player on the left side, as he currently leads his team in interceptions (21) and has the ability to play creator, recording two assists on six key passes this season.
Indy Eleven returns home this Saturday to close out its season series against another expansion side, Loudoun United FC, at Lucas Oil Stadium at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the "Night of Champions" match celebrating Indiana Soccer club and IHSAA teams remain available for as little as $15 and can be purchased at indyeleven.com/tickets or by calling 317-685-1100.
Indy Eleven vs. Loudoun United FC
Saturday, July 20, 2019 - 7:00 P.M. ET
Lucas Oil Stadium | Indianapolis, IN
Local/National TV: WISH-TV
Streaming Video: ESPN+
Radio (Spanish): Exitos Radio 1590 AM
In-game updates: @IndyElevenLive Twitter feed , presented by Honda
Setting the Table:
Indy Eleven: 10W-3L-4D, 34 pts., 3rd in Eastern Conference
Loudoun United FC: 4W-6L-4D, 16 pts., T-13th in Eastern Conference
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