Indy Eleven NPSL formerly Indiana Fire (2015: 10-3-3)
Indy Eleven (NASL) and the NPSL’s Indiana Fire formed an agreement in November 2015 to become the Indy Eleven NPSL. The former Chicago Fire youth partner, finished 2015 with a 10-3-3 record. That group also advanced to a spot in the NPSL National Semifinals where the fell to Chattanooga FC 3-0. Indy Eleven retained the groups General Manager Mark Webber as well as Head Coach John Simmonds. The 39 man squad returns 10 men last year’s campaign. 2015 Second Team All-NPSL midfielder Nago Mbengue and recent Butler graduate Forward Vincent Mitchell headline the roster that should provide a challenge for the what we assume to be a backup squad for FC Cincinnati.
Last Time Out
Open Cup: Indy Eleven NPSL beat USL PDL (Premier Development League) side Cincinnati Dutch Lions 1-0 in Indianapolis last Wednesday. The game was delayed over two hours due to rain and Vincent Mitchell scored the winner. RECAP
Indy Eleven NPSL line-up (4-4-2, L–>R): Cody Schweitzer; Jeffrey McClure, Nick Strack, Noah Zorniger, Travis Wannemuehler; Lamine Balde (Koyah Bleah 61’), Colton Tanner, Vincent Mitchell, Lukeman Ahmed-Shaibu (Christian Soto 76’); Thomas Schmitt, Nago Mbengue (capt) (Jordan Kleyn 83’)
Indy Eleven NPSL bench: Johann Bittner, Jose Rodriguez, Michael Galullo, Christian Lomeli (GK)
NPSL Action: On the weekend, Indy Eleven NPSL traveled to AFC Cleveland on Saturday. Despite several good offensive chances from Mitchell, Indy fell 0-1. The Eleven were beaten on a 19th minute chip of their keeper and could not equalize in the heavy rain. RECAP
— Indy Eleven NPSL (@IndyElevenNPSL) May 14, 2016
What Level is NPSL?
The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is linked with the USL PDL as being in the unofficial “4th Tier” on the US Soccer pyramid. US Soccer does not recognize levels below division III (USL). The NPSL is known as an amateur league, but several clubs do pay players small wages who have forgone their amateur status. The NPSL in based as a regional league with 4 regions across the county. Each region traditionally has conferences based on proximity and rivals. The 2016 version of the league will feature an anticipated 85 teams. 2015 Champion was New York Cosmos B.
Why does the US Open Cup Matter
This is the opportunity for small sanctioned clubs to play with the “big-boys”. Each season, one or two lower level teams advance several rounds for the opportunity to play an MLS or NASL side. In the 2015 version of the tournament, USASA side PSA Elite advanced all the way to the fourth round where they faced the LA Galaxy. The tournament begins with amateur sides (USCS/USASA/USSSA/PDL) and semi-pro sides (NPSL) facing off for a chance to advance to play USL opponents along with the champions of PDL & NPSL in the second round. Those winners, then advance to the third round where the NASL clubs enter. From there winners play MLS sides in a bracket format. The competition is regionally based, but some clubs travel longer distances due to fewer entries per region. For a better bracket, check out Thecup.us. The US Open Cup winning club receives $250,000 in cash and a berth into the 2017-18 CONCACAF Champions’ League, a tournament that crowns a club champion for countries in North and Central America, and the Caribbean.
Best Place to Find Coverage of the US Open Cup
Thecup.us: The unofficial home for the US Open Cup since 2003. This site provides the most detail for each rendition of the tournament including stories, box scores, history, a bracket of the tournaments and provides the most coverage. You can find history on winners, goal scorers, matchups and recaps of the 103 year old cup.
USsoccer.com/lamar-hunt-us-open-cup: The official home of the 2016 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. USsoccer.com provides some coverage of important games, but is the best spot to watch the round draws live. Schedules and scores are posted as well.
Who will the winner face?
US Soccer draws rounds several weeks before the prior round. The winner of FC Cincinnati/Indy Eleven NPSL will face the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League (NASL). Tampa Bay will host the winner in a June 1 third-round game at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida. Tampa Bay made news recently by landing English International Joe Cole. Other significant players include Eric Avila, Freddy Adu and former Crew SC product Ben Sweat. Through 6 games, Tampa Bay stands at 2-3-1 on 9 points, but have only scored 5 goals.
— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) May 12, 2016
BE AT NIPPERT – Who will you see?
The only chance for fans to see the game is at Nippert Stadium on Wednesday. Normal broadcast partner YouTube.com is a USL-only agreement. No local TV or radio will be available. Make sure to purchase your tickets at fccincinnati.com. Also, check with your supporters groups to what pre game events are taking place. You may see a different look for your FC Cincinnati side. Due to the varying levels of competition and having an additional multi-game week, you should see a largely back up squad. FC Cincinnati does have a good amount of depth, so the fall off should be less than other USL squads.
My predicted squad is a follows:
ADDITIONAL FUN FACT:
Checked my records from last year, Luke Spencer played this team (then the Indy Fire) as a member of the Saints.
— Jeremy Lance (@JeremyLance) May 17, 2016
READ MORE from Cincinnati Soccer Talk:
Record Breakers, Again – Episode 14
Congratulations! But What Does It Actually Mean?
FC Cincinnati leads US in Soccer Attendance on Weekend
Player Ratings: FC Cincinnati-1 Pittsburgh Riverhounds-0
FC Cincinnati Starting XI – Bengals Edition