2/08/19 US Wins 2-0, Champions League Sweet 16, EPL Race Tightens, Madrid Derby Sat, Indy 11 Pre-Season Starts, Full TV Game Schedule

Our US National Team is now 2-0 under new manager Gregg Berhalter as the US scored a 2-0 home win over Costa Rica.  The US again had good build up – though not the complete control they had last week – still they won the battle of possession again both outshooting and outplaying the TICOS on the night and both goals again scored in the flow of play not on set pieces.  Ltetget was fantastic with an early assist and a late goal as he trumpeted his return to the national team after his injury last year.  I also loved that the US changed tactics some in the 2nd half after a 1st half with no goals – they spread out more – used the wingers more and found a way to score 2 goals with the improved wing play.  Overall it was nice to see the US actually look like a coached team again.

Games this weekend for US Players overseas.  We’ll see if Christian Pulisic gets time after scoring a beautiful goal in a German Cup game this week – Dortmund faces Hoffenheim at home at 9:30 Sat on FS2 as they try to hold onto 1st place in the Bundesliga.  Of course Dortmund travel to Tottenham on Wed for Champions League play as well at 3 pm on BR Live – we’ll see if he gets a start in 1 of comes off the bench?  Fulhman and defender Tim Ream host a red hot Man United at 7:30 am on NBCSN before Liverpool faces Bournemouth at 10 am on NBCSN.  Weston McKennie continues to start and star for Schalke as they face Bayern Munich at 12:30 pm on Sat on FS2, while they face Man City on the 20th in Champions League play.  For those who have Fox Desportes – new RB Leipzig American sensation Tyler Adams a starter of 3 straight wins for the Red Bulls will host US Defender John Brooks and Frankfurt at 9;30 am on Sat as well.  Sunday gives us American Youngster Forward Josh Stewart, who has come off the bench for 6 of the last 7 games for Werder Bremen hosting Ausburg at 9:30 am on FS1.  On NBCSN Sunday Tottenham will host Leicester City at 9 am, while Man City hosts Chelsea for the big EPL game of the weekend at 11 am on NBCSN.  Finally Monday we get Deandre Yedlin and New Castle traveling to Wolverhampton at 3 pm on NBCSN.

EL CLASSICO, MADRID DERBY, CHAMP LEAGUE

El Classico 1 was well – just a Copa Del Rey game and you could tell.  Barcelona left a slightly injured Messi on the bench until the 70th minute, Bale came on too as both teams threw their stars in to try to steal a win but the 1-1 start stayed even as Real Madrid tried to steal the lead on the road while the Barca fans were disappointed.  Both teams used back-up keepers (by the way I don’t know how Kaylar Navas is not the starter – he had like 3 spectacular saves and the goal was not his fault).  Either way anytime we get extra Classico’s its good – the return leg at the Bernabeau on Feb 27th.   Meanwhile Real Madrid must ready for the Madrid Derby vs 2nd in the La Liga Table Atletico Madrid this Sat at 10:15 am on beIN Sport. Which by the way I must say – god bless beIN Sport and their coverage of both La Liga and the Spanish Cup games – its so nice to be able to watch the games on TV and not have to pay an extra fee to get it.  (I know I pay the $10 sports fee package which gives me beIN Sport and 15 other sports channels – but with BR LIVE taking Champions League and ESPN+ stealing the FA Cup, Italian League, and German Cup games – on a pay for watch only formats not on TV – well it SUCKS!  And the new word is the New CONCACAF Nations League games featuring the US Men’s National Team has been sold to some online group I have never heard of.  I will NOT pay money to watch the US Men play online only.  Honestly I can’t express how much I miss Fox Sports TV Coverage of Champions League over the past few years.  Sometimes as many as 4 games on 4 different channels, the games replayed over and over all night.  I know many fans don’t like Big Red Alexi Lalas, and who can forget or forgive FOX for trying to force FOX lead announcer Gus Johnson on us that season trying to call Real Madrid vs Juventus –but man it beats the hell out of what is happening now.  I have no idea how or where I am watching next week’s big Champions League Games. Top 16 teams in the World and we get to miss 8 of them each week on Live TV – really TICKS ME OFF!!  If they don’t show Liverpool or Dortmund I am going to really be upset.  Anyway we get a revitalized and suddenly competitive Man United hosting Paris St Germain on Tuesday at 3 pm on TNT as PSG is Neymar-less for this first game.  Then Wed we get hopefully Tottenham (- an injured Harry Kane) vs Dortmund and hopefully a substituting American Christian Pulisic at 3 pm on TNT.  But probably it will be that exciting new group from Ajax hosting Defending Champions Real Madrid on TNT and I will be scrambling online to find Univision Desportes so I can watch Dortmund for Free – Man this Stinks!!

Tues, Feb 19  

3 pm TNT                    Liverpool vs Bayern Munich CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm Uni Desportes      Lyonnais vs Barcelona

Wed, Feb 20  

3 pm TNT                   Schalke (McKinney) vs Man City CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live/Uni Des     Athletico Madrid vs Juventus

 INDY 11

The Indy 11 bounce back onto the scene next week with their first pre-season game at Grand Park this weekend and an offer to Join the Indy 11 as they show the City’s Love for Soccer to the Indiana Legislature on Thurs at 11 am -1 pm downtown at the Statehouse with Free Lunch for fans wishing to attend.  The 11 have signed some exciting new players including some standout’s from last season’s USL Champion FC Cincinnati who didn’t make the cut for the team joining the MLS this season.  Also learn about the new ownership group and huge plans for a new stadium complex below.  Of course the Indy 11 season opener is Saturday night, March 30th – make your plans now to be there!!

Indy11Statehouse

Free Lunch for fans at the State House

USA

Lessons from Berhalter’s 1st Month as US Manager – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

Berhalter wanted more Aggressive US vs Costa Rica – Jeff C – ESPNFC

Player Rankings vs Costa Rica – Jason Davis ESPNFC

Lletget Goal and Assist in Win vs Costa Rica

Lletget Vanquishes Demons in US Win over Costa Rica – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

US vs Costa Rica – What We learned – Stars and Stripes

Five thoughts on USA vs Costa Rica – Stars and Stripes

USA vs. Costa Rica, 2019 friendly: SSFC Player Rating s Man of the Match

Tim Weah scores, assists in Celtic win

WORLD & Champions League  

Champions League Predictions – Mark Odgen ESPNFC

Improved Real Madrid pushes Barca to Draw in 1st Leg of Copa Classico – SI

Has Neymar Fulfilled Potential ?  Gab Marcotti ESPNFC

Why Abolishing the Away Goal Rule is the Way to Go – SI Jon Wilson

Big Clubs Lack Respect over VAR Talks as VAR Sets in for Final 16 of UCL

PSG Must Recover from Jan before Clash with Man United

PSG Thoughts on United Ahead of Big Clash

Manual Neuer Still Unsure as Bayern Ready for Liverpool

Champions League Needs to Change Format – ESPNFC old story

EPL

What to Watch For EPL – Weekend – EPSNFC

Liverpool Lack of Depth Starting to hurt their EPL Bid mark Odgen EPSNFC

Klopp on Title Pressure – We are Fine

Man City Need Aguero to Keep Scoring to catch Liverpool

Man City’s Ability to Score Makes Them Legit for Title Race – Michael Cox ESPNFC

Hazard Says He’s Made a Decision Where He Will Play Next Year – Won’t Tell

Black Cat Wanders the Pitch at Everton Game

Indy 11

 Date And Time

Thu, February 14, 2019

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM EST

Please join us for a lunch with legislative leaders, Indy Eleven players, and the Indiana soccer community.By joining us – and helping us spread the word, we can show Indiana leaders that soccer is the globe’s most popular sport and the world’s game needs a permanent home in our state.Please RSVP today so that we can adequately track attendees and be able to plan for a fun event.Complimentary lunch will be provided by Indy Eleven 

Click Here to Register to Come and Enjoy Free Lunch Provided by Indy 11

Indy 11 Pre-Season Schedule at Grand Park

Indy 11 Announces Ownership Group of from Around Indiana

Indy 11 Proposes $550 Million Development that Includes 20K Seat Stadium – IBJ

Full Schedule Released

Indy 11 Signs USL Leading Scorer Thomas Enevoldsen

Indy 11 Signs USL Championship All time Leading Scorer DC United’s Dane Kelly

Flex 8 Pack Ticket is Back

Season Tickets Just over $100

MLS

Columbus Saved the Crew from Moving – Now What

Toronto Signs US Striker Terrence Boyd from Germany

MLS Spoiling Start of IU Defender Andrew Gutman’s  Pro Career with Celtic

GAMES ON TV

Sat, Feb 9

7:30 am NBCSN                     Fulham (Ream) vs Man United

9;30 am FS2                            Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Hoffenheim

10 am NBCSN                        Liverpool vs Bournemouth

10:15 am beIN Sport          Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid (Madrid Derby) 

Sun, Feb 10  

9 am NBCSN              Tottenhan vs Leicester City

9:30 am FS2                  Werder Bremen (Stewart) vs FC Ausburg

11 am NBCSN            Man City vs Chelsea

12 noon ESPN2            Sassuolo vs Juventus

2:45 pm beIn Sport      Athletic Club vs Barcelona

Mon, Feb 11  

3 pm NBCSN              Wolverhampton vs New Castle United (Yedlin)

Tues, Feb 12  

3 pm TNT                   Man United vs PSG  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live                AS Roma vs FC Porto

Wed, Feb 13  

3 pm TNT                   Ajax vs Real Madrid  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live??           Tottenham vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

Tues, Feb 19  

3 pm TNT                    Liverpool vs Bayern Munich CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm Uni Desportes      Lyonnais vs Barcelona

Wed, Feb 20  

3 pm TNT                   Schalke (McKinney) vs Man City CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live/Uni Des     Athletico Madrid vs Juventus

Sun, Feb 24  

9 am NBCSN              Man United vs Liverpool

9:30 am FS1                  Hannover vs Frankfurt

10:15 am beIN sport    Athletico Madrid vs Villarreal

11:30 am ESPN+         Chelsea vs Manchester City – League Cup

12 noon FS2                 Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Bayer Leverkusen

2:45 pm beIn Sport      Levante vs Real Madrid

Mon, Feb 25  

2:30 pm FS2                 RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Hoffenheim

Wed, Feb 27  

2:45 pm NBCSN         Chelsea vs Tottenham

3 pm  beIN Sport        Real Madrid vs Barcelona – Copa Del Rey El Classico’   

7 pm Fox Sport 1         USA Ladies vs Japan  – She Believes Cup

Sat, Mar 2

7:30 am NBCSN                     Tottenham vs Arsenal

9;30 am FS2                            Schalke (McKinney) vs Dusseldorf

10 am NBCSN                        Man United vs Southampton

12:30 pm NBCSN                  West Ham vs New Castle United (Yedlin)

12:30 pm FS2                         Borussia Mgladbach (Johnson) vs Bayern Munchen

2:45 pm beIN Sport            Real Madrid vs Barcelona El Classico

4 pm Fox                                USA Ladies vs England – She Believes Cup

8 pm Fox Sports 1                  La Galaxy vs Chicago Fire  MLS

10 pm Fox Sports 1               Seattle Sounders vs FC Cincy MLS

Sun, Mar 3

7:30 am NBCSN                     Watford vs Leicester City

9 am FS2                                 Schalke (McKinney) vs Dusseldorf

9 am NBCSN                          Fulham (Ream) vs Chelsea

11:15 am NBCSN                  Everton vs Liverpool  

12:30 pm FS2                         Wolfsburg vs Werder Bremen (Stewart)

2:30 pm ESPN+                      Napoli vs Juve

6 pm Fox Sports 1                 DC United (Rooney) vs Atlanta United (Martinez) MLS

8:30 pm ESPN                       Los Angeles FC vs Sporting KC  

TuesMar 5                             Champions League

3 pm TNT                              Ajax 1 vs Real Madrid 2 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live/Uni Desp       Dortmund (Pulisic) 1 vs Tottenham 3  

7 pm Fox Sports 1                USA Ladies vs Brazil – She Believes Cup

Weds, Mar 6  

3 pm TNT                               PSG vs Man United  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live                        FC Porto vs AS Roma

Fri, March 8  

2:30 pm FS2                          Werder Breman (Stewart) vs Schalke (McKinney)  

10 pm ESPN+                          USL Seattle Sounders 2 vs Rio Grande Valley

Champions League predictions: Manchester United to beat PSG? Liverpool lose?

4:00 AM ETMark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC

The path to the 2019 Champions League final in Madrid has become clear following the draw for the round of 16, which has thrown together some of Europe’s biggest clubs.Heavyweight clashes between Liverpool and Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Juventus, and Ajax and Real Madrid ensure that some of the most successful clubs in the game will be facing elimination at the first knockout stage.The draw has been kinder to leading contenders such as Manchester City and Barcelona, but who will come out on top when the Champions League resumes?

SCHALKE vs. MANCHESTER CITY

It might lack glamour, but Manchester City’s pairing with Schalke is a dream draw for the Premier League champions.Schalke, who qualified as runners-up behind Porto in Group D, are languishing in the bottom half of the Bundesliga, having won just six league games all season. Coach Domenico Tedesco has a squad low on the quality needed to worry City, so this tie should be a formality for Pep Guardiola’s team.Leroy Sane will return to Germany to face his former club, and it really should be a happy homecoming for the City winger in what is likely to be a mismatch. As for omens, City’s only European title — the 1970 Cup Winners’ Cup — came after beating Schalke en route to the final.

Who will go through? Manchester City

ATLETICO MADRID vs. JUVENTUS

Arguably the tie of the round sees two of the Champions League’s unluckiest clubs collide. Atletico and Juventus have each reached, and lost, two finals during the past decade and both have pushed the boat out financially to ensure that 2019 is their year.Atletico, who host the final at their own Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, brought in Diego Costa, though he has suffered from poor form and injury, as well as Thomas Lemar and Alvaro Morata. They also retained the services of Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin. Juventus gambled heavily on Cristiano Ronaldo and also brough Leonardo Bonucci back to the club after a year in Milan.This tie is very close to call. Both possess outstanding defences, terrific work rate and quality forwards, but Atletico’s determination to play in their own final might just swing things in their favour.

Who will go through? Atletico Madrid

MANCHESTER UNITED vs. PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

When the draw was made in mid-December, this tie threatened to be the biggest mismatch of the round, with Manchester United in crisis and PSG cruising at the top of Ligue 1, having won their qualification group ahead of Liverpool and Napoli.But within 24 hours of the pairing being made, Jose Mourinho was sacked by United, whose subsequent revival under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given them real hope of success against the French champions. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have been two of the big beneficiaries.PSG, meanwhile, have been beset with problems. Neymar will miss both legs because of injury, as might Edinson Cavani, Adrien Rabiot continues to be overlooked because of a contract dispute and there are fitness concerns over Marco Verratti. A 2-1 Ligue 1 defeat at Lyon on Feb. 3 also dented confidence.

Who will go through? Manchester United

TOTTENHAM vs. BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Tottenham made it into the knockout stages only after a final-day draw against Barcelona in the Camp Nou earned second spot in Group B for Mauricio Pochettino’s team and the subsequent pairing with Dortmund, who they beat twice in last season’s group stage, looked give them a route to the quarterfinals.Despite Lucien Favre’s team topping the Bundesliga, the Premier League side appeared to have the edge, but injuries to Harry Kane and Dele Alli will rule the England pair out of the first leg and could also see them miss the return game in Germany. Dortmund, meanwhile, boast attacking quality that includes Jadon Sancho.This tie is now a tough one to call, but although Spurs appear slight favourites on current form, will it be enough?

Who will go through? Tottenham

LYON vs. BARCELONA

Barcelona still regard last season’s Champions League as a missed opportunity after being humiliated by Roma in the quarterfinals, crashing out after a 3-0 defeat in the Stadio Olimpico. But their mission to make amends by winning this season’s competition in Madrid has been boosted by the pairing with Lyon, who will see qualification for this stage as success in itself.Lyon beat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and drew with the English champions in France during the group stage, but they will be heavy underdogs against Lionel Messi & Co.Barcelona’s biggest danger will not be the unpredictable talents of Lyon’s Memphis Depay; it will be the threat of complacency. But after the defeat in Rome last season, don’t expect them to fall short again.

Who will go through? Barcelona

AJAX vs. REAL MADRID

A real clash of European heavyweights, with the reigning champions Real coming up against Erik ten Hag’s resurgent Ajax team.Ajax emerged as runners-up behind Bayern Munich in Group E and did so with an unbeaten record, despite the inexperience of their team. Matthijs de Ligt (19) and Frenkie de Jong (21) are the young stars driving Ajax back to prominence, with the experienced Dusan Tadic netting eight goals in 12 European games this season.Real, meanwhile, have been poor in defence of their trophy, with managerial upheaval and the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo hitting them hard. They qualified as group winners, despite losing twice to CSKA Moscow, and should have the pedigree to beat this young Ajax team, but don’t rule out the Dutch outfit.

Who will go through? Real Madrid

LIVERPOOL vs. BAYERN MUNICH

A tie worthy of the final, with both clubs possessing the pedigree to target success in Madrid.Bayern have been inconsistent under Niko Kovac, however, with the perennial German champions five points adrift of leaders Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. They will be without Thomas Muller for the first leg at Anfield following his red card against Ajax, although Liverpool will also miss the suspended Virgil van Dijk in that game.Liverpool top of the Premier League and will be favourites on current form, with former Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp relishing a return to Germany. But it is a tough draw for both teams and the pendulum could swing back toward Bayern, who are unlikely to be fazed by the Anfield atmosphere in the first leg.

Who will go through? Bayern Munich

ROMA vs. PORTO

Roma are struggling in sixth position in Serie A, but have great experience throughout their squad and memories of last season’s run to the last four should make them slight favourites in this tie.Porto are difficult to gauge, having qualified as winners of the weakest group ahead of Schalke, Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow, but they top their domestic league and are still unbeaten in Europe this season. In Moussa Marega, they have a forward in Champions League form, with five goals in six games.

Who will go through? Roma

Indy Eleven proposes $550 million development that includes stadium

January 10, 2019   Mickey Shuey

IBJ Podcast: Will a $550M, mixed-use development help Indy Eleven win funding for a stadium?

January 21, 2019

Ideas abound on where to put Indy Eleven soccer stadium

January 18, 2019

Eleven Park would include a 20,000-seat stadium, a boutique hotel, retail and office space and about 600 apartments. (Rendering courtesy of Indy Eleven)

The Indy Eleven on Thursday unveiled a proposal for a $550 million mixed-use real estate district that would include a 20,000-seat outdoor soccer stadium as the team continues its quest to join Major League Soccer.The project includes a financing plan that would require action from the City-County Council and the Legislature. Team owner Ersal Ozdemir told IBJ that the club is working with the city of Indianapolis and the Capital Improvement Board to create detailed plans for the public-private development.Ozdemir said he envisions the development, called Eleven Park, as a “transformational urban project” within the city. Plans for the district include lodging, office and retail space, public spaces, an underground parking structure and apartments. The focus, Ozdemir said, is to create a long-term, sustainable home for soccer in Indianapolis.“We wanted to make a major impact, not just a stadium,” he said. “Whether you like sports or not, it’s hard to argue with this project because of (what it involves).”Ozdemir said discussions with city and state officials have included where the development would best be located, noting there are “several sites in downtown Indianapolis” and one elsewhere that are viewed as good fits for the team. He declined to share the locations but said the team hopes to finalize the selection soon.The proposed stadium, slated to be ready for the 2022 season opener, would be surrounded by multiple apartment and office buildings, offering tenants views of the field from their windows.  The development is expected to include 600 apartments, more than 100,000 square feet of retail space, 150,000 square feet of office space and a 200-room boutique hotel. The office space would be geared toward technology-driven companies and already has received interest from undisclosed multiple parties, according to Ozdemir.  Ozdemir, who owns the Indianapolis construction and development firm Keystone Group, said the stadium design allows for future expansion if the team’s fan base continues to grow or if MLS increases its minimum stadium capacity, which currently is 20,000.He said the stadium would include a section specifically for team fan club Brickyard Battalion, designed for fans who generally spend the entire game on their feet.  Melina Kennedy, president of the CIB, said her group “generally supports” the Eleven Park concept.“The CIB applauds Indy Eleven for looking ahead to future needs and taking a developer-led approach to protect taxpayers and support their vision to integrate the sports experience into the overall community development efforts for the state,” she said in a written statement.

Funding the project

Kennedy wasn’t available to discuss the proposed financial structure of the project, which differs from those used to build Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, largely because the Eleven plan includes adjacent development that could generate tax revenue to help pay for the project. Like both of those stadiums, the Eleven proposal would redirect tax revenue to fund construction. The Eleven Park proposal calls for enactment of new Professional Sports Development Area, or PSDA, and tax-increment financing district overlays limited to the park’s boundaries, as well as a 10 percent ticket tax.The overlays would capture all tax revenue generated within the district for the purpose of funding construction of the stadium.Developer-backed bonds would be issued to pay for the stadium, which is estimated to cost $150 million. Tax overlays on revenue generated by the rest of the development, which would be funded with $400 million in private investment, would be expected to cover payments on the bonds..The city would issue the bonds for the stadium and other public parts of the development (including parking and the plaza area) with the understanding that the team would cover any shortfalls. Developer-backed bonds have become a favored tool of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s administration to help pay for major real estate projects.In a written statement, Taylor Schaffer, Hogsett’s deputy chief of staff, said: “Indy Eleven has continued to update the city on their work to construct a permanent home for their team, and we are encouraged by their current focus on a taxpayer-friendly strategy that is backed by private development.”She said the city remains “interested in the prospects and possibilities presented by a top-tier, financially sustainable professional soccer team in Indianapolis.”Under Ozdemir’s proposal, while much of the other development at Eleven Park would remain under the control of investors in the project, the stadium would be owned by the CIB and leased to the team. It also would be made available to high school, college and other professional soccer games.Ozdemir said the team is prepared to sign a long-term lease for the stadium and remain in Indianapolis, as well as commit to cover all operating costs for the stadium. The team’s headquarters and operations would move from its downtown and Westfield Grand Park offices to the new facility.The Eleven played its 2018 season in Lucas Oil Stadium on a rent-free basis. But Ozdemir said the stadium is too large to be a long-term solution. He pointed to difficulty in scheduling games and the desire for the team to have “a permanent home” in Indianapolis.

Approval process

Team representatives said they are working with legislative leaders on the Eleven Park project. It is unclear, however, which lawmakers are working on a bill.Ozdemir said public-input sessions would be held for the TIF district overlay, which would require approval by the Indianapolis City-County Council.State lawmakers would have to approve the creation of the PSDA for the district.State Rep. Justin Moed, D-Indianapolis, said he’s interested in seeing the proposal but would be cautious about moving forward without having a specific site determined. He suggested having experts analyze potential locations to determine which could generate the biggest economic impact.“I think when you have a project of this size, we should make sure that we make an educated decision on where that’s going to go,” Moed said.But he doesn’t think that would delay lawmakers from voting on a bill this legislative session, which is scheduled to wrap up in April.A bill authorizing the Indy Eleven PSDA is expected to be filed in the Senate, but the issue could get folded into other legislation that would provide more funding for the Capital Improvement Board.Moed said his other concern is making sure most—if not all—of the investment risk is on the team, rather than taxpayers.“We need to make sure the deal is done right, so taxpayers are protected,” Moed said.

New approach

The Eleven Park proposal differs greatly from an unsuccessful pitch for a new stadium that the team rolled out in 2015, both in its funding and overall design. The previous proposal called for a publicly funded, $82 million freestanding stadium with few additional elements.The push, backed by several lawmakers and then-Mayor Greg Ballard, died in the General Assembly. An alternative proposal to renovate the Eleven’s home at the time—the Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium on the IUPUI campus—was shot down by the team.Sports business expert and consultant Mark Rosentraub said the Eleven’s new proposal, including its scope and funding mechanisms, is generally a good fit for the city, even if it doesn’t result in scoring an MLS franchise. The team moved to the Division 2 United Soccer League in 2018 after spending its first four years in the North American Soccer League. Its long-term goal is to play in the top-tier MLS.Rosentraub said one strength of the plan is that it doesn’t rely on much public funding, outside of what’s generated within the district itself.“This could fit well with the (city’s) plans,” said Rosentraub, a professor of sports business at the University of Michigan and a former professor at IUPUI. “That’s what you try to encourage; what you don’t want is to throw down a stadium that has nothing happening around it. … This project seems to do a lot more than that.”Professional soccer teams generally play 15 to 18 home games per season, meaning the stadium wouldn’t be a year-round traffic driver for the area, he said. The inclusion of apartments, retail and office space makes it a more viable project because the area wouldn’t be solely reliant upon soccer for revenue.However, Rosentraub expressed skepticism about Indianapolis’ ability to absorb another major sports franchise should a future MLS bid be successful.“I don’t know if the market can sustain three teams at the (highest) level,” he said. “The Indy Eleven right now is in a very sweet spot in the economy, when you think about … what the market can support.”Rosentraub said he would say the same thing if a proposal were made to replace the AAA Indianapolis Indians with a Major League Baseball team.He said that even if the Eleven remain indefinitely in the USL, the stadium project would be a boon for the team as it seeks to grow its fan base. The Eleven’s ticket sales have been on the rise, with crowds averaging more than 12,000 last year.

MLS hopes

Ozdemir has long said he doesn’t think the addition of another high-level sports franchise would hinder growth for other local teams. He also is confident there are enough soccer fans in central Indiana to make an MLS squad here viable.As part of his quest to land an MLS franchise, Ozdemir has sought to bring in other investors. An announcement is expected within months on a new investor group for both the team and the Eleven Park development. (Nate Feltman, a shareholder in IBJ Corp., which owns Indianapolis Business Journal, is an adviser to Ozdemir but does not have a direct financial stake in the team.)The buy-in fee for an MLS franchise is around $200 million—a price Ozdemir has said he and investors in the team would be willing to pay. A bid by the team in 2017 fell short, and future bids are likely to face stiff competition, so it’s unclear how long the Eleven will have to wait to get another shot at the league.Before it missed out on landing a franchise two years ago, the Eleven announced a handful of new investors, though those commitments were never formalized. The announced backers included auto dealer Andy Mohr; Elwood Staffing President Mark Elwood; Heritage Environmental Services President Jeff Laborsky; and Mickey Maurer, a shareholder in The National Bank of Indianapolis and IBJ Corp.IBJ reporter Lindsey Erdody contributed to this story.

BREAKING NEWS | INDY ELEVEN ANNOUNCES OWNERSHIP GROUP

By IndyEleven.com, 01/24/19, 1:15PM EST

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Ownership group includes several successful state business, civic leaders

Indy Eleven Professional Soccer today announced it would expand its ownership structure from current sole owner; Ersal Ozdemir, to include business and civic leaders from across Indiana.  New investors will acquire shares in the Indianapolis-based United Soccer League Championship franchise. The additional owners will expand the team’s statewide profile. “To us, ‘World’s Game, Indiana’s Team’ is more than a motto, it is our mission,” said Ersal Ozdemir, owner and chairman of Indy Eleven. “By welcoming this successful group of business and civic leaders from across our great state to our team, we send a strong signal that Indy Eleven is a true Indiana success story that is poised for the next level.”
The ownership group additions include:

  • Brian Bauer, President, IU Health Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Don Gottwald, CEO and Chief Strategy Officer, KAR Auction Services, Inc., Carmel, Ind.
  • Shane Hageman, President, Hageman Group, Carmel, Ind., Indianapolis, Ind., Remington, Ind.
  • Jeffrey A. Laborsky, President and CEO, Heritage Environmental Services, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Fred Merritt, President, LFM Investments, Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind., Carmel, Ind.
  • Quinn Ricker, President and CEO, Ricker Oil Company, Anderson, Ind.
  • Chris Traylor, Co-President, Traylor Bros., Inc & Representative of Traylor Family Capital, Evansville, Ind.

The ownership group announcement closely follows the appointment of top sports executive Greg Stremlaw as the team’s chief executive officer and the unveiling of Eleven Park, a transformative neighborhood development proposed to include office space, apartments, retail, a boutique hotel and public areas – all anchored by a 20,000 seat multi-purpose soccer stadium, of which Indy Eleven will be the primary tenant. Indy Eleven emphasized the value that the new investors will bring to the club.“Thanks to our dedicated fans, Indy Eleven grew out of its first facility and has set attendance records since moving to our current home at Lucas Oil Stadium,” said Stremlaw. “With these new investors, we will continue to strive toward offering a best-in-class experience for our fans, both in the stands and on the field.  We are lucky to have such distinguished business and civic leaders joining our team.” For one new member of the ownership group, the future is bright.I am excited to join the Indy Eleven family,” said Merritt. “Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and I am extremely proud to be able to be part of the team that will secure the future of soccer in Indiana for generations to come.” “I look forward to being a part of Indy Eleven and seeing the Eleven Park project grow,” said Laborsky. “It’s a project that will not only help cement soccer in the state of Indiana, but also create employment opportunities and improve quality of place in Indianapolis for families and businesses alike.”Those individuals and organizations being added to the ownership group are being given the opportunity to invest in the proposed Eleven Park development alongside Keystone Group, an Indianapolis-based real estate development, construction and investment company.  Additional investors are expected to be announced in the coming months.  The first match of Indy Eleven’s 2019 USL Championship season is scheduled for March 9 with the home opener scheduled for March 30 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Tickets are available by visiting IndyEleven.com.

Good Riddance: Why UCL Abolishing the Away-Goal Rule is the Way to Go

By JONATHAN WILSON February 08, 2019  SI

Friday, perhaps, a great unfairness will be removed from at least some of the sport’s premier competitions. There are no guarantees, and UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin was denying Thursday that it would happen, but there are indications that UEFA will vote to stop using the away-goals rule to settle two-legged ties that finish level on aggregate. If it does, it will mark the end of 55 years of an arbitrary rule that never made sense and never achieved what it set out to do, while repeatedly finishing ties prematurely.There are countless examples of games being destroyed by the away goals rule. Take, for sake of choosing a high-profile example, the Champions League semifinal between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in 2012. Bayern led 2-1 after the first leg. At the Bernabeu, Madrid attacked furiously from the start and scored twice in the opening 14 minutes. Bayern was then forced to attack and made it 3-3 on aggregate from a 27th-minute penalty–at which point, the game died. Bayern, as the away side, settled back to absorb pressure, and Madrid, terrified of conceding another away goal that would have meant it had to score twice, went into its shell. And so was laid bare the danger of a rule that means not all goals count equally.”I believe the tactical weight of the away goal has become too important,” Arsène Wenger said at a conference in 2008. “Teams get a 0-0 draw at home and they’re happy. Instead of having a positive effect, it has been pushed too far tactically in the modern game. It has the opposite effect than it was supposed to have at the start. It favors defending well when you play at home.”

WILSON: The Determining Factors for Eden Hazard’s Big Decision

It was true then and remains so now. Or take the example of a team that goes away from home and, in difficult circumstances, defends brilliantly before, with 30 seconds remaining, conceding a sloppy goal. Why is that side better off than one that does exactly the same but makes its mistake 30 seconds into the second leg? Why does drawing 0-0 at home at 1-1 away take you through when drawing 1-1 at home and 0-0 away puts you out? It’s entirely irrational.Ah, the apologists for the away-goals rule will say, but fewer goals are scored away, so you’re rewarding something that’s harder to do.

There are also fewer goals scored in the first half than the second: does anybody think we should decide drawn ties on first-half goals? (Which would, after all, encourage attacking play from the start.)Abolish the away-goals rule, its defenders say, and away teams will simply look to shut games down.

To which the only possible response is to ask whether they have actually watched a game in the past decade. Nobody can defend anymore. In part that’s because of the structure inequalities within the game that have meant elite sides rarely have to bother defending in domestic competition, but it’s also due to a series of enlightened law changes. The evolution of the offside law and the increasingly robust stance taken against intimidatory behavior and tactical fouling have made it almost impossible simply to shut games down. The problem has been addressed by looking at its causes, rather than cosmetically addressing the symptom, which was all the away-goals rule ever did.

WILSON: What’s Behind Neymar’s Series of Poorly Timed Injuries?

The away-goals rule was first introduced by UEFA in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965, primarily to do away with the need for match replays, which were costly and difficult to arrange. Given the penalty shootout had not yet been invented and the only alternative was tossing a coin, it probably seemed the least of the available evils. And back then, it made a certain sense. At the time, away teams won only 16% of European matches–around half the figure today. Travel was gruelling, conditions far less homogenous and often hostile for the away side. Damage limitation became the obvious strategy. In the European Cup in 1964-65, for instance, three of the 30 ties featured a first-leg advantage of two goals or more being overturned in the second leg. Trying to persuade an away team that it was better to lose 3-1 than 2-0 was probably a justifiable aim.It didn’t work. The away-goals rule was introduced over a three-year period in the European Cup, initially only for the early rounds, suggesting even those who first adopted the rule felt it was somehow a little disreputable. In the five seasons before the change, away teams averaged 1.20 goals per game in the European Cup; in the five seasons after, they averaged 1.05 goals.The away-goals rule isn’t merely anachronistic and arbitrary. It doesn’t merely randomize and spoil football. It not only has no relevance to the modern game–it never worked in the first place. Let it go.

Lessons from Berhalter’s first month as U.S. manager: Wing play will be key, Lima stands out

Feb 4, 2019Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

As January camps go, the 2019 edition invited significantly more scrutiny than any other in recent memory. It was elevated even when you compare it to two years ago, when Bruce Arena was returning for his second go-round and attempting to kick-start what would ultimately be a failed effort to qualify for the World Cup.This year, you had a manager (Gregg Berhalter) making his first foray into the international game. With that, there were questions about how he would go about implementing his style, the extent to which he would duplicate what he did when he was managing the Columbus Crew, and what players would emerge from the camp with their reputations enhanced. (After all, there are always a few.)More than anything, Berhalter and the players assembled were there to learn, and suffice to say, plenty of data points were on display for observers of the U.S. men’s team over the past month.Here’s what stood out.

  1. Berhalter’s tactical plan is taking root

Throughout January, Berhalter indicated that when it came to his tactical approach, there would be some familiar elements from his time at Columbus but some new wrinkles as well. Berhalter proved true to his word in friendlies against Panama and Costa Rica.There was an emphasis on flank play and against Costa Rica on Saturday, the likes of Paul Arriola and Jonathan Lewis excelled. But there was an added wrinkle of having right-back Nick Lima tuck inside next to whatever holding midfielder happened to be on the field that day. What ensued was a 4-4-2 when the U.S. was defending in its own half, and almost a 3-2-4-1 when possession was gained.Lima’s positioning when the U.S. had the ball also provided an extra body in midfield to help win possession back when the ball turned over. It also allowed Lima to jump into the attack when the opportunity presented itself. He had a highlight-reel sequence against Panama that saw him win the ball with a perfectly timed tackle and then deliver a pinpoint cross for Walker Zimmerman to head home. Against Costa Rica, Lima nearly bgged a goal when he hit the post with blast from outside the box.Defensively, there was nothing fancy as the U.S. looked rock-solid in both outings.Given that the U.S. appeared to be in stasis during the second half of 2018, the sight of Berhalter throwing out some tactical nuances is a welcome development. It will be interesting to see how things progress against tougher opponents.

  1. New candidates for the first XI

The January camp didn’t disappoint in terms of players emerging who could go on to play bigger roles in 2019. Lima, with his aggressive defending and sharp play in the attacking half, was arguably the month’s biggest winner but he wasn’t alone. The central defensive tandem of Aaron Long and Zimmerman was dependable throughout and while Matt Miazga is back getting playing time overseas — this time with Reading — the two put themselves in position to apply some pressure on the players in front of them.

On the wings, Lewis, Arriola and Corey Baird all had bright moments over the two games. In the center of midfield, Cristian Roldan was a positive two-way presence in both matches.

At the moment, it seems unlikely that these performances will result in a seismic change to the U.S. starting XI when the March friendlies roll around. But progress at international level is usually made in incremental steps, not quantum leaps. At least now there is some depth that Berhalter will feel more comfortable calling on should the need arise.

  1. There is creativity but it needs careful development

One of the concerns at the end of last year was the lack of creativity in the U.S. attack. While the quality of the opposition in the past two weeks wasn’t as formidable as what the U.S. faced last year, Djordje Mihailovic and Sebastian Lletget showed flashes of the kind of skill that this team needs if they are to compete.

Mihailovic performed well against Panama, suffered through a brutal first half against Costa Rica and then, like the rest of his teammates, rebounded in the second before being subbed off in the 63rd minute. Mihailovic made way for Lletget, who was an absolute difference-maker against the Ticos, getting a goal and an assist. Whether these players can push on to make bigger contributions will in large part depend on how they fare with their clubs. Mihailovic is still in the process of getting back to full strength following the torn ACL he sustained at the end of 2017. If he’s given the keys to the Chicago Fire attack in 2019, he’ll gain the kind of experience that can allow him to avoid the poor stretch he had in the first 45 against Costa Rica.Lletget has long been a player in search of a dedicated position, and one would think his skill on the ball would land him an attack-minded role. But the LA Galaxy midfield remains crowded. If he can find a way to stay on the field in 2019, he may yet play a bigger role under Berhalter.Meanwhile, Lewis showed how effective he could be coming off the bench but is another player who needs to earn more consistent playing time with this club. He only recorded 219 minutes last year with New York City FC; that will need to increase in order for him to make more headway with the national team.

  1. U.S. needs to better handle the press

While Panama were fairly easy to play against in terms of moving the ball out from the back, Costa Rica troubled the U.S. plenty with some aggressive midfield play.

The U.S. midfield, Wil Trapp in particular, wasn’t winning many midfield duels against the Ticos in the opening half. The good news is that the U.S. dealt with matters better after halftime. Whether that was due to Costa Rica getting tired, better play from the U.S., or some combination of the two is open to debate, but ultimately the home side carried much more of the play in the second half and were well worth the two goals scored. playWould the U.S. have played better against Costa Rica had Michael Bradley been on from the start? He certainly acquitted himself well against Panama though given the opponent, that should have been expected. Trapp, it must be said, was among those who upped his game in the second half vs. Costa Rica on Saturday, stretching the field with his long-range passing. Either way, how the U.S. fares against teams inclined to press will bear watching going forward.

  1. There’s reason for cautious optimism

Results of games at the conclusion of a January camp can invite false positives. In this case, the two opponents were far from full strength, but the same can be said of the U.S. team, and imagine the hue and cry if they had failed to prevail in both games.It’s also worth noting that the Berhalter era is still in its opening stages. As it should, the January camp served its purpose in terms of laying down a foundation regarding style, the environment and identifying some players who may have a future at the national team level.Most important of all, there is now an eagerness to see how quickly Berhalter is able to impart his philosophy when most of the full team convenes in March for games against Ecuador and Chile.

Paul Arriola a menace in 7/10 showing as U.S. beats Costa Rica

Feb 2, 2019Jason DavisU.S. soccer writer

Following a shaky first half against a quick, physical Costa Rican team, the United States improved in the second period, found a pair of late goals and closed out Gregg Berhalter’s first camp with a 2-0 victory over the Ticos at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California, on Saturday.

Positives

Although the Americans were not as dominant against Costa Rica as they were against Panama on Tuesday night, Berhalter’s team stayed the course, stuck to its tactics and eventually earned a deserved victory. The hosts handled themselves well enough defensively to ensure they could continue creating chances on the attacking end of the field.

Negatives

Whether it was the higher quality of opponent or the unshaken rust on players still working back to full sharpness, the U.S. did not play well in the first half. Neither of the advanced midfielders, Djordje Mihailovic nor Cristian Roldan, shined in the opening 45 minutes. It required the introduction of a pair of substitutes to push the Americans forward and help secure a win.

Manager rating out of 10

7 — Two victories in two games is an excellent way for Berhalter to start his U.S. head-coaching tenure, regardless of how they came. His tactical approach wasn’t as obviously successful in this match as it was against Panama, but the continued entrenchment of his ideas in a victory can be chalked up as a positive. Again, his substitutes made a significant difference, a credit to his plan.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating.)

GK Zack Steffen, 6 — Not much to do on the day. Provided strong distribution from the back and stayed calm under high pressure from Costa Rica.

DF Nick Lima, 6 — Helped the Americans take over the game in the second half. Hit the post with shot in the 54th minute. Less involved centrally than against Panama.

DF Walker Zimmerman, 6 — Played simple defensively; was aggressive with his passing from the back. Failed to connect longer passes at a high rate. Had several important clearances.

DF Aaron Long, 5 — Shaky with the ball. Stepped into midfield to both good and bad effect, putting pressure on Costa Rica with the Ticos in possession.

DF Daniel Lovitz, 4 — Slow and indecisive in possession under pressure, with a pair of poor turnovers. Struggled to commit a necessary tactical foul after Costa Rica moved to counter.

MF Wil Trapp, 6 — Drastically improved after halftime, particularly with distribution. Sprayed the ball into space to help set up chances for the U.S. Key in the buildup to the goal.

MF Djordje Mihailovic, 5 — Improved in the second half after struggling in the first 45 to make space matter under the forward line. Played an excellent ball wasted in the end, provided decent set-piece service.

MF Cristian Roldan, 5 — Quiet and uninvolved for most of the first half. Improved with the rest of team in the second half. Missed an excellent chance in the 51st minute and hit the post with a good shot 14 minutes later.

FW Paul Arriola, 7 — A menace on the wing with stretches on both sides of the field. Consistently the most dangerous American until Sebastian Lletget’s entry, rewarded with a goal in the 88th minute.

FW Corey Baird, 5 — Relatively limited playing high up the field on the right side. Lacked the touch to turn a couple of good passes from teammates into chances.

FW Gyasi Zardes, 5 — Showed plenty of industry and provided a decent holdup option through 78 minutes. Lacked the necessary technique to turn touches into danger. Good on the defensive side of the ball.

Substitutes

MF Sebastian Lletget, N/R —Man of the match for the U.S., pressing space and providing creative play after coming on in the 63rd minute. Crashed the back post for the opening goal in the 80th minute; assisted on the second eight minutes later.

FW Jonathan Lewis, N/R — Athleticism and crossing ability changed the attacking outlook. Hit the long cross to Lletget for the first goal.

FW Christian Ramirez, N/R — A few missed passes, had a few good touches. Flicked the ball on for Lletget that resulted in Arriola’s goal. A strong, 12-minute appearance.

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