4/15 Indy 11 host NY Cosmos, UCL Final 4, TV Games of Wk, #bebraveBrooks event


So as the Travel and Rec Soccer Season’s Kick into full gear – its time to bring you up to date on happens around the World of Soccer. After some exhilarating games last week we are down to the Final 4 – the Semi-Finals of the best Club teams in the world.  Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Athletico Madrid and Manchester City (yes that’s not a misprint there is an EPL team in the final 4 and for the 1st time ever its Man City.  Of course last season’s Champion Barcelona were eliminated by fellow La Liga side Athletico on a controversial no hand call in the box in the last 5 minutes of play.  (Man I wish they could figure out Re-Play in Soccer somehow – I’m still hoping MLS tests that soon).  Anyway the final pairings have Man City facing Real Madrid (Hat Trick Man Renaldo) and Athletico hosting Bayern Munich to start the first legs Apr 26/2, the Final is May 28 in Milan, Italy. Europa Cup action had Liverpool fans jumping as they scored 3 huge goals in the last 15 minutes to upset Dortmund and advance to the Semi-Finals.

The Leagues In Europe are wrapping up their seasons with PSG and Juventus running away with the French League 1, and Italian Serie A respectively. Bayern Munich holds a 7 pt lead on Dortmund in the German Bundesliga.  It’s the EPL and Spain’s La Liga where things are heating up- Barcelona’s lead has slipped to just 1 game and 3 pts over Athletico and 4 over Real Madrid.  Meanwhile, the GREATEST UPSET IN SPORTS IN THE LAST 50 YEARS Maybe – In the English Premier League – little Leicester City holds a 7 pt (that’s over 2 games) lead over Tottenham, Arsenal (59), Man City (57) hold a slim lead over Man United (53), West Ham (52), Southhampton (50) and Liverpool (48) for Champions League (top 4) and Europa League (top 6) spots.

Closer to home MLS, is just a few weeks in, and of course our Indy 11 are on to week 3 of the season and haven’t lost a game yet.  The 1-1 tie on the road at Tampa Bay was followed by a last second goal saving tie 1-1 last weekend in the home opener.  We should know more about this Indy 11 team after Saturday night’s battle with NASL defending champs NY Cosmos.  I plan to be on hand in the BYB section making noise – tickets still available.  Speaking of Indy 11 don’t forget Carmel FC night on May 7, 7:30 pm for Indy 11 vs Edmonton –ask your manager about group discount tickets in the special Carmel FC Section.

CFC_bebravebrooks

A great night to be part of Carmel FC soccer club as Coach Mark Stumpf helped set up a ‪#‎bebraveBrooks Fundraiser to help raise money for Brooks Blackmore, a 6 yr old Carmel boy who is fighting for his life right now against cancer!!  The U 11 and U12 Girls players, coaches, and families came out in support of the event -8 teams & 4 games = Total amount raised: $1826.04!!!!  Special thanks to Dynamo FC, for putting in a team – Coach Tom’s U11 Girls -They not only helped us get a 4th game in, but also raised $251 on their own!!  Special thanks to Mark, the parents who helped volunteer, Lisa Martin for setting things up on the U12 side and all the parents and kids who donated.   ‪#‎bebraveBrooks   https://www.facebook.com/BeBraveBrooks/?fref=nf

 Buy One/Get One Free This Saturday at Chipotle Mexican Grills Nationwide – Just wear your Soccer Uniform in Sat, Apr 16 (Kids 14 and Younger only)

GAMES THIS WEEK ON TV                                                                                                                 Sat, Apr 16

7:30 am NBCSN            Norwich vs Sunderland

9:30 am Fox Sp 2        Leverkusen vs Frankfurt

10:00 a.m., NBCSN     Manchester United vs. Aston Villa
10:00 a.m., USA            Everton vs. Southampton
10:00 a.m., Live Extra: Newcastle United vs. Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion vs. Watford
12:30 p.m., NBC          Chelsea vs. Manchester City (Arlo White/Robbie Mustoe)

12:30 pm Fox                Bayern Munich vs Schalke 04

7:30 pm  YES                  Columbus Crew vs NYCFC

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

Sun, Apr 17

8:30 a.m., NBCSN       Leicester City vs. West Ham United (Arlo White and Robbie Earle)
8:30 a.m Live Extra:  Bournemouth vs. Liverpool

9:30 am fox Sp 1         Dortmund vs Hamburg
11:00 a.m., NBCSN    Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace
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

COPA AMERICA 100 –GAMES IN CHICAGO

INDY 11

Matchday Preview vs NY Cosmos

Indy Star Preview

Indy 11 BYB- Indy 11 – Talking Tactics with Carmel FC Coach Josh Mason

Indy 11 Ads Jamaican Striker

This 89th minute goal Salvages Tie for Indy 11 in home opener

11 Survive the Cold in Home Opener for Tie vs Last Season runner Up-Bloody Shambles

Indy 11 Salvage Point from Home Opener Indy sports Report

3 Take Aways Ottawa vs Indy 11 – home Opener – Midfield Press

Indy 11 Draw 1-1 in Season Opener – Kevin Johnston Indystar

Indy 11 Recap 1-1

Kicking it With the BYB from Indy Star Sat

Indy 11 to train at Grand Park

Wine and Cheese Night, Bring a Used Soccer Ball to donate to Sat Night Game

Champions League + Europa

Champ League Predictions

Man City offer Discount on UCL tickets after backlash

Man Cities Road to 1st ever Semi Finals

DeBruynes tally leads Man City to Victory

Renaldo Hat Trick Leads to Real Comeback Win

Zidane claims Renaldo is the Best in the World

Athletico knock out Barcelona espn fc

Barcelona Season Might End Incomplete

Athletico knocks out Champs

Greizmann leads Athletico

Bayern Munich tie Benefica to squeek thru to Semis on Aggregate

Bayern Advances

Renaldo Dah Wins Player of the Week

Around the World in Soccer –

Liverpools Miracle at Anfield

Crowd Carriers Reds Thru

Liverpools draws Seinna

CR 7 is Magistarial in Hat Trick Magical Win + Advance to Semi’s

Pretty Cool Trailer before the game

EPL

Leicester City Claudio Renieri First hand account of Season of Dreams – ThePlayersTribune.com

How Tottenham could spoil Leicester’s Quest SI

Man City must bring focus back to EPL Spot

Weekend EPL News

Everton in Peril

Leicester City the Dream Continues =- Grant Wahl

MLS

Vicious Nigel DeJong Tackle may put US and Portland Midfielder out for months?

Darlington Nagbe Injury and its impact on MLS

Kaka Player of the Week

MLS Power Rankings, De Jong Suspension – SI

Columbus Crew host NYCFC on YES Sat 7:30 pm

USA

Wood’s Scores, Pulisic Starts for Dortmund

What is Klinsmann thinking – US Soccer Players

Playing the Attendance Game with Pro Soccer in the USA

Kickin’ It With The BYB: Eleven, Cosmos quite the draw

 IndyStar Sports, sports@indystar.com1:12 p.m. EDT April 15, 2016

Two games into the season, and the Indy Eleven have two draws in the ledger.f history is any indicator, expect a draw again Saturday when the Eleven welcome the New York Cosmos to Carroll Stadium at 7:30 p.m. New York and Indy have faced off six times. And all six games have ended in a draw.The Cosmos are atop the North American Soccer League standings with two wins in two games. Scorers of five goals already, New York will test Indy’s newly-steeled defense. Here are three things to know courtesy of the Eleven’s supporters group, The Brickyard Battalion:

COSMOS STILL HAVE NAME RECOGNITION.

The Cosmos are one of the most historic teams not only in the NASL, but all of North America. While the current version of the Cosmos is a far cry from the 1970s club that featured soccer royalty Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia, the Cosmos still trot out some of the league’s most recognizable names.”The talent on this team is always top notch, accented by Nico Kranjcar and Jairo Arrieta,” said BYB president Joshua Mason. “But the man to watch based on current form is Juan Arango. Already with two goals and one assist in the first two games, the former Venezuelan national team captain, who also played in Spain and Mexico’s top leagues, still knows how to find the back of the net at 35 years old.”

WHAT’S NEW?

How about some defense?During the Eleven’s inaugural 2014 season, a leaky D allowed 46 goals in 27 regular season matches. In 2015, the club gave up 48 goals in 30 games.So far, through two matches under new manager Tim Hankinson, the Eleven have only conceded once. Not bad for a team with basically an entirely revamped starting lineup.”Generally we defend pretty well,” Hankinson said. “That’s going to keep us in games in most cases.”Last week, midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic limped off with a hamstring injury midway through the second half and was replaced by former Indiana University standout Dylan Mares. Mares will likely slide into Ubiparipovic’s attacking midfield role in Saturday’s starting lineup.”Dylan held his own last week really pressing forward, and is not new to starting for the Eleven,” Mason said. “It also demonstrates how much deeper this bench is versus previous years, as coach wants a strong, healthy level of competition.”Mares, a Zionsville grad who led the Eleven with five goals a season ago, is one of only three players remaining from Indy’s 2014 opening day roster.Earlier this week, the Eleven, in search of more offensive firepower, added Jamaican forward Omar Gordon on loan from Montego Bay United in Jamaica. The 24-year-old led the Jamaican Red Stripe Premier League in scoring a season ago with 18 goals.

THE WEATHER WILL BE FANTASTIC. 

Despite 30-degree temperatures and flirting with snow, the Eleven drew more than 9,000 fans to last week’s home opener. With Saturday’s forecast of mid-70s temperatures, The BYB expects a sell out and people lining the roof of the parking garage across the street. To those who arrive early to tailgate, The BYB will introduce a new game to the masses: Futpong. What is Futpong? Imagine ping pong and soccer, played with a size one ball and hitting it over a small net.”This week you really have no excuse not to fill the stands, and its wine and cheese night,” Mason said. “So go get your finest red and blue ascot, smoking jacket, and GET TO THE GAME!”

CHARITY PARTICIPATION:  Slaughterhouse-19, one of the BYB affiliate groups will be collecting gently used purses and toiletries for a non-profit called “Project Purse.” These purses are then filled with toiletries and are given to women in need. These will be collected at the BYB tailgate area.IndyStar correspondent Kevin Johnston contributed to this story.For more on The Brickyard Battalion visit the group’s website and follow them on Twitter: @The_BYB.

 

GAMEDAY PREVIEW: #INDVNYC

Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview  Indy Eleven vs. New York Cosmos
Saturday, April 16, 2016 – 7:30 p.m. ET  Michael A. Carroll Stadium – Indy Eleven

MEDIA GAME NOTES:

TICKETS:

  • Seats as low as $11 still available – CLICK HERE
  • $22 Wine & Cheese package, featuring ISU Networking Night – CLICK HERE

WATCH LIVE:

  • Local TV: WISH-TV 8
  • National TV: ONE World Sports
  • Online: www.ONEWorldSports.com
  • Watch Parties: Union Jack Pub, Chatham Tap, St. Joseph’s Brewery

LISTEN LIVE:

“Death. Taxes. Draw the Cosmos.”

As Monday’s tax deadline and Saturday’s first meeting of 2016 between Indy Eleven and New York approaches, that phrase adopted by the Indy faithful couldn’t be any timelier. The two sides have vast differences in many metrics, but when it comes to the results on the field it’s been split right down the middle every time, with all six prior meetings ending in ties, including a trio of 1-1 affairs last season.Both teams will look to break that mold when the first of their three match-ups in 2016 occurs at “The Mike” on Saturday. While there are no “must-win” games in Week 3 of a season, if Indy Eleven is to seriously contend for the Spring Season title at will at the very least need another draw against the front-running Cosmos. However, a breakthrough win would not only keep “Indiana’s Team” within distance of New York and the co-leading Carolina RailHawks – both on a maximum six points from their first two games – but it would also count as a “statement win” the side has long been looking for.
Last Time Out – Indy 1 : 1 Ottawa

In their first home match of the season, the “Boys in Blue” fought out to a draw with Ottawa Fury FC in chilly conditions at Carroll Stadium. After a scoreless opening first 45 minutes, the second half saw both goals as Fury FC found the back of the net first. Just over ten minutes in from the break, the deadlock was broken by Israeli striker Idan Vered.  The Red Star Belgrade signing broke through the center of the defense to get on the end of a great service from Jonny Steele on the heels of a counter-attack to put the visitors one-up. As the pressure mounted on Ottawa’s goal, the Eleven maintained their press and pushed the Fury defense further and further into their own territory. In the 89th minute, left back Nemanja Vuković found his way towards the near post and stuck a foot on the end of a bouncing ball, which came about when Ottawa ‘keeper Romuald Peiser’s made a low save of Greg Janicki’s header inside the six.
Continuity in Question

Through two games this season, Indy Eleven has allowed just a single goal with the same eleven on the pitch to start both matches. However, against Fury FC, Sinisa Ubiparipovic limped off with a hamstring injury, making it likely there will be at least one fresh face in the first XI to kick things off when the league leaders visit the Circle City on Saturday.
Defense Rules the Day

What remains constant is the effort from the Indy Eleven back five, including ‘keeper Jon Busch, as they are one of just four teams to have let in a goal or less in the opening 180 minutes. The resulting 0.50 goals allowed clip is tied with Tampa Bay for second in the NASL through Week 2 – behind only this weekend’s opposition, with the Cosmos posting clean sheets in each of their first two affairs. Indy’s defensive moxie will be put to the test against the high-flying Cosmos, whose attack led by Jairo Arrieta has put up a league-best five goals through two rounds.
Who to Watch, Indy Eleven edition: FW Eamon Zayed

In Indy Eleven’s first two games, Zayed has gone hungry up top, getting just 23 and 21 touches against Tampa Bay and Ottawa, respectively. There is no one culprit on the “Boys in Blue” responsible for feeding the big Irishman at the point of the team’s 4-2-3-1 attack – only one player (Justin Braun in the opener) has completed more than one pass to Zayed in a match – so it will take a collective effort to get the job done. It will be interesting to see, should the trend continue early on, if he’ll drop deeper and deeper to get into the game or if he’ll remain higher up the field to keep the Cosmos center backs honest.
Who to Watch, New York Cosmos edition: MF Juan Arango

While names like Nico Kranjcar and Jairo Arrieta might be more familiar to American fans of the beautiful game, perhaps the biggest threat among the Cosmos newcomers this offseason is Arango. Boasting two goals and one assist in two games, the former Venezuelan National Team captain and performer with Spanish La Liga side Mallorca and Liga MX’s Xolos de Tijuana still very clearly packs a punch at 35 years of age.A true attacking threat, Arango is known more for his ability to get forward than his distribution but has the ability to produce a peach of a pass at the drop of a hat. His two goals have him level for second in the league with teammate Adam Moffat and just behind Railhawks midfielder Austin da Luz, who leads the league with three.Look for Arango to try and exploit the space in front of the Eleven defense, leaving the task of marking him to midfielders Brad Ring and Nicki Paterson, who have impressed in their own right so far.
Match-up to Mark: Indy GK Jon Busch v. New York Attackers

Jon Busch arrived in Indianapolis just ahead of the 2016 season after 14 years in MLS, but had just one thing on his mind – winning a trophy. So far, Busch has been huge for “Indiana’s Team,” making three saves and numerous other massive plays on the ball in the season opener against Tampa Bay and doing his part in last week’s home opener against Ottawa.Now stands his biggest NASL test so far – facing the attack-laden lineup of Cosmos looking to continue their scoring ways. Speaking highly of the defense in front of him this week, Busch knows that he’ll get a good amount of help – but even the best defense can’t totally clamp down on New York for 90 minutes, so he’ll need to come up big on some occasions keep Indy Eleven’s stout defensive numbers intact for another week.
2015 Overview vs. New York Cosmos: 0W-3D-0L

IND 1 : 1 NYC – April 11, 2015 – Indy Eleven opened up the 2015 home slate at Carroll Stadium against the New York Cosmos in the first of three one-all stalemates that year. After drawing even with the Atlanta Silverbacks a week prior, the focus shifted to securing three points at home – and things looked bright early. Brian Brown opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Cosmos ‘keeper Jimmy Maurer took one too many steps away from home while clearing his lines, and the ball found its way to the feet of the Jamaican, who took a touch before lobbing an effort inside the right post from 30 yards out. However, in the 65th minute, the legend known as “Raúl” fired home a header from close range to bring the tally to 1-1. A brief chance in the 78th minute came towards striker Charlie Rugg, but his contested effort sailed over the crossbar and the match ended even. Theme continued.

NYC 1 : 1 IND – July 5, 2015 – An early July encounter on Long Island to open the Fall Season, the Cosmos and “Boys in Blue” again couldn’t find a winner in the fifth tie in as many meetings. Again “Indiana’s Team” went ahead first as Wojciech Wojcik put a stronghold on the match after collecting a forced clearance and flushing on a volley from 12 yards out. The unwritten rule of a one-goal limit was nearly broken by the Eleven just a few minutes later when midfielder Dylan Mares popped a free kick across to the far post, but Duke Lacroix could only force a fantastic save out of netminder Jimmy Maurer, who forced the effort over the top of the bar.The Cosmos’ equalizer would come from Walter Restrepo in the 78th minute when he absorbed a through pass on the right side of the pitch to rifle an effort at Nicht. The big German would get a strong hand on it, but the rebound ricocheted back off Restrepo’s head and into the back of the net to level the score. Then came New York’s opportunity to break the deadlock in the 88th minute when Sebastián Guenzatti stuck out a leg to finish a cross from Marcos Senna, but after consulting the linesman the head official called the goal back and ruled Guenzatti as offside. After a tense five minutes of stoppage – played without the late-ejected Indy interim skipper Tim Regan on the bench – the full-time whistle blew and the pair once again settled for a point apiece. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

IND 1 : 1 NYC – July 25, 2015 – It was less than three weeks later that the two would meet, this time back in the Hoosier State at Michael A. Carroll Stadium. As over 10K packed into “The Mike” once more, a set of two goals separated by a couple minutes of first half stoppage time would settle the match. The Cosmos capitalized first as Raul played through Walter Restrepo, and the Colombian picked up his second goal of the year against “Indiana’s Team” having placed an effort between Nicht and the far post. On the ensuing kickoff, momentum would swing back in favor of the “Boys in Blue” when Dylan Mares took a streamlined pass from Dragan Stojkov down in the area and fired low into the right side netting with his left boot. Both sides would have chances in the second half that did not come to fruition. The final 45 minutes weren’t without excitement though as both Erick Norales and Sebastian Guenzatti saw red for trading blows, and the 1-1 score that held at full-time would be the third of the 2015 season. Same old, same old … a familiar result.

Talking Tactics: Indy Eleven v Ottawa Fury FC

Doug Starnes dissects Saturday’s draw against Ottawa Fury FC. As always, you can follow Doug and/or shake your fist at him on Twitter at @GrassInTheSky1.

If you braved the weather Saturday to support Indy Eleven at The Mike, good on you. I’m sure a win would have warmed your bones a little more than did the draw, but imagine how cold you would have felt had Nemanja Vukovic not smashed home that equalizer? Hoth cold, that’s how cold.The match was interesting in that it forced Indy to chase a goal by changing their formation and tactics. In so doing, Hankinson may have discovered some useful alternatives to the way the team has thus far been set up to begin matches. I’m not suggesting that the 4-2-3-1 will suddenly be scrapped in favor of a more attacking formation, but their were a number of adjustments to the side in the second half Saturday – in role, personnel, and formation – that jump started the Eleven’s attack and led to the late goal.

4-2-3-1 Status Report

I imagine not a small number of Eleven supporters are unconvinced that this formation is the best way forward (pun intended). Through two-and-a-half matches, the 4-2-3-1 (with an unchanged lineup) has not produced much of substance in attack. It’s been difficult for the team to combine with Éamon Zayed and much of the team’s attacking play has centered around playing Duke Lacroix in down the flank and then trying to catch up. With Brad Ring and Nicki Paterson playing as dual pivots, the numbers getting into the attacking third in a timely manner are somewhat limited. On Saturday, Paterson seemed to have a little more license to get forward – he was even the Eleven player closest to the goal in the 18th minute when Braun’s header led to a half chance inside the Ottawa six-yard box – but that amount of box-to-box running is tough to maintain and can lead to dangerous counterattacking moments if your team is not especially adept at maintaining possession in transition.The real problem for Indy in the current 4-2-3-1 is that they cannot bring their front four players into the match in any meaningful or consistent way. With limited options going forward, opponents can sit in their defensive shape and let Indy give them back the ball with forced passes or long balls.

Long story short, I’d expect the 4-2-3-1, or at least its current iteration, to be on a fairly short leash.

Ottawa Goal

Expanding on my previous point regarding Nicki Paterson getting forward more in Saturday’s match, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. In the Tampa Bay match, with Paterson and Ring sitting behind the front four as dedicated numbers six, it’s much easier for the two of them to balance one another and keep the game in front of them. With Paterson playing more like a number eight on Saturday, Ring had a more complicated job with concern to balancing Paterson, especially in transition moments.On Ottawa’s goal, as Julian de Guzman switched fields from Indy’s right to left with a square pass to Rafael Alves, Ring made a bending run through the center circle from right to left as he started to follow the next ball from Alves to Idan Vered. In the Tampa Bay match, with Ring and Paterson playing as dual sixes, one could reasonably expect Paterson to be sitting behind Ring in a more central position. On Saturday, as Ring started to make his recovery run, he realized too late that Paterson was in fact just as high as he was and well to the Indy’s left. Because of this, Vered was able to play Gerardo Bruna, who had ghosted into the space behind Ring and Paterson, with the killer pass of the move.

Pardon my weak Photoshop game, but bear with me. The arrow line marks Rings recovery run and the “X” represents Paterson.

So far, the 4-2-3-1 has been tough to break down, but if the answer is to allow Paterson license to play box-to-box, Indy will be perhaps more prone to exposure in transition moments than they might otherwise be with a tweak of formation or the roles of the front four players.

Dylan Mares? Or Two Strikers?

Ubiparipović’s completed passes and key passes.

It’s unfortunate that Siniša Ubiparipović picked up a hamstring injury and had to leave the match at the beginning of the second half, but Dylan Mares stepped in and arguably became the most influential player in the match. If you compare Ubiparipović’s statistics to those of Mares, the difference is interesting.

Ubiparipović:

51 minutes played

22 touches

9/11 passing

1 Chance created

Pass direction – 18.2% forward, 36.4% left, 36.4% right, 9.1% backwards

Mares:

Mares’s completed passes and key passes.

39 minutes played

28 touches

14/18 passing

1 chance created

Pass direction – 38.9% forward, 11.1% left, 22.2% right, 27.8 backwards

I’ve bolded what I believe to be the really important statistic here, but there are others that are certainly worth noting. The fact that Mares had more touches and was on the ball more than Ubiparipović in fairly significantly fewer minutes is interesting.Before you get all “Team Ubi” or “Team Mares” on me, let’s talk about what those statistics actually reflect. I don’t believe it’s that Mares is a more dynamic attacking player than is Ubiparipović. They’re both good, but they bring different skills and abilities to the match.If you look closely at Mares’s statistics, he didn’t really start to catch fire until around the 70th minute. Prior to that, Mares was a straight swap for Ubiparipović in the 4-2-3-1 and he didn’t do much. In the 63rd minute, Jair Reinoso came on for Justin Braun and things started to get interesting. This, however, was not a straight swap. Indy shifted their formation to accommodate Reinoso as a second striker and moved into a 4-4-2 with Mares playing on the right side of a midfield diamond that included Brad Ring at the base, Nicki Paterson at the point, and Duke Lacroix on the left. Suddenly there were options forward and Indy started to look more dangerous.In the 74th minute, Don Smart came on for Duke Lacroix and another formation shift followed. Vukovic and Smart became left and right wing backs, respectively, and Mares was moved to a number ten role behind Reinoso and Zayed. In this role, he staked a legitimate claim to player of the game. I think Ubiparipović would have as well.

Average starting positions for Indy Eleven prior to any change.

Average starting positions of the substitutes compared to the starting Eleven.

The shift worth noting – and I think what Hankinson will be mulling over moving forward – was the addition of a second striker. Whether in a 4-4-2 or a 3-5-2, a second threat playing off of Zayed opened up many more options in advance of the midfield that simply were not there in the Tampa Bay match and much of the game versus Ottawa.

Takeaways

This is a work in progress, but I’m sure Hankinson took some valuable lessons from Saturday’s match with concern to Indy’s attacking play. It’s likely too early in the season to completely scrap some form of the 4-2-3-1, but the danger Indy presented once they shifted to a two forward system cannot be denied. If the team continues to struggle to create chances in the 4-2-3-1 with which they’ve started the first two matches of the season, the systems deployed at the end of Saturday’s match will likely inform any changes that are made.

Eleven survive, don’t thrive, on cold night against Ottawa. Indy Eleven V Ottawa Fury Review (4/09/16)

By: Caleb Ramp – Bloody Shambles

“Not the three points we were after, but it’s good to see our team not [lie] down and keep the fight to the end.”
Coach Hankinson’s post-game comments epitomize the mixed emotion of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Ottawa Fury. The opportunity for a statement victory may not have been realized, but a statement was still made: a statement that this team, while still a work in progress, is resilient.2014 and 2015 Indy Eleven don’t draw that game. When Ottawa — who were kept in relative check by Indy’s stout defense — open the scoring in the second half, previous iterations of this squad crumble.his team didn’t.
That Nemanja Vukovic — the man who lost his mark at the back post on Ottawa’s goal (and admitted as much after the game) — was the same who brought the Eleven level, is a poetic microcosm of the side’s ability to overcome adversity: an important trait if they’re to make a legitimate playoff push.Among the positive takeaways, Jair Reinoso continues to impress. His technical proficiency and comfort on the ball were evident again after coming on for a less-than-impressive Justin Braun in the 63rd minute. Once fully fit, it’s hard to imagine the Colombian isn’t a staple starter.
Dylan Mares also stepped in admirably for Indy maestro Sinisa Ubiparipovic. Indy’s #10 exited in the 51st minute with a hamstring injury, and will be evaluated during the week to determine his availability for this week’s match against the Cosmos. I was critical of Dylan during the preseason: he was taking too many touches and ignoring the easy pass. He would dribble into opponents and summarily be dispossessed. Saturday he showed flashes of the player which led the team in assists in 2015. He needed a few minutes to get settled (earning a deserved yellow card almost instantly), but Vukovic’s equalizer wouldn’t have been possible without an intelligent pass which split two defenders and put Don Smart in a position to swing the deciding ball into the box.
Consistent possession continues to be a struggle, however. “Players are standing and not taking good care of the ball,” Hankinson said after the game. “When you do that, you’re going to give the ball away often enough where all you can do is defend.”Indy finished with less than 50% of possession for the second time in as many games.

Random Thoughts and Opinions:

 

  • Miscommunication continued on crosses and angled balls into the box. There were multiple occasions when an excellent ball was played toward the back post, but the attacking player had made an ill-advised cut to the inside (into traffic).
  • Width is still an issue. Zayed was left on an island several times and was forced to take the ball outside himself and attempt  to put a dangerous ball in the box.  He should be on the end of these, not trying to generate them. Statistically, he finished with three crosses, while starting outside attacking midfielders Justin Braun and Duke LaCroix both finished without even one.

 

James Cormack’s Take:

We seem to be having a real problem with transition between defense and attack. We are still defending very well indeed, but even more so this week the ball is not coming out of the back well.

We are sitting way to deep for long periods in the game, Hankinson likes players to drop back and cover rather than chase and get tired, but I think on evidence of the first two games we are now perhaps over indulging in this tactic.Towards the end of the first half we are defending corners with 11 players. Zayed is having to try and make a break from 15 to 20 yards inside our own half with nobody in front of him. Ubiparipović again is way too far back to help build a meaningful attack.The 4-2-3-1 is good in theory, but our players don’t seem to be understanding it so far, we are not using the corners or getting crosses in nor are we stretching the other team with this formation so far. We get very few crosses in and when we do there are not enough players on the end to make a difference. All I see from this setup and the way we are playing it so far is we don’t let a lot of goals in. That’s it.As most people know, the longer you go without scoring the higher the chance is the other team will score first. We have to be that team that scores first and not put ourselves in a position to require two goals for a win. We gave Ottawa too much respect, they were okay but not fantastic, we made them look better.We pulled it back, this will be a huge point looking back on it. It should not have come to that but it would have been very disappointing to lose this game. It is early enough in the season where we can recover from things like this. The most positive thing for me in the game was Coach Hankinson’s willingness to change the tactics and formation not once but twice during the game. Switching to a 4-4-2 and then moving to a back three and pushing Vukovic forward showed both he and the team would not give up. This is something we have completely lacked in previous years. Historically we have never had a clue how to adapt during a game, this is very encouraging to me. Hankinson is also highly active during games and very animated, I also like that!Very impressed with our defense again, Falvey and Janicki were superb. We seem to have that part of our game under control. I admired Lacroix for probably being the most aggressive player in the first half and Mares and Reinoso for showing the same aggression in the second. Reinoso looks like a real handful, I think he will be starting games real soon.Keep up to date with all things Shambles at BloodyShambles.Com, you can follow us on twitter@Bloody_Shambles

 

INDY ELEVEN TAKE A POINT FROM HOME OPENER

Mark D. Anderson | April 10, 2016 | Indy Eleven | No Comments

INDIANAPOLIS- The “Boys in Blue” played a thriller in front of over 9,000 fans at Michael A. Carroll stadium on a brisk Saturday night.  Ottawa Fury scored in the 56′ off an Idan Vered run.  Thirty more minutes of tense play with numerous opportunities for the Eleven finally sawNemanja Vuković net Indy’s first goal of the year.  The draw gives Indy two points out of two games.  Their next game is also at home next Saturday to the dreaded New York Cosmos.

Vuković Giveth and Vuković Taketh Away
Nemanja has had an eventful season with the Eleven so far.  He was second only to central midfielder Nicki Paterson in touches against Ottawa with 59.  His strong, physical presence has augmented Indy’s back four, making their defense one of the best in the league to date.  Vered scored for Ottawa while Vuković was caught ballwatching and beaten on the backside, but Vuković’s perseverance forward and dedication to following the play helped the team build pressure and resulted in a dramatic goal in the 89′ after a cross from super-sub Don Smart.

Eamon on an Island
Indy played a 4-2-3-1 with Eamon Zayed the lone striker.  Zayed does well in his movement and played in a dangerous cross nearly resulting in a Duke LaCroix goal on a back-post run early in the first half, but often he looks to be alone up top.  Either he needs to be stronger in holding up the ball, more decisive on when to attack, or the midfield needs to be more patient in distributing to him when he’s in need of support.

Captain Falvey and Unstoppable Paterson
Colin Falvey wore the captain’s band for the Eleven on Saturday; a well-deserved honor for the center back.  Nicki Paterson showed his work-ethic being seemingly everywhere on the field.  He led the team with 64 touches on the ball and nearly equalized with a shot in the second half.

Noteworthy
Jair Reinoso came on in the 63′ minute and provided positive minutes for the second straight game.  The Colombian striker, signed last week, has shown more poise in the final third than anyone on the team.  Coach Hankinson will need to weigh whether the offensive capabilities of Reinoso are valued over the defensive and aerial abilities of Justin Braun.

Siniša Ubiparipović went off with a hamstring injury in the 51′.  His injury will be re-evaluated Monday.  Eleven fans hope to see their most creative player back on the field soon.

Indy Eleven: 3 Take Aways from Ottawa

ByLogan David AyersonApril 10, 2016

On a fantastically cold spring night at the “Mike” The Indy Eleven took on 2015 NASL Fall Champions in week 2 of the NASL Spring Season.  The match was built up to be a closer one with the Eleven coming in off a 0-0 draw to the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and the Fury coming off a devastating loss to the Champions New York Cosmos away last week. The Eleven would improve with 2 points following the 1-1 draw setting them up for a fantastic show down with the New York Cosmos at Michael A. Carroll Stadium, under the lights next Saturday at 7:30 PM ET. Here are a few take aways from the match from our editors.

  1. The Brickyard Battalion’s tifo game is on point:

The Brickyard Battalion show cased an awesome tifo last night depicting the Indianapolis Flag with banners saying “Back Home Again” paying homage to the famous Hoosier Classic “Back Home Again in Indiana” composed by Ballard MacDonald and James F. Hanley. The song is most famously played at the Indianapolis 500 every year before the race. Jim Nabors made the song famous beginning in the 1970’s.  (Listen to Jim Nabors’ version of the song here)

  1. Possession Possession Possession 

Possession was key to the success in this match which made it go both sides in the first half alone there was 8 shots from both sides of the ball. In the 59th Minute Idan Vered scored for Ottawa assisted by Jonny Steele making the Eleven struggle until the final 20 minutes when Nemanja Vuković would equalize giving the Eleven the draw.

  1. Offsides killed the Eleven 

Multiple offsides calls were made against the Eleven in this match. Many times the Club would attack the flanks to get the ball into the box to attack on goal. This of course is a good strategy but it can hurt the team with offsides calls, giving the opposing team a chance to begin a new attack. Sometimes when the Club scores it can not be counted due to offsides calls. Of course if this was the case otherwise the Eleven would have won the match 2-1.

Contributor’s Thoughts: 

I believe the Eleven has done fairly well thus far in their 2016 Spring Season Campaign. The Club’s overhaul is definitely showing it’s worth and Tim Hankinson is definitely proving to be the figure the Eleven needs to be successful this season. When it comes to the last few matches it’s important to remember we are facing the 2015 “Big 3” with Tampa Bay, Ottawa (2015 NASL Runner Ups), and the New York Cosmos (2015 NASL Champions).  2 Draws is definitely a good start to the Club’s Campaign and a win against the Cosmos would be HUGE for the club. Tim Hankinson said in the post match press conference “In order to be the Champions we must beat the Champions” Which should add a little fuel to the fire as the Eleven prepares to host the New York Cosmos next week. At the end of it all the Fans also had a major victory last night with 9,000+ Fans in attendance along with a fantastic tifo presentation by the Brickyard Battalion it will only get better from here.

Match Notes: (Courtesy of Indy Eleven) 

Scoring Summary:
OTT – Idan Vered (Jonny Steele) 56’
IND – Nemanja Vuković (unassisted) 89’

Discipline Summary:
OTT – Jonny Steele (caution) 18’
IND – Dylan Mares (caution) 55’
IND – Nicki Paterson (caution) 66’
OTT – Gerardo Bruna (caution) 83’
OTT – Dennis Chin (caution) 84’
Line ups: (including substitutions) 

Indy Eleven line-up (4-2-3-1, L–>R):  Jon Busch; Nemanja Vuković, Greg Janicki, Colin Falvey (capt), Lovel Palmer; Nicki Paterson, Brad Ring; Duke Lacroix (Don Smart 74’), Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Dylan Mares 51’), Justin Braun (Jair Reinoso 63’); Eamon Zayed

Eleven Substitutes: Keith Cardona (GK), Marco Franco, Cory Miller, Gorka Larrea

Ottawa Fury FC line up (4-3-3): Romuald Peiser; Marcel de Jong, Timbo, Rafael Alves, Kyle Porter; Jonny Steele (Lance Rozeboom 79’), Julian de Guzman (capt) (Mauro Eustaquio 84’), James Bailey; Paulo Junior, Gerardo Bruna, Idan Vered (Dennis Chin 71’)

Ottawa Substitutes: Andrew MacRae (GK), Mozzi Gyorio, Carl Haworth, Bryan Olivera

Next week the Indy Eleven will take on defending NASL champion New York Cosmos at “The Mike” for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff (live on WISH-TV, ONE World Sports and http://www.ONEWorldSports.com).

Indy Eleven open home season with 1-1 draw

Kevin Johnston, IndyStar correspondent9:06 a.m. EDT April 10, 2016

The Indy Eleven opened their 2016 North American Soccer League home slate Saturday night with a 1-1 draw against Ottawa Fury FC on an unseasonably chilly evening at Michael A. Carroll Stadium.First-year manager Tim Hankinson trotted out the same starting 11 that he used in the season opener — in his trusted 4-2-3-1 formation. In the first half, the Fury got the better of the run of play, out-possessing Indy 63 percent to 37 percent, but the Eleven generated the more dangerous scoring opportunities. Hankinson’s characterization of the first half wasn’t exactly glowing.“It just seems like players are standing and not taking good care of the ball, and when you do that you’re going to give the ball away often enough that all you can do is defend,” he said. “And we found ourselves defending a lot in the last part of the first half.“Obviously the possession has got to be better. There was a period of about 20 minutes in the first half when (midfielder) Sinisa (Ubiparipovic) never saw the ball,” he added.Ottawa opened the scoring in the 56th minute when forward Idan Vered collected a pass from midfielder Jonny Steele and buried the ball in the bottom right corner past Eleven goalkeeper Jon Busch. Indy immediately cranked up the pressure in the attacking third and showed a sense of urgency to equalize.The hosts nearly did so in the 78th minute when midfielder Nicki Paterson fired a right-footed shot toward goal, but it sailed just over the crossbar. Finally, the Eleven tied the match 1-1 in the 89th minute when defender Nemanja Vukovic put away a rebound after a shot on goal by fellow defender Greg Janicki.The Eleven defense again turned in a sharp performance with 13 interceptions after producing a clean sheet and an NASL-leading 23 interceptions in the season opener against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Indy defender and captain Colin Falvey, who played for Ottawa last season, described the importance of having cohesion on defense.“If you want to get clean sheets and be defensively solid, I think it comes from your shape and your structure, and the way that you’re going to play,” he said. “I think our system and some of the personnel that we have is going to help us be very, very competitive and very compact and making sure we’re in games.”On the injury front, Ubiparipovic was replaced by Dylan Mares in the 51st minute due to a hamstring injury. He will be re-evaluated by the club Monday. Hankinson confirmed that Mares is in contention to start in the central attacking midfield spot if Ubiparipovic is unable to go next weekend.“(Mares) did a good job tonight so he’ll be in strong consideration,” Hankinson said.Despite the less-than-ideal weather, the home opener produced a solid turnout with an announced attendance of 9,104. The Eleven will look to nab their first win when they return to Carroll Stadium on Saturday to host the defending NASL champion New York Cosmos.

Nemanja Vukovic’s Late Goal Gives Indy Eleven Draw with Ottawa

89th Minute Equalizer Brings “Class of ‘14” Reunion with Fury FC to 1-1 Conclusion in Home Opener  INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, April 9, 2016) – Ottawa Fury FC looked destined to spoil Indy Eleven’s home opener by taking the full three points out of IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium, but Indy defender Nemanja Vukovic’s 89th minute rebound goal forced a share of the spoils from a 1-1 draw in front of 9,104 fans in downtown Indianapolis. Ottawa forward Idan Vered opened his Fury FC account in the 56th minute to put the visitors ahead – and nearly for good, until Vukovic’s late tally evened the “Class of 2014” reunion.Indy Eleven would come out the aggressor in its home debut, pushing forward well in the opening 20 minutes. The best look for the “Boys in Blue” would come in the 19th minute when winger Justin Braun nodded Sinisa Ubiparipovic’s cross to the back post, the shot bouncing just wide left.Ottawa would work its way into attack as the half progressed, but the Canadian club’s shots would come mostly from distance and be blocked before they could challenge Indy goalkeeper Jon Busch. In fact, neither he nor his opposite number, Romuald Peiser, would be forced into a save on any of the teams’ eight combined shots in the first 45 minutes.The second half would open up with an early injury to Indy Eleven midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic, the #10 forced to leave due to a hamstring injury just six minutes into the stanza. Ottawa would go ahead in the 56thminute through Vered on a play that began with nice hold up work by Gerardo Bruna. His post up at the top of the area allowed Jonny Steele to streak into the left side of the area, accepting Bruna’s pass with a first time cross inside the six where Vered was able to redirect home to take the lead.Vuković pressed Peiser into action with a looping ball from the left that forced the Ottawa netminder into a safety-first tip over his bar in the 66th minute, which seemed to spark the Indy attack into life. Nicki Paterson made the home crowd gasp in the 78th minute, when he first-timed a laid off ball at the top of the area, his dipping shot skimming off the top of the crossbar.The pressure would mount on the home side until the release came in front of the Brickyard Battalion a minute from time. The scoring play started when Don Smart’s cross from the left was nodded down by defender Greg Janicki, forcing Peiser into a reaction save. The ball would fall straight to Vuković, who made no mistake with a shot from eight yards out that gave the Eleven their first goal of the season and a hard earned point.he result didn’t allow Indy Eleven (0W-2D-0L, 2 pts.) to notch its first home win against Ottawa (0W-1D-1L, 1 pt.)  in now its fourth try, but it did stop Indy’s three-game losing streak to its expansion mate, which spanned the 2015 season.Indy Eleven will stay in the Circle City for its Spring Season Week 3 affair next Saturday, April 16, when it welcomes the defending NASL champion New York Cosmos to“The Mike” for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff (live on WISH-TV, ONE World Sports and www.ONEWorldSports.com).

We Do Not Dream

CLAUDIO RANIERIMANAGER / LEICESTER CITY

I remember my first meeting with the chairman when I arrived at Leicester City this summer. He sat down with me and said, “Claudio, this is a very important year for the club. It is very important for us to stay in the Premier League. We have to stay safe.”My reply was, “Okay, sure. We’ll work hard on the training ground and try to achieve this.”Forty points. That was the goal. That was the total we needed to stay in the first division, to give our fans another season of Premier League football.Back then, I did not dream that I would open the paper on April 4 and see Leicester City at the top of the table with 69 points. Last year on this same day, the club was at the bottom of the table.Unbelievable.I am 64 years old, so I do not go out much. My wife has been with me for 40 years, so on my off days, I try to stay close to her. We go out to the lake by our house or maybe if we are feeling adventurous we watch a movie. But lately, I have indeed been hearing the noise from all over the world. It is impossible to ignore. I have heard we even have some new supporters in America following us.To you, I say: Welcome to the club. We are happy to have you. I want you to love the way we play football, and I want you to love my players, because their journey is unbelievable.Perhaps you have heard their names now. Players who were considered too small or too slow for other big clubs. N’Golo Kanté. Jamie Vardy. Wes Morgan. Danny Drinkwater. Riyad Mahrez. When I arrived my first day of training and I saw the quality of these players, I knew how good they could be.Well, I knew we had a chance to survive in the Premier League.This player Kanté, he was running so hard that I thought he must have a pack full of batteries hidden in his shorts. He never stopped running in training.I had to tell him, “Hey, N’Golo, slow down. Slow down. Don’t run after the ball every time, okay?”He says to me, “Yes, boss. Yes. Okay.”Ten seconds later, I look over and he’s running again.He’s unbelievable, but he is not the only key. There are too many keys to name in this incredible season.Jamie Vardy, for example. This is not a footballer. This is a fantastic horse. He has a need to be free out there on the pitch. I say to him, “You are free to move however you want, but you must help us when we lose the ball. That’s all I ask of you. If you start to press the opposition, all of your teammates will follow you.”Before we played our first match of the season, I told the players, “I want you to play for your teammates. We are a little team, so we have to fight with all our heart, with all our soul. I don’t care the name of the opponent. All I want is for you to fight. If they are better than us, Okay, congratulations. But they have to show us they are better.”There was a fantastic electricity in Leicester from the very first day. It starts from the chairman and goes to the players, the staff, the fans. It was unbelievable what I felt. In the King Power Stadium, there was a terrific energy.Do the fans sing only when we have the ball? Oh, no, no, no. When we are under pressure, the fans understand our pain and they sing their hearts out. They understand the complexity of the game, and when the players are suffering. They are very, very close to us. We started the season very well. But our goal, I repeat, was to save the club from relegation. The first nine games, we were winning, but we were giving up many goals. We had to score two or three goals to win every game. It concerned me very much.Before every game, I said, “Come on boys, come on. Clean sheet today.”No clean sheet. I tried every motivation.So finally, before the game against Crystal Palace, I said, “Come on boys, come on. I offer you a pizza if you get a clean sheet.”Of course, my players made a clean sheet against Crystal Palace. One-nil.So I stood by our deal and took my players to Peter Pizzeria in Leicester City Square. But I had a surprise for them when we got there. I said, “You have to work for everything. You work for your pizza, too. We will make our own.”So we went into the kitchen with the dough and the cheese and the sauce. We tossed our own pies. It was very good, too. I enjoyed many slices. What can I say? I’m an Italian man. I love my pizza and my pasta.Now, we make a lot of clean sheets. A dozen clean sheets after the pizza, in fact. I think this is no coincidence.We have six games remaining, and we must continue fighting with our heart and our soul. This is a small club that is showing the world what can be achieved through spirit and determination. Twenty-six players. Twenty-six different brains. But one heart.There was a fantastic electricity in Leicester from the very first day. It was unbelievable what I felt.Just a few years ago, many of my players were in the lower leagues. Vardy was working in a factory. Kanté was in the third tier of the French league. Mahrez was in the French fourth division.Now, we are fighting for a title. The Leicester fans I meet in the street tell me they are dreaming. But I say to them, “Okay, you dream for us. We do not dream. We simply work hard.”No matter what happens to end this season, I think our story is important for all football fans around the world. It gives hope to all the young players out there who have been told they are not good enough.RIFFITHS/GETTY IMAGES

They can say to themselves, “How do I arrive at the top level? If Vardy can do this, if Kanté can do this, maybe I can too.”What do you need to arrive?A big name? No.A big contract? No.You just need to keep an open mind, an open heart, a full battery, and run free.Who knows, maybe at the end of the season, we will have two pizza parties.

CLAUDIO RANIERI- Manager leicester city -CONTRIBUTOR

 

USMNT: What Klinsmann is thinking about… as far as we know

Posted on April 7, 2016 | By Charles Boehm

By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (Apr 7, 2016) US Soccer Players – With disaster averted in last week’s World Cup qualifying home win over Guatemala, theUSMNT has returned to club duty until preparations for Copa America begin in late May.The USMNT news cycle, however, has effectively reached 24/7 status, or something close to it, with millions of fans thirsty for content to consume. So the next few weeks of coverage will be marked by running evaluations of the fitness and club form of next month’s most likely call-ups, and speculation about who’s on Jurgen Klinsmann‘s mind and in his plans.How do we know? Because he told us so.Dispensing with the media conference calls of past USMNT regimes (and occasionally, the current USWNT technical staff), US Soccer has made a custom of interviewing Klinsmann with their own list of questions and topics, then distributing the video clips to their media list via email.

Other than attributing the video to USSF’s in-house production company, outlets are free to use it. Writers and analysts can digest the substantial bank of quotes from the head coach as they formulate their columns and news articles. The clips normally end up on the federation’s website for fans to consume directly.This week’s edition of Klinsmann soundbites revolved around the recent performances of leading US soccer players:

  • Fabian Johnson’s return from injury: “It was great to see him being back in his club side … he had a very good game against Hertha Berlin”
  • John Brooks’ injury status: “He was still not 100 percent … hopefully we see him back next weekend”
  • Timmy Chandler has “a shot, maybe, at Copa America” thanks to his improved club form, while “we’re still waiting for” Alfredo Morales
  • Mexico-based players: “We’ve got to be patient” with those not getting regular playing time, though William Yarbrough “is doing really well at Club Leon”
  • Clint Dempsey’s strong displays for Seattle: “You want your players to stand out, to make their mark”
  • Jordan Morris’ rocky start at the professional level: “It’s important that we are patient … over time he will settle”
  • Brek Shea’s “up and downs” for Orlando vs Portland, as he scored “a beautiful goal” but also earned a yellow card for a brutal tackle that subsequently drew a one-game suspension
  • His England-based contingent: “It’s great to see Geoff Cameron starting for Stoke,” DeAndre Yedlin is “trying everything to keep Sunderland up” while Brad Guzan and relegation-bound Aston Villa are in “a very, very tough situation right now,” and Matt Miazga’s “huge milestone” in making his debut for “such a prestigious club as Chelsea” after Olympic playoff disappointment
  • His revelation that U-23 players like Miazga, Ethan Horvath, Kellyn Acosta, and Morris are “legitimate” candidates for his Copa America squad because of the failure to qualify for the Olympics

Like so many aspects of the federation’s current modus operandi, the wisdom of this approach is in the eye of the beholder. As you can see, Klinsmann is sharing timely information here. If we assume he’s speaking sincerely, the coach is dropping potentially significant hints about his future selections. It’s hard to beat the convenience this format offers for time-pressed, overworked journalists. And it’s certainly much better than nothing.This system also suits Klinsmann personally. He speaks often of the importance of educating US fans, but isn’t the type to slog through lengthy, inconvenient media availabilities – and that’s understandable, given some of the dreary and/or bewilderingly useless questions that have at times been posed to him in press conferences. He does also post regularly from his personal Twitter account, and takes time to connect with fans via Facebook Q&As with the help of the federation’s communications staff, both admirably progressive entries into social media.But something is missing in this formula. Even if the questions raised in Klinsmann’s distributed clips largely overlap with what reporters would ask him, the format removes any trace of surprise or spontaneity.The topics – and depth of their treatment – are pre-selected. Klinsmann is able to rehearse his answers if he so desires and the federation maintains full control of the proceedings at all times. No one intrudes with less-savory subjects. Nobody gets to ask about FIFA and CONCACAF corruption, or how the technical staff’s accountability for the program’s second consecutive failure to qualify for the Olympics. Though fuller access occasionally happens via roundtables or conference calls, usually only a tight group of veteran journalists representing a small number of media outlets receive an invite.Control: It’s been a recurring theme around the USSF lately. Consider the Women’s National Team’s increasingly bitter struggle for a collective-bargaining breakthrough. Or, the fed’s ongoing power play in the youth realm, where they have asserted their organizational and financial muscle with a my-way-or-the-highway approach to player development in recent years.On the latter front, frustrations have elevated to the point that in February a broad-based group of leading youth organizations took the unusual step of publicly calling USSF to task for its failure to connect, collaborate or even notify them in advance onseveral hugely important policy decisions. They requested a “formal, institutionalized communications process to ensure that an ongoing dialogue is established.”Control has been a priority for most of Klinsmann’s tenure, especially in the wake of the 2013 Sporting News article that highlighted the confusion and discontent behind the scenes during 2014 World Cup qualifying. Like most top-level coaches, he holds strong convictions and does not hesitate to take an active role in his players’ lives, whether it’s during USMNT camps or beyond. He’s committed to his methods and conclusions, and expects those around him to follow suit.That’s all quite understandable. Still, in rocky times like the present, the overall impression is of Klinsmann as a carefully guarded celebrity coach, not the change agent and beacon of reform. Remember what Klinsmann represented when he took the job.In the 1960s, political scientist Bernard Cohen helped build the theory of agenda-setting, noting that the media “may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about.”His words prophesied the influence and ubiquity of modern journalism, and provide us with a fitting reminder at this juncture in Klinsmann’s tenure: The USMNT’s coach doesn’t expect everyone to agree with him, but he’s not interested in having a discussion on anyone else’s terms, either.Charles Boehm is a Washington, DC-based writer and the editor of The Soccer Wire. Contact him at:cboehm@thesoccerwire.com. Follow him on Twitter at:http://twitter.com/cboehm.

 

US Players – More goals for Bobby Wood and a start for Pulisic

Posted on April 11, 2016 | By US Soccer Players

We start the weekend roundup for USMNT players in Europe and Mexico with Bobby Wood scoring again in the 2.Bundesliga. At this point, it’s safe to assume that if Union Berlin is playing, Wood is probably scoring. He bagged two goals in the 4-0 win at Paderborn on Friday night, opening the scoring in the 7th minute and finding the back of the net again in the 13th. Damir Kreilach made it 3-0 in the 21st with Toni Leistner finishing off the scoring in the 36th. Union Berlin is 7th in the 2.Bundesliga table, tied on points with 8th-place Greuther Furth.

A league, up, Christian Pulisic started for Borussia Dortmund in their 2-2 draw with Schalke in the Revierderby on Sunday. For Americans not up on their German geography, which in fairness is most of us, Schalke’s home town of Gelsenkirchen and Dortmund are about half an hour from each other. Thus the local rivalry for a game where Dortmund took the lead through Shinji Kagawa in the 49th minute. Schalke equalized two minutes later. Matthias Ginter had Dortmund up in the 56th minute with Schalke equalizing from the penalty spot in the 66th. Pulisic subbed out in the 73rd minute. Here he is talking about the game courtesy of Bundesliga.com.

Also in the Bundesliga, Timmy Chandler and Eintracht lost 2-0 to Hoffenheim. Fabian Johnson subbed out in the 78th minute for Gladbach‘s 1-0 loss at Ingolstadt.

Moving to the Premier League, it was another loss for Aston Villa as relegation seems a foregone conclusion. Brad Guzan was in goal for the 2-1 loss to Bournemouth at Villa Park. Trailing 2-0 from the 74th minute, Jordan Ayew pulled a goal back for Villa in the 85th. Matt Miazga played the first-half for Chelsea in their 1-0 loss at Swansea City.DeAndre Yedlin and Sunderland lost 2-0 at home to Leicester City. After making it 1-1 with an equalizer form Bojan in the 22nd minute, Geoff Cameron and Stoke City lost 4-1 to Liverpool at Anfield.

In the Championship, Emerson Hyndman scored in Fulham’s 2-1 win over Cardiff City at Craven Cottage. Trailing from the 41st minute, Scott Parker equalized in the 46th. Hyndman won the game three minutes into stoppage time. Danny Williams and Reading lost 2-0 to Birmingham City. Cody Cropper was in goal for MK Dons’ 4-0 loss to Rotherham. On Monday, Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest lost 2-1 to Brighton. Dexter Blackstock equalized for Forest in the 50th minute but Brighton scored in stoppage time.

Perry Kitchen and Hearts beat Aberdeen 2-1 in the Scottish Premier League. Falling behind at home in the 4th minute, Juanma equalized for Hearts in the 33rd and won the game in the 61st. Hearts are 3rd in the table, nine points behind Aberdeen.

Liga MX, and Omar Gonzalez and Pachuca beat Tigres 2-1 at home after trailing from the 7th minute. Franco Jara equalized in the 74th and Gustavo Ramirez scored in the 86th minute. William Yarbrough was in goal for Leon’s 2-1 win at UNAM Pumas. Hernan Burbano put Leon up in the 10th minute and Maxi Morales scored in the 34th. Pumas pulled a goal back in the 44th minute.

Did Not Play: Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt 1- Gladbach 0), Jerome Kiesewetter (Stuttgart II 1- Aalen 1), Tim Howard (Everton 1 – Watford 1), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City 2 – Reading 0), Tim Ream (Fulham 2 – Cardiff City 1), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht 3 – NEC 1), Jose Torres (Tigres 1 – Pachuca 2), Michael Orozco and Greg Garza (Tijuana 1 – Club America 6), Miguel Ibarra (Leon 2 – Pumas 1), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey 6 – Chiapas 0), Jonathan Bornstein (Queretaro 0 – Toluca 0)

Injured: John Brooks (Hertha BSC 2 – Hannover 2), Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen 1 – Augsburg 2), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes 1 – Reims 2), Josh Gatt (Molde 1 – Start 1)

 

Playing the attendance game in American soccer

Posted on April 13, 2016 | By Jason Davis

By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Apr 13, 2016) US Soccer Players – Simply stated, there are two easy ways to judge the interest in soccer in the United States of America, a country that spent more than a few decades sticking its fingers in its ears and pretending like the sport didn’t exist at all: attendance and TV ratings.Both are fraught with problems as decent measures of soccer’s engagement of a fickle sports-watching public. TV ratings have been notoriously unreliable for years, even before things like streaming and DVRs completely complicated viewing habits. When it comes to soccer, certain games prompt communal viewing, parties that help fans share in the experience of watching games on television from long distances away. Whether or not the TV ratings company can accurately gauge the audience for any given game is at the very least suspect.Attendance might be even stickier. At least with TV ratings, all of the interested parties (programming producers, networks, and advertisers) have agreed to accept the ratings despite their imperfections. There is one standard, no matter how poor that standard might possibly be. A shared acceptance of the numbers allows for something approaching a fair market for TV rights and ad time, pushing along an industry that is simultaneously wrestling with paradigm-shifting technology.That’s not the case for counting the people that show up to watch pro soccer. If we see people filling all the available seats, it’s easy. In others cases, reported attendance numbers are a complete a fabrication, as make-believe as King Friday and his subjects. Teams don’t typically report the number of human bodies through the turnstiles, but rather the number of tickets distributed. While that practice isn’t unique to soccer, it’s impact on how we view the popularity of the sport in America is immense.The key word when it comes to attendance numbers reported is “distributed”, which includes, but is not exclusive to, the number of tickets sold. Sports attendances defy the word “attendance” more often than not because they aren’t attendances at all. Instead, they represent the number of tickets sold, comped, or flat out given away. When perception of your club operations (and further, your league) can turn on attendance numbers reported the next day, there’s pressure to put people in the stands by whatever means necessary. In perfect world, every ticket sells at face value and every fan shows up to use his or her purchased tickets. In the real world, even “sell outs” come with caveats and all games feature no-shows.With that situation firmly in mind, the numbers already look promising for the lower divisions in North American soccer. Just this past weekend, Miami FC got over 10,000 for their home opener. San Antonio FC set a Toyota Field record by drawing 8400 in the team’s USL debut. FC Cincinnati, a first-year USL club in a town with no recent professional soccer history, attracted over 14k. Sacramento Republic has continued to be a lower division juggernaut, bringing in the usual (for them) crowd of over 11k.On the surface, those attendance numbers seem to indicate a robust American soccer scene, even at the third division level. They’re not MLS-caliber numbers, but neither are they the attendance numbers of old, when hitting mid-five figures was something of a coup for anyone outside of the top league. Attendance numbers that flirt with or fly past five figures make clubs look good, they make markets look good, and they signal to the mainstream soccer public that professional soccer’s future goes well beyond the biggest cities in the country.Attendance numbers like that are the surest sign of a market’s potential. Big crowds make the push for MLS easier. Big crowds help sell any league to new investors.Still, knowing what we do about reporting standards, how much stock to put in attendance numbers is it’s own question. The eyeball test says Miami FC and FC Cincinnati had large crowds, but without an excruciating and frankly impossible headcount, there’s no way to know if the crowds they disclosed were the crowds they got, or how many of the people who showed up actually paid something for their ticket. At some point the numbers don’t matter as much, but when the question is just how popular soccer is across the country, and whether the cities in question can support teams who don’t get on TV or attract big name stars, these sort of details matter.American soccer clubs, from USL all the way up to MLS, are fighting a war for respect. All is fair in love and war, so the need to be spot-on with reported attendance is secondary to putting forward a vision of strength.The odd thing is that there’s plenty of gray area between “soccer teams are exaggerating their attendances” and “wow, look at those huge crowds” as signals of what’s happening at various levels of American soccer. The game is growing in America, and more fans are (probably) attending games than ever before. But it’s also probably not as good as the numbers might indicate. When it comes to filling seats, the truth is in the eye of the beholder.Jason Davis is the founder of MatchFitUSA.com and the host of Soccer Morning. Contact him: matchfitusa@gmail.com. Follow him on

 

 

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