22 and 18
Justin Braun leads Indy Eleven with 22 “Duels Won.” As defined by Opta, Duels are a “50-50 contest between two players of opposing sides in the match. For every Duel Won there is a corresponding Duel Lost depending on the outcome of the Duel.”
Braun also leads the team with 18 recoveries, which Opta defines as a player winning “back the ball when it has gone loose or where the ball has been played directly to him” by the opponent.
These two stats are likely why Coach Tim Hankinson insists on the attacker always being on the field, to the dismay of some observers. Braun came into camp in the best shape of anyone on the roster – demonstrated by his victory in the infamous beep test the first week of training camp – and he has leveraged that fitness into a dynamo of offensive and defensive activity on the pitch. Hankinson frequently complains about a lack of player movement, but doesn’t likely have to get after Braun about that. While it doesn’t always have positive results, the athletic attacker is one of those player’s who constantly finds his way to the ball and has the motor to attack and pressure opponents for 90 minutes.
0 and 125
Kleberson, Erick Norales, Kyle Hyland, Zach Steinberger, Dane Richards, Victor Pineda, Marvin Ceballos. Zero starts and 125minutes is the combinedamount of time that these seven players have spent on the pitch in NASL, USL or MLS regular season matches in
2016. Until Dane Richards put in 60 minutes this past Friday night only two former players had even seen playing time in 2016. (Substitute appearances by Ceballos and Pineda are the only other occasions that former Boys In Blue have made competitive appearances.)
I’m not sure if this demonstrates how drastically the Eleven were out-manned in previous seasons or indicates a significant increase in the quality of players in North American soccer in 2016. It’s probably both, but it certainly suggests that a lack of talent was a key factor in Indy not being consistently competitive in previous seasons. The Zouaves seem to have remedied that issue this season but only time will tell if this team has the skill and passion to be competitive from April through October.
22 and 24
Looking at the three previous Spring Seasons, the teams who have won the Spring title have averaged about 2 points per game. Adapting that to 2016, the winner after 11 games will almost assuredly need to reach 22 points and more likely 24 points, which would nearly equal the record 2.22 points per match that Minnesota United posted in their Spring 2014 campaign. Sitting on 9 points after three games Carolina is in the drivers seat and needs to average only 1.88 points per match to reach 24 points. With 5 points after three contests Indy needs to average 2.38 points per match over their next eight games to reach 24 points. What does that mean in wins and losses? Any less than six wins and Indy cannot reach 24 points.