On Saturday the Switchbacks head to the Crossroads of America for a late-afternoon clash with Indy Eleven at Michael A. Carroll Stadium. The match in the Hoosier State will begin at 5pm MT, with live coverage by the voice of the Switchbacks, Ryan Kaufman, beginning at 4:30pm on XTRA Sports1300AM.
Indy Eleven have started the 2023 USL Championship season 2-4-3 under Head Coach Mark Lowry and the midfield orchestration of former Switchback Cam Lindley. Last Thursday, the Switchbacks announced the arrival of Norwegian Jonas Fjeldberg from Indy Eleven, with defender Macauley King moving from Colorado Springs to Indy.
What the Switchbacks Say:
Jonas Fjeldberg: “It’s been great [to be with the Switchbacks]. The group has welcomed me with open arms – it didn’t take long for me to feel welcome. I’m really happy to be here. It’s a great group of guys and I’m excited to get going. Indy have good players – they’ve been struggling a little bit, but we’ve also had a tough stretch of games, so I think this will be a good matchup for us. I think the way we play really fits the way they play, so I think we can definitely expect to go in there and come back with three points.”
Head Coach Stephen Hogan: “We’re a few weeks away from seeing [Jonas] on the field, but he’s phenomenal already for the group in terms of the person [he is]. A big part of what we’re trying to build here over the next few years is the character in the locker room and [Jonas] fit all the bill before we even looked at his soccer – and we knew the soccer because we’ve been scouting him since he played here last year [with the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros] and he was phenomenal. So we’ve liked him since then and I think he can bring a lot of energy in that front line.
“I can’t wait to see [Cam Lindley] – hopefully I can grab a coffee with him. He’s a fantastic player and he knows us well. Macca’s [King] trade has just happened and he [also] knows us well. [Indy] have one or two injuries as well so their lineup could change from what they just played at Sacramento because of those injuries. But we’ll see and hopefully adjust in enough time. I think their [starting] 11 are very good soccer players – their starting eleven is one of the best in the league, they just haven’t had a run yet or haven’t got it going yet.
In-Depth on Indy: “Indy move the ball pretty well,” said Head Coach Hogan. “They’re similar to us when we’re on [our game] in terms of how we move it. It could be a very entertaining game to watch. [We have to deal with] the intensity in one or two of their players – like if [Douglas] Martínez plays out wide he’s very good going forward. He’s not the best at defending but he’s very good at going forward. And then Sebastián [Guenzatti] up top at the 9 is one of the best center forwards the league has ever seen. Anything in and around the 18 he’s obviously lethal. We’ll see a lot of creativity with the ball [from Indy].”
Vargish’s View: Saturday’s match will give us goals – Indy Eleven haven’t kept a clean sheet since April 1st, while the Switchbacks have not been able to hold an opponent scoreless since April 8th. Indy have scored six goals in their last four matches, with Stephen Hogan’s Switchbacks scoring seven times over the same span. It’s no secret that both teams are in the midst of a search for form, and the Switchbacks will have to limit their former midfield maestro Cam Lindley’s time on the ball if they’re to leave Central Indiana with a positive result.
Switchbacks goalkeeper Christian Herrera has been quietly putting together a terrific season for the Switchbacks – and doing so behind a back-line that’s been forced into near constant rotation due to injuries. Indy Eleven’s Bavarian goalkeeper Yannick Oettl is also capable of a terrific, highlight-worthy save. There’s no doubt both teams’ keepers will be called upon on Saturday, with whomever shines in net potentially having a massive impact upon the final result.