Indy Eleven travel to Florida as they take on Tampa Bay Rowdies in St. Petersburg on
July 21. The meeting between both teams will be the first since Indy’s 2-3 away win
on October 19, 2016.

Indy Eleven (8W-6L-4D) currently sit at sixth place in the Eastern Conference with
28 points after the “Boys in Blue” fell to Charleston Battery, 2-1, on the road in
Week 18. Forward Eugene Starikov found the back of the net for the first time since
signing with Indy earlier this year. Midfielder Ben Speas played a through ball that
freed Starikov, who finished the play with a chip into the back of the net. The loss
at Charleston is only the second loss on the road for “Indiana’s Team” in 2018. The
“Boys in Blue” have allowed seven goals in eight matches and scored nine away from
home in 2018.

Tampa Bay Rowdies (6W-8L-4D) now reside in 12th place in the Eastern Conference
standings with 22 points. FC Cincinnati handed Tampa their sixth loss on the road
and eighth of the season, downing the St. Petersburg side in a 2-0 defeat in Week
18. Tampa Bay forward and leading goal scorer Georgi Hristov was unable to locate
the back of the net during his 13 minutes on the pitch as a substitute. The two
goals allowed against Cincinnati bring Rowdies goalkeeper Cody Mizell to 14 goals
conceded this season, nine of which came in the past five games. Tampa Bay has
allowed and scored 26 goals as a team in 2018 play.

A victory for head coach Martin Rennie and the “Boys in Blue” would push the
all-time record against Tampa Bay Rowdies to 3W-6D-1L. Rennie will need the defense
to continue to play compact and press the man in possession in order to stop the
Tampa Bay offense that has scored 17 goals in nine matches at home.


Indy Eleven forward Eugene Starikov has only made eight appearances for the club
since signing with the team in February. Yet in the last two games, Starikov has
been able to make his presence felt by being involved in two of Indy’s three goals;
He’s both assisted and scored.

In the match against Charlotte Independence on July 7, Starikov assisted midfielder
Ben Speas when he climbed over a center back and nodded the ball down for Speas to
strike. In the next match against Charleston Battery on July 11, Starikov showcased
his finishing abilities after netting a cheeky chip to level the game. Starikov is
finding form at the right time and will be needed against Tampa Bay’s home


The only player to have started every game for Tampa Bay Rowdies is defender Hunter
Gorskie. He leads the team in appearances, minutes, and every defensive statistic,
except for goalkeeping. Gorskie managed three clearances and three blocks in the
last match against FC Cincinnati, but was unable to keep the Blue and Orange from
taking three points.

Gorskie has tallied the most of all defensive statistics, leading the Rowdies from
the back. He’s totaled nearly 50 clearances, 34 interceptions, and lost only 6 of
his 32 tackles in the 2018 campaign. The 27-year-old is in his second year with
Tampa Bay after signing for the club in August 2017.


Tampa Bay Rowdies’ home record (4W-2L-3D) isn’t the most impressive in the Eastern
Conference. However, Tampa Bay’s ability to score goals at home is what has helped
the Rowdies collect points at Al Lang Stadium.

The Florida based team has registered 26 goals so far in 2018. Scoring at home has
been one of the stronger abilities of this Tampa Bay side, averaging just under two
goals a game. In nine home matches, Tampa Bay has found the back of the net 17
times. This average of just under two goals a game isn’t astounding, but has helped
the Rowdies to claim 15 of 27 points at home.

In eight games on the road, the “Boys in Blue” have only allowed seven chances to
get past Indy goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams. The Welshman has also recorded five
clean sheets on the road in the eight games. Two stout center backs man the box in
front of him as well; Defenders Karl Ouimette and Carlyle Mitchell have been forces
in the backline. The two have combined for nearly 200 clearances, 74 interceptions
and averaged a 74 percent tackle success rate.

At the moment, the Tampa offense has appeared to slow down at home, having scored
six in their last five matches. The “Boys in Blue” will aim to keep the Rowdies
offense at bay by continuing the compact defensive style of play Indy Eleven head
coach Martin Rennie has instilled in his squad.

Catch all the action at home on MyINDY23 TV or online via ESPN+