4/6/16 Indy 11 Home Opener Sat, Champ League, TV Games

Our Indy 11 embarks on season #3 with its first home game of the Spring Season this Sat, 7:30 pm at the Mike and on Ch 8 locally and ESPN3 Nationwide.  Lots of changes including more money spent on players and a new Head Coach in charge – Tim Hankinson.  It will be interesting to see if the changes lead to more wins, especially home wins, and perhaps a visit to the playoffs.  Also interesting to watch will be does attendance hold up if the team is not doing well?  On the surface it appears the Eleven have shored up the D a little, and picked up a proven striker in Eamon Zayed.  I will miss saying DAS BOOT – on goalkicks – but honestly I think we’ll see better play with Jon Busch between the posts overall this season.  The 11 kept most games close last season so anything they can do to find just 1 goal more per game could well make the difference between a playoff team and not.  I for one plan to be there in the BYB when I can – as the Flex Pack of 11 vouchers for games is too good to pass up.

So Champions League has had a twist here in the Round of 8 – as Wolfsburg shocked Real Madrid – 2-0 in Germany just days after Real beat Barcelona in El Classico 2-1 at Camp Nuo.  In Paris – Man City took it to the homeside PSG as Joe Hart saved a Zlatan PK to preserve a 2-2 draw scoring 2 huge away goals with a trip back home next Tuesday on Fox Sports 1 2:45 pm.  Bayern and Barca both won their games and return to play Wed at 2:45 with the semi-finals within reach.

Tickets on Sale for ICC Bayern vs AC Milan in Chicago & PSG vs Real in Columbus


Indy 11 Bring Back the Tie with Tampa Bay

Indy 11 Tie Rowdies on Road – Tampa Paper

Talking Tactics with BYB and Carmel FC coach -Josh Mason

Bi-Centenial Picnic Pack – Features ticket and Hooiser Picnic meal for the 1st home Game Sat for Just $20

Indy 11 – Free Popcorn – when you download the Indy 11 App

Indy 11 – 11 game Ticket Pack – way to go!

Indy 11 player named to NASL Team of the Week

New Look Indy 11 Raises Expectations –Indy Star

Indy 11 Full Roster

NASL Preview Show – Bloody Shambles  True Indy 11 Fans will love this site!

Wish TV to cover more Games this Season

After the Whistle Week 1 NASL

Players to Watch this season in NASL

BYB Site

Ready For NASL Prime Time ON TV : The first of 34 NASL matches – Fort Lauderdale vs. Miami FC – was carried by beIN SPORTS on Saturday, marking a new era and new opportunity as the league embarks on its sixth season. The beIN partnership is only one of the spokes in the NASL’s TV strategy that now encompasses ESPN3.com, ONE World Sports (which does a “Game of the Week” and weekly highlight show), the Fall Season debut of the league on CBS Sports Network and the myriad local deals of each team. In fact, Miami FC matches will be carried in more than 100 countries. Whether it is via cable TV or streaming to a tablet or smartphone, all NASL games are ready for prime time.

Champions League

PSG leaves too many chances at home in 2-2 tie with Man City

Real Madrid collapses at Wolfsburg Stunned 2-0

Suarez leads Barca to 2-1 win over Athletico

Vidal lifts Bayern over Pesky Benefica 1-0 at home

Joe Hart saves PK vs Zlatan – turns tide for City

EPL and World

US 20 yr old Matt Miazga starts for Chelsea

History says Spurs and Gunners still have a chance

Leicester goes 7 clear in title race

Clásico: How Real Madrid beat Barcelona

GAMES of the Week

Thurs, Apr 7

Europa Cup

3:00 p.m., FS1?            Liverpool vs. Borussia Dortmund – Will Anfield help vs German Powerhouse?

Sat, Apr 9

7:30 am NBCSN            West Ham vs Arsenal  -West Ham looks to break into the top 4

7:30 pm ESPN3 +Ch8 Indy 11 vs Ottawa (Home Opener) –make plans now to get out to the Jake

Sun, Apr 10

7:30 am NBCSN            Sunderland vs Leciester City – Can Leciester continue magical run at a team fighting relegation?

11 am NCBCN                Tottenham vs Man United –  Can Spurs keep pressure on Leciester and knock Man U out of top 4? 

11 am Extra                    Liverpool vs Stoke City – 2 teams locked In battle for Europa League Top 6 finish

2 pm ESPN                      US Women vs Columbia

4:00 p.m ESPN              Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders Can Seattle stop 0-3 Start?

9:30 pm Fox Sports 1 Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers –Playoff Contenders in Early battle

Tues, Apr 12

Champions League Elite 8

2:45 p.m FoxSport1  Man City vs PSG

Wed, Apr 13

2:45 p.m., Fox Sport1 Barcelona vs. Atlético Madrid

Sat, Apr 16

7:30 pm ESPN3 +Ch8 Indy 11 vs NY Cosmos (H)


Thurs, Apr 7

Europa Cup

3:00 p.m., FS1?            Liverpool vs. Borussia Dortmund

3:00 p.m., FS2?            Sevilla vs. Athletic Bilbao

3:00 p.m., TV TBD:     Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Braga

3:00 p.m., TV TBD:     Sparta Prague vs. Villarreal

Sat, Apr 9

7:30 am NBCSN            West Ham vs Arsenal

9:30 am Fox Sport 1 Schalke vs Dortmund

11:30 am                          FS2                Koln vs Bayer Leverkusen

12:30 pm NBC              Man City vs West Brom

7:30 pm ESPN3 +Ch8 Indy 11 vs Ottawa (Home Opener)

Sun, Apr 10

7:30 am NBCSN            Sunderland vs Leciester City

11 am NCBCN                Tottenham vs Man United

11 am Extra                    Liverpool vs Stoke City

2 pm ESPN                      US Women vs Columbia

4:00 p.m ESPN              Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders

7:00 p.m Fox Sports1 New York City FC vs. Chicago Fire

9:30 pm Fox Sports 1 Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers

Tues, Apr 12

Champions League Elite 8

2:45 p.m FoxSport1  Man City vs PSG

2:45 p.m., TV TBD:     Real Madrid vs. VfL Wolfsburg

Wed, Apr 13

2:45 p.m., Fox Sport1 Barcelona vs. Atlético Madrid

2:45 pm, TV TBD:        Benfica vs. Bayern Munich

Thursday, April 14

UEFA Europa League (Quarterfinal second legs)

3:00 p.m., Fox Sports Liverpool vs. Borussia Dortmund
3:00 p.m., TV TBD: Sevilla vs. Athletic Bilbao
3:00 p.m., TV TBD: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Braga
3:00 p.m., TV TBD: Sparta Prague vs. Villarreal

Sat, Apr 16

7:30 pm ESPN3 +Ch8 Indy 11 vs NY Cosmos

Sun, Apr 17

3:30 pm ESPN                Orlando City vs. New England Revolution

7:00 p.m Fox Sports1 FC Dallas vs. Sporting Kansas City

Mon, Apr 18

3 pm NBCSN                   Stoke City vs Tottenham

Tues, Apr 19

2:45 pm NBCSN            Newcastle vs Man City

Wed , Apr 20

2:45 pm NBCSN            Liverpool vs Everton

3 pm NBCSN Extra      Man U vs Crystal Palace

Thur, Apr 21

2:45 pm NBCSN            Arsenal vs West Brom

MLS TV Schedule ‘

European Championships This Summer on ESPN

Copa America Centario Schedule


Sun -June 5 4 pm Jamaica vs Venezuela, Tues June 7 – 7 pm (USA vs Costa Rica), Friday, June 10 Argentina vs Panama 8:30 pm.

Wed, June 22  Semi Finals – 7 pm – Argentina vs Brazil maybe? 

Soldier Field  Chicago Venue Passes – If interested in planning a trip over – reach out to me (shanebestsoccer@gmail.com)


Busch’s three saves, stout defending help Indy to road point in season openerApr 2, 2016

Indy Eleven Earn Gritty Road Point in Season Opening Stalemate at Tampa Bay

Goalkeeper Jon Busch’s Three Saves, Steady Defensive Effort Help “Boys in Blue” to 0-0 Draw, Clean Sheet to Open 2016 Season

  1. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Saturday, April 2, 2016) –For the third season opener in as many years, Indy Eleven would earn a point from its NASL season opener, this time securing a road point from a 0-0 draw with the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium. The new look Eleven squad featured ten “Boys in Blue” making their Indy debut, including goalkeeper Jon Busch, who made three saves in securing the clean sheet.“There’s no question that defensively we’re a very solid unit. I feel like in all games this year we’ll be able to defense well and stay in games until the very end certainly,” said Indy Eleven head coach Tim Hankinson. “Certainly the possession tonight was a lot better than we’ve seen in our preseason games, so I’m pleased with that, and the patience we showed was very solid. That’s the way you have to play on the road, so the point tonight was a very well taken point.”The first half was dominated by the defenses as just one of the teams’ five combined shots would force a save, Busch doing the deed five minutes in with an easy grab of Tamika Mkandawire’s header 10 yards straight out from goal. That’s not to say Busch wasn’t active, as he darted off his line on several occasions to frustrate the Rowdies attack, most notably sliding in to thwart a couple of through balls intended for runs by new Tampa Bay striker Tommy Heinemann.The sides finally traded solid chances early in the second half, Busch going low to stop Heinemann’s shot from space in the 52ndminute and Indy midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic seeing his dipping effort from 25 yards miss just high four minutes later.The visitors looked more and more content to secure their road point as the half continued, but a flurry in the 78th minute would almost see the Eleven sneak into the lead. However, Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens came up big, first steering aside a corner kick that somehow got through traffic in the six yard box before making his only save of the night on Indy forward Eamon Zayed’s volley from the right side of the area.The physicality of the Eleven defense would pay off time after time, as solid challenges and timely slide tackles throughout the evening helped keep Tampa off the board. However, Busch was called into service one last time in the 92nd minute when Eric Avila’s sidewinding shot from outside the area was hit with pace, but right at the Indy netminder in the center of goal.Indy Eleven (0W-1D-0L, 1 pt.) will take the road point back to the Hoosier State and prepare for its home opener next Saturday, April 9, against Ottawa Fury FC (0-0-0). Kickoff from Michael A. Carroll Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. ET, and tickets remain available for Bicentennial Celebration night at “The Mike” starting at just $11 at www.IndyEleven.com. In addition, a $20 Bicentennial Picnic Pack featuring a ticket to the match and a meal full of Indiana favorites are on sale at bicentennial.indyeleven.com.

NASL Spring Season
Tampa Bay Rowdies  0 : 0  Indy Eleven
Saturday, April 2, 2016
Al Lang Stadium – St. Petersburg, FL
Attendance: 5,740

Indy Eleven: 
Spring Season: 0W-1D-0L (1 pt.)

Tampa Bay Rowdies:
Spring Season: 0W-1D-0L (1 pt.)

Scoring Summary:

Discipline Summary:
TBR – Neill Collins (caution) 40’
TBR – Darnell King (caution) 43’
IND – Brad Ring (caution) 53’
IND – Gorka Larrea (caution) 87’
TBR – Zac Portillos (caution) 87’
Indy Eleven line-up (4-2-3-1, L–>R):  Jon Busch; Nemanja Vukovic, Greg Janicki, Colin Falvey (capt), Lovel Palmer (Marco Franco 82’); Nicki Paterson (Gorka Larrea 63’), Brad Ring; Duke Lacroix (Jair Reinoso 73’), Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Justin Braun; Eamon Zayed  Eleven bench: Keith Cardona (GK), Cory Miller, Dylan Mares, Don Smart

Tampa Bay Rowdies (4-2-3-1): Matt Pickens; Zac Portillos, Neill Collins, Tamika Mkandawire (capt), Darnell King; Justin Chavez, Michael Nanchoff; Kalif Alhassan (Darwin Espinal 67’), Junior Burgos (Georgi Hristov 73’), Eric Avila; Tommy Heinemann  Rowdies bench: Michael Langer (GK), Jeremy Hall, Ben Sweat, Juan Guerra, Danny Mwanga

Rowdies open NASL season with 0-0 draw

  • By Darek Sharp, Times CorrespondentSaturday, April 2, 2016 10:38pm
  1. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies dominated possession the entire second half on Saturday but could not solve Indy Eleven, settling for a scoreless draw in their NASL season opener before 5,740 at Al Lang Stadium.Tampa Bay ended with a 12-6 shot advantage, nine coming in the second half.”Honestly, the last pass killed us,” midfielder Eric Avila said of Tampa Bay’s inability to finish after steady buildups.The last pass was actually perfect in the 52nd minute but Indy’s goalkeeper, Jon Busch, was there to stop the Rowdies’ most dangerous chance. Kalif Alhassan’s feed to Tommy Heinemann was perfectly crafted but Busch dove to stop it. Alhassan continued to serve as main creator along with Avila, and had another in-close setup for Junior Burgos six minutes later.All four are new to the roster. Avila posed a threat several times in the second half, but Indy’s defense proved sturdy. He had a shot from 20 yards in stoppage time but it went right to Busch.”Frustrated we didn’t get three points. We didn’t turn our dominance into goals,” Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said.Several players more familiar to Rowdies fans either came on late, like Georgi Hristov in the final 20 minutes, or didn’t even make the list of eligible subs — namely Freddy Adu and defender Stefan Antonijevic, who started every game on defense when not injured last season.Indy’s best threat came in the 78th minute on a corner kick but Rowdies captain Tam Mkandawire came up with a necessary clearance.”We didn’t give up a lot of chances … we’ll take that. Of course you want to win every game but in reality that’s not going to happen,” Rowdies keeper Matt Pckens said.There was one shot on target combined in the first half and that was five minutes in. Mkandawire’s header off Michael Nanchoff’s corner kick was saved.In the 39th minute Heinemann one-timed a pass from Alhassan but it was blocked away.”We were a little nervous, little jittery early on,” Avila said.The field was in excellent condition despite heavy rain early in the day, the new tarp at Al Lang coming in quite handy.

New faces, same challenge

With many unfamiliar faces on the 2016 roster, “Indiana’s Team” takes on a fresh look under new head coach Tim Hankinson. Aware of the challenges ahead, Hankinson & Co. feel that the team they have assembled are more than capable of challenging for a place in the NASL’s four-team postseason tournament.Under the leadership of players brought from all realms of North American soccer – from MLS to the NASL to the USL – this year’s squad faces high expectations under Hankinson, who won the NASL’s regular season title with the San Antonio Scorpions during their 2012 expansion season. Bottom line, Hankinson knows how to get things going, and quickly, and nothing less will be expected.

Preseason difficulties stay in the preseason

After battling what seemed to be an abundance of preseason injuries, the Eleven are almost completely healed of their wounds from February and March.Going 2W-4D-3L during their nine game preseason slate, Coach Hankinson emphasized that the concepts sinking into his players’ brains take more time than just a month or two to settle, and that with an entire new group comes a gelling period that isn’t easily put on a timetable. Momentum is on their side, however, after a 1-0 win over Butler University compounded a 0-0 draw with the University of Louisville to cap off a defensively staunch early era. If the need is to grind out results until the goals come, the fact that the “Boys in Blue” let in more than a goal just once in those nine preseason exhibitions is a great sign.

Who to Watch, Indy Eleven edition: MF Nicki Paterson

Paterson comes to the Circle City as one of three to convert from expansion mate Ottawa Fury FC to the Eleven in the offseason. A human metronome, Paterson will bring a stability to the center of the park that will be necessary in the possession style Hankinson wants his charges to evolve towards.Though Paterson was one of many fighting a nagging injury, the now fully healthy Scotsman is relishing the opportunity to fight in Indianapolis and to earn a consistent place in Hankinson’s starting XI. Starting seven of nine games for the Fury while tacking on two goals, Paterson’s 2015 was brought to an early end by a knee injury. Now the true No. 8 has the perfect chance to prove why all his rehabilitation to return was worth it. While his possession game is key, it might be his tenacity on the defensive side of the ball against a dangerous Rowdies midfield that will be more important on Saturday night.

Match-up to Mark: Indy F Eamon Zayed

Indy’s new target man and true No. 9, Eamon Zayed’s early reputation has been as much about the Irish accent as it has the goal scoring, though there has been plenty of both. Zayed poked home three goals during the preseason slate to back up his reputation as a true goalscorer, and Coach Hankinson is ecstatic about the possibilities for the Irishman as he embarks on his 2016 campaign. With an eye for goal and ability in space, Zayed is a tough task to mark when in and around the area.

Talking Tactics: Tampa Bay Rowdies v Indy Eleven

by  Joshua Mason  Updated: April 6, 2016  http://brickyardbattalion.com/talking-tactics

Doug Starnes will be popping in this season for a weekly tactical discussion of the weekend’s match. You may recognize him from his previous work at Eleventh Heaven. Doug is an assistant coach with DePauw Women’s Soccer, Goalkeeper Coordinator for the Indiana Olympic Development Program, and volunteered his time scouting NASL opposition for the Indy Eleven coaching staff last season. You can follow Doug on Twitter at @GrassInTheSky1. Welcome, Doug!

New look Indy Eleven now have a match in the books under Tim Hankinson, and while the 0-0 draw may not have set the world on fire, it does give us a very good look at how this side will be set up and where Hankinson will likely be focusing his efforts to further develop what the team did well Saturday night while also improving in areas that fell a bit flat.

The 4-2-3-1

Hankinson made no secret of the fact that he wanted to play in a 4-2-3-1 system as soon as he arrived in Indianapolis and he proved true to his word when Indy took the field against Tampa Bay Saturday night. Brad Ring and Nicki Paterson were named to the two holding midfield berths (or double pivot or double six…semantics) with Duke Lacroix playing left midfield, Sinša Ubiparivović filling the number ten role underneath Éamon Zayed, and Justin Braun set up as a right-sided midfielder.What you need to know about this system if you’re not terribly familiar with it is that it provides lots of protection for the back four and, ideally, makes it difficult for the opposition to find space centrally in attack. The two sixes provide a shield in front of the back four that limits penetrating passes and space between the midfield and back line. It can, however, be exploited by teams with pacey and creative wide players (coincidentally, not unlike Tampa Bay) and it can sputter a touch in transition moments from defense to attack as the two holding midfielders are often unable to join the attack quickly enough.Interestingly, Tampa Bay countered Indy’s 4-2-3-1 with nearly the same system. Kalif Alhassan and Eric Avila , left and right midfielders respectively, were forced to take up positions significantly narrower than perhaps they – or at least Alhassan- would have liked. With Avila narrow, Darnell King had space to run in to, but he also had to worry about Lacroix’s pace behind him and the two somewhat canceled one another out. The end result of all of this was a match with limited opportunities for both sides and a very crowded midfield third.

Note the six players all with an average starting position inside the center circle. #Crowded

A Blunt Spear

As the match developed, it became increasingly clear that both teams were going to have issues transitioning to meaningful attacking moments. For much of the first half, Indy possessed the ball in the back, built forward, stalled, and then won the ball back immediately after Tampa Bay cleared their lines. The positive to take from this is that the Eleven looked more composed, organized, and confident across the back line than they have since the club became a club. The acquisition of veteran leaders like Colin Falvey and Jon Busch undoubtedly has much to do with this. As Chris Anderson and David Sally point out in their book The Numbers Game, when it comes down to it – at least statistically speaking – the goals you don’t concede are worth much more at the end of the season than the goals you score. But no one’s heart bursts for 0-0 draws either, and building meaningful attacks is something Hankinson will likely be working on in the coming weeks.

The real issue Saturday is that the two sides’ systems of play mostly canceled one another out and the crowded midfield made it difficult for Indy to find passes to their attacking players. As the match wore on, this situation was exacerbated by Braun moving centrally and Ubiparipović dropping deeper to get on the ball. There were moments in the match when Ubiparipović was picking up the ball from the back four behind both Ring and Paterson. You can’t blame your number ten for wanting to get on the ball, but once he was on it, his options forward were too far away and too isolated to create much of substance. Even Zayed started to drop further to get on the ball as he became more and more isolated.

Consider this, for the whole match Ubiparipović combined with Zayed, ostensibly the focal point of the Eleven attack, only four times. Of those four times, only one started and was completed in the Tampa Bay half. Braun combined with Zayed only once and Lacroix didn’t combine with him at all. To show how isolated Zayed was during the match, he had only 20 touches on the ball in 90 minutes. The next lowest total belongs to Duke Lacroix, but he was subbed in the 74th minute for Jair Reinoso. Indy mustered only one shot on target on six total shots.

This heat map shows all Indy Eleven players with the team attacking right to left. No threat high enough centrally, either due to denied service or starting position, to connect with and very little flank play in the attacking third.Conversely, Indy’s top passing combinations were Falvey to Palmer, Falvey to Janicki, Vukovic to Janicki, and Janicki to Vukovic. Notice anything?The sky isn’t falling. Scoring goals is the hardest thing to do in the game, especially when only three of the starters on the field Saturday night were returning players, but Hankinson will be disappointed the team didn’t create more chances and maybe a little uneasy knowing that the lack of goal scoring has carried over from the preseason.

Round Plugs, Square Holes

It may have slipped under the radar for some Eleven supporters considering he never played an official match for the team, but the release of Stephen DeRoux was a pretty big deal. DeRoux played last season for San Antonio Scorpions as a very useful attacking left back. He was no Justin Davis, but he would have provided Indy with a legitimate attacking threat from the left side. As it is now, Nemanja Vukovic has been enlisted to fill the void, but one gets the sense that he’s really a center back playing on the left side with a defense first and last approach. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it certainly limits the number of potential opportunities going forward.

Another player seemingly playing out of his preferred position Saturday night was Justin Braun. His natural inclination was to move inside to find the ball and he clearly still has the pace to run the channels. He seemed less comfortable trying to find space wide and then attack inside or make runs down the flank to provide service. It would have been interesting to see what Don Smart could have done toward the end of the match if Zayed had made way and Braun had been moved centrally.


Firstly, this was the first match of a long, hard season. Rarely does a team look at this stage how they will look at the end of the season.Secondly, Indy’s composure defensively and ability to limit Tampa Bay’s chances was actually pretty awesome to watch. Tampa Bay spent big in the offseason and acquired three of the best attacking players in the league in Tom Heinemann, Junior Burgos, and Kalif Alhassan. All three of those guys gave Indy fits last season when they were with their old teams, so limiting their chances when they were playing together at home is something to put in the bank.Lastly, the veteran leadership Indy acquired in the offseason was much needed and will pay dividends as the season unfolds. It may have seemed like a little thing, or perhaps went totally unnoticed by many supporters watching the match, but late in the second half Colin Falvey absolutely lit in to Tom Heinemann when he dribbled the ball out of bounds rather than passing it back to Jon Busch after Indy had been in possession and played the ball out in order for a player to receive treatment for an injury. It was a suspect thing for Heinemann to do, although not strictly wrong. These guys were teammates just a few months ago, but Falvey didn’t hesitate to let him know exactly what he thought of the play. There weren’t a lot of guys on the team last season who had the professional confidence and/or willingness to make demands and give direction to their teammates let alone players wearing a different shirt. The thing about that kind of leadership is that it empowers younger pros to do the same things and creates a clear standard. You can build on that.

Indy Eleven overhauls lineup, raise expectations

Tom Moor, IndyStar correspondent7:59 p.m. EDT April 1, 2016

WESTFIELD – A lot has changed since the Indy Eleven last took the field in a regular-season game Oct. 30.The Eleven have a new training facility at Westfield’s Grand Park, new president, new coach and 11 newcomers on the roster.Yes, the Indy Eleven certainly have a new look this season — and raised expectations.Coach Tim Hankinson is hoping an overhauled lineup will lead to a better product on the field. Despite leading the North American Soccer League in attendance their first two years in the league, the Eleven haven’t produced the on-field results they’ve been seeking. But that could soon change.Hankinson essentially gutted the team. The result is the Eleven — who open their season Saturday at the Tampa Bay Rowdies — have their most veteran and experienced team since debuting in Indianapolis in 2014. It’s a product Hankinson hopes will make the Eleven faithful proud.“Everywhere in soccer, there’s a lot of buzz about the Indy Eleven,” said Hankinson, a 36-year coaching veteran whose most recent stops include San Antonio and Jamaica. “We’re excited to come here and fight for a championship. There is great fan support here and an owner that is committed to winning.“Fans know the game and make it a great atmosphere. It’s great to have fans that truly love this.”The Eleven’s lineup features 11 new players, as well as 10 holdovers from last year’s team that finished 8-13-9 over the fall and spring seasons. Several of those players have Major League Soccer experience, and about five or six have served as captains on previous teams.The most notable, perhaps, is the signing of 39-year-old goalie Jon Busch, who spent 14 years in the MLS and was Goalkeeper of the Year in 2008.“The way things went last year with it being up and down, I think we brought in some stability and veteran leaders that will be good for the team,” said defender Greg Janicki, a returnee from last year’s squad. “Last year was my first year with the club, and I didn’t know what to expect. We had such a young team. We have more veteran leaders now, and we brought back a great group from last year.”Of the 21 players on the roster, 15 are at least 27 years old and several players are in their 30s — giving the Eleven a wealth of experience.Of the 11 newcomers, as many as eight could start Saturday. Hankinson has publicly stated that many of the holdovers would come off the bench because the quality of play last year wasn’t starting caliber.“I thought the first two years, the win column wasn’t strong enough for the fans who supported this team,” Hankinson said. “In many ways, I came in to replace the starting lineup with a better starting lineup.”Eleven public relations director John Koluder said the experience on this year’s team starts with players such as Busch, defender Lovel Palmer, midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic and forward Justin Braun — all of whom have considerable MLS experience. Players such as defender Colin Falvey, midfielder Gorka Larrea and forwards Eamon Zayed and Jair Reinoso have played for teams around the world.Many of the players also have the ability to play multiple positions, which gives the Eleven versatility.“The first two years (the Eleven) didn’t finish in the top four, but we expect to be in the top four this year, which means we’re a playoff team,” Hankinson said. “That can put yourself in position for the Cup. We really don’t have excuses. We’re not a developing team.”The Eleven received a setback when they lost defender Stephen DeRoux with a broken leg in a preseason game. That injury and inclement weather, Klouder said, may have played a role in finishing just 2-3-4 in the preseason.“The players are getting to know each other and their nuances,” Hankinson said. “They’ll get that figured out.”The Eleven host the Ottawa Fury FC in their home opener April 9 at Carroll Stadium at IUPUI.

2 Neil Shaffer D 27 Harrisburg (USL)
4 Brad Ring M 28 Portland (MLS)
5 Lovel Palmer D 31 Chicago (MLS)
6 Dylan Mares M 24 Indiana (NCAA)
7 Don Smart M 28 RVA FC (NPSL)
8 Nicki Paterson M 31 Ottawa (NASL)
9 Eamon Zayed F 32 Sabah FA (Malaysia)
10 Sinisa Ubiparipovic M 32 Ottawa (NASL)
12 Greg Janicki D 31 San Antonio (NASL)
14 Duke Lacroix F 22 Penn (NCAA)
15 Daniel Keller M 24 Chicago U-23 (PDL)
16 Cory Miller D 27 Orange County (USL)
18 Jon Busch GK 39 Chicago (MLS)
19 Wojciech Wojcik F 23 Ilves-Kissat (Finland)
20 Justin Braun F 29 Sacramento (USL)
23 Marco Franco D 24 Chicago (MLS)
24 Jair Reinoso F 30 Zhejiang Yiteng FC (China)
32 Colin Falvey D 30 Ottawa (NASL)
33 Gorka Larrea M 31 Montreal (MLS)
82 Nemanja Vukovic D 31 Sacramento (USL)


A quick look back at some of the high points from last weekend’s action in the NASL’s 2016 Spring Season.Jack Bell (@JackBell} | Apr 4, 2016

Cosmos Hit The Ground Scoring: Same place. Same teams (with different players, of course). Way different result from The Championship Final last November.

New York, using a new cast of characters after the retirements of Spanish stars Raúl and Marcos Senna, plus other changes, played like a seven-time NASL Champion. A couple of early key saves by goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer led to some uncharacteristic miscues in the Ottawa end in New York’s convincing 3-0 victory in the final game of Week 1. Veteran midfielder Juan Arango, the career goalscoring leader for Venezuela’s national team, tallied first-half goals two minutes apart and the substitute Adam Moffat added one from distance (with Romuald Peiser way off his line).  With a solid back four and Niko Kranjčar coming off the bench for 13 classy minutes, the Cosmos served noticed that they have a deep squad that may be even better than the one that went unbeaten in the 2015 Spring Season, finished first in the Combined Standings and hoisted the Soccer Bowl Trophy.

Fast Times: Last year, Jemal Johnson scored 12 seconds

into expansion Jacksonville’s inaugural match, setting a Modern Era NASL record.

A forward for another expansion team – Dario Cvitanich of Miami FC – came close to matching Johnson’s feat when he came within inches of scoring only seconds into the club’s South Florida Derby match at Fort Lauderdale. The double debut – the first NASL game on the beIN SPORTS and the first league match in Miami FC history – ended in a 1-1 draw and Cvitanich will still go down as the first goalscorer in club history after he converted a penalty kick in the 12th minute.

There were also early fireworks in Cary, N.C., in the season’s curtain-raising game between the Carolina RailHawks and Minnesota United. Inside the first minute, Carolina’s Kareem Moses lofted a cross into the penalty area that was headed wide by Austin da Luz. Seconds later, the Loons’ Christian Ramirez scored a highlight-reel goal (that was No. 3 on the list of ESPN’s Top 10) on his first touch of the season.

Oklahoma Is OK: The stars seemed to be aligned during Rayo OKC’s debut in the NASL against visiting FC Edmonton on Saturday night.

A new, pristine playing surface at Miller Stadium in Yukon, Okla., with a packed house of more than 6,000 fans. Rayo OKC had a man advantage for 60 minutes, nearly 70 percent of possession and an astonishing 620 passes completed, but no goals to show for their efforts. Goalkeeper Matt VanOekel kept the Eddies in the match, saving a point late in the game when the substitute Georgios Samaras, Greek international, had his point-blank shot stopped.

Ready For Prime Time: The first of 34 NASL matches – Fort Lauderdale vs. Miami FC – was carried by beIN SPORTS on Saturday, marking a new era and new opportunity as the league embarks on its sixth season. The beIN partnership is only one of the spokes in the NASL’s TV strategy that now encompasses ESPN3.com, ONE World Sports (which does a “Game of the Week” and weekly highlight show), the Fall Season debut of the league on CBS Sports Network and the myriad local deals of each team. In fact, Miami FC matches will be carried in more than 100 countries. Whether it is via cable TV or streaming to a tablet or smartphone, all NASL games are ready for prime time.

We Got The Stats Right Here: Soccer has not been particularly known as a stat-heavy or dependent sport, unlike a slew of North American sports. After all, soccer is the simplest game. Opta has been out to change that and now with its new partnership with the NASL, the statmen cometh. Available on clicking on the match center tab for each match, the graphical representations and deep dive into the info enriches our understanding of games and is great fodder for discussion.

Chelsea: Guus Hiddink heaps praise on Matt Miazga following debut performance

By Arunava RayApril 4, 2016 14:58 BST

Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink is impressed with the way January signing Matt Miazga has carried himself against Aston Villa this weekend and believes that the 20-year-old will get a lot of opportunities to prove himself until the end of the season, with John Terry and Gary Cahill out through injury. The Blues signed Miazga in January from MLS franchisee New York Red Bulls andHiddink believes that he still has to attune himself to the rigours of the Premier League.

“To be honest this wasn’t the toughest game,” Hiddink said, as quoted by ESPN. “You have to consider also when a real good war is going on how you cope with that, but it’s a good first step up for him.”He’s coming from a league that is a bit naive compared to the Premier League, and he has to get used to a little more freedom given to the attackers by the referees, which I like. He has to cope with a little bit of a shuffle, of a push that in other leagues the referee would give free kicks for. That’s the naivety he has to leave as soon as possible but I didn’t see much of that [against Aston Villa].”The defending Champions made easy work of Aston Villa, beating them 4-0 with goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Alexandre Pato and a second-half brace from Pedro Rodriguez to close the gap on Liverpool, who drew against Tottenham. A top four finish looks off the table, with the Blues now 10 points behind fourth placed Manchester City, with only seven games left in the season. However, Hiddink believes it is a great time for him to bring in a few youngsters to the squad and experiment with them for next season, especially with their fate all but decided in the league.”This club has brilliant players — world-class, experienced players and also young and up-and-coming players like Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] and Jake [Clarke-Salter] that train with the first team,” Hiddink said. “The club’s in good hands so we’ve just got to work hard on the training pitch, focus on ourselves and contribute in any way we can.”I just control what I can control, which is to work hard in training and hopefully give the manager a decision to make. If I get chances, I’ll take them,” he added.

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