Where: Indianapolis, IN
Stadium: Lucas Oil Stadium
Capacity: USL: 15,000 | Building: 62,421
Last Year: 7-12-13 (6th overall, NASL)
Average Attendance: 8,395
Hardware: 2016 NASL Spring Season Champion
2017 U.S. Open Cup: 2nd Round loss to the Michigan Bucks (PDL)
Supporters: Brickyard Battalion, and affiliates
Ah Indy Eleven. The team I’m actually excited about joining the league. Indy joins us from the NASL after they finally saw the writing on the wall. Ever since coming into existence in 2014 Indy has been one of the crown jewels of the NASL. They’re a big get for the USL and will instantly become a strong rival to the Midwest teams (probably more so for Cincinnati and Louisville than us, but we’ll see).
When I say crown jewel it’s more so off the field than on it. They have a strong brand (I feel gross typing that) and have enjoyed the league’s highest average attendance 3 of their 4 seasons. However, on the field they haven’t quite lived up to expectations. Only in 2016 did they content for the NASL title, but even then they fell short in the semi-final. During the other three seasons Indy has finished towards the bottom of the small former league.
Indy’s record in the NASL is a thing of the past. They’re coming into the USL looking to reinvent themselves on the pitch. They’ve only retained three players from 2017, and will also have a new head coach (Martin Rennie, a name old Steel Army members might remember). That said they aren’t straying too far from their NASL roots. 50% of the current roster, including the three returners, are players poached from the couple NASL clubs that didn’t join the USL. Of the remaining 11, only two come from the college / amateur ranks. While their roster came together a little later than other teams, they’ve pulled together a lot of experience and should prove to be a formidable group. Of note former Riverhound Tyler Pasher is on the team.
Besides changing leagues, Indy is also changing their home turf. They’ll be moving from the IU Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium to the Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. It goes without saying this is a massive move for a Division 2 team. Time will tell if this is a good move or if it’ll look like an MLS 2 team playing in an empty cavernous stadium.
That’s an incredibly general overview of Indy Eleven. The short of it is despite the on the field struggles, they’re a solid club to join the USL and should make for some good matchups. The Hounds will be up against Indy on 5/11 and 8/29, and we’re looking forward to giving them a proper welcome to the league.
The USL season kicks off this weekend, but the Hounds don’t get in on the action until the 24th. Join us at Smokin’ Joes in the South Side for our season opener watch party. Kick off is at 6, the fun starts at 5.