Friday, April 1, 2016

Indy Eleven will Spring into Fall season

With NASL's season right around the corner and Indy Eleven gearing up to begin their third season the expectations for a team which was built around the word "experience" has given fans a sense of excitement. Indy Eleven is being touted as a "playoff team" by outgoing president and general manager Peter Wilt, and with a solid mixture of MLS, NASL, and USL talent Indy Eleven SHOULD do well in the North American Soccer League in 2016.

Just not in the Spring.

Now I am perfectly willing to eat my hat, but the voice in the back of my head (the same voice that usually demands coffee every morning) has me hesitant to jump onto the Spring Season train. With as many new names in and a general even mixture of names from previous seasons the biggest issues from previous seasons seems to be glaring from the dark corner of the room. 

Team. Chemistry. 

With Eamon Zayed, Justin Braun, Duke Lacroix and other attacking minded players Indy Eleven will surely be able to score goals (though some of the preseason results have shown otherwise). With Brad Ring, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, and other midfield players the pace of the game should be controled. And with the talent in the back and more direction and systems in place the defense looks solid. 

The question that still haunts my mind from last season wasn't lack of fire power. It wasn't a lack of control in the midfield and it certainly wasn't issues in the defense. It was the winger bringing the ball up knowing where the forward was going to place the ball. It was the central midfielder back tracking to support the defender and being able to know where he needed to go in order to best stop the ball. It was the forwards finishing a shot in front of the net. 

Regardless of results of the preseason. Regardless of players who come in and out during the season. Regardless of everything that goes on BEFORE the season starts two things for Indy Eleven should be shown very quickly in order to get a good start. Fitness and team chemistry. 


As great as Indy Eleven's offseason as for player acquisitions some of the other clubs were a little more successful, with Minnesota United grabbing Lance Laing, solid loans of Bernardo Anor from Sporting KC and Damien Lowe from Seattle Sounders. With Tommy Heinnemann joining the Rowdies in Tampa Bay and Miami FC and Rayo OKC not being shy in bringing in big names it's been both an exciting and nervous offseason for many fans around the league. 

Before I go on anymore, let me say that the additions Indy Eleven has made are all very solid choices. Hankinson addressed the needs from last season very well and I think this will be the best season yet. All that being said, Indy Eleven are a fall season team.

In a league like the North American Soccer League it's increasingly important to blend early and get results early. These two things have eluded Indy Eleven since their first season. With the roster additions, I foresee another slow start at least for a few games as the new systems, new players, and other new aspects to the club come together in game time play.

In terms of predictions, I think Indy Eleven is a midtable team in the Spring.

A midtable team in the Spring who should be a playoff team in the fall. I think the issue will be how quick they click and how soon we see the potential that this team has been stressed to have.

2016 is sure to be a great year for Indy Eleven but it will be how fast they get out of the gate as to whether they are another underachieving team or we see them grow into a playoff team in the north American Soccer League.

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