After dominating its home slate at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indy’s Boys in Blue are ready for some playoff futbol.
No, we don’t mean football. Well, not that football … nothing against our beloved Colts, but to clarify we’re talking about soccer here – and if you haven’t caught an Indy Eleven match in person this year, this Saturday night, Oct. 26, is the time to change that.
Fresh off the most successful regular season in its six-year history, Indy Eleven is ready to transfer its tremendous home-field advantage back to IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium for the opening match of its USL Championship Playoffs run.
The Eleven’s Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against New York Red Bulls II is set for 7:30 p.m. this Saturday night at “The Mike,” where the club’s Brickyard Battalion supporters group will be ready to jump, sing and chant for the full 90 minutes – and let the smoke bellow after goals once again, just like during the team’s opening four seasons at the venue from 2014-17.
For many of Indy Eleven’s fans, the team’s temporary return to Carroll will feel like a mix between a homecoming parade and a full-out party. If you’ve never experienced an Indy Eleven match before, here’s some pro tips – arrive early (tailgate lots officially open at 4:30 p.m.), bring cash for concessions and parking, and expect the “BYB” and thousands more of the club’s die-hard fans to create a passionate and festive environment the likes of which you’d find at soccer stadiums around the globe. Check out more insider tips in the Gameday A to Z Guide.
Throw in the exhilarating action on the field and the highs and lows that can only be produced in a “win or go home” postseason setting, and you have all the makings of a memorable night for soccer in the Hoosier State.
“The atmosphere is kind of electric. There’s a real buzz in the air. It’s intense,” said Indy Eleven captain Matt Watson, an Englishman who has called Indianapolis home for the last two seasons. “There’s smoke, there’s emotions … it really feels like you’re playing a proper game when you play there.”
Watson didn’t gain that knowledge of playing at Carroll Stadium as a member of the Boys in Blue. In fact, none of the squad’s current 24-man roster has that experience. However, Watson and a few others suited up for opposing sides back in the day, and they can confirm the formidable presence the Eleven’s home support provides at “The Mike.”
“The stands were always really full, and the atmosphere was a loud, fun one to play in. It was always a good game to be a part of,” said Indy Eleven midfielder Tyler Gibson. “I’m looking forward to being on the receiving end of the BYB’s support this time – and looking forward to them giving the other team a little hell come Saturday evening.”
Indy Eleven earned a home playoff game at Carroll Stadium and finished third in the 18-team Eastern Conference thanks in no small part to its utter dominance at Lucas Oil Stadium. The “Boys in Blue” rolled through its slate at LOS with an undefeated record, its 13 wins and four ties at the corners of South & Capitol in 2019 counting for most of a current 25-game home unbeaten streak that dates back to last July. The home crowd provided a boost night in and night out across 2019 (an average attendance of 10,734 fans was second most in the 36-team USL Championship), which is why Watson is confident that, no matter where the squad calls home, it will get the job done.
“We’re looking for a good team performance [on Saturday], and our fans always help us bring that to the field,” explained Watson, a 14-year veteran of the sport at the highest levels in North America.
If all of this has you excited for Indy Eleven’s short-term and long-term prospects, well, it should! If you want to watch the Boys in Blue next season and save on playoff tickets this Saturday in the process, you can always become a 2020 Season Ticket Member and earn up to 20% off playoff tickets and even more for seats across next year’s 17-game schedule at Lucas Oil Stadium. Membership also comes with premium benefits like a ticket exchange program that ensures you’ll use every ticket and access to exclusive events with the team (like the one Indy Eleven will host this week in the midst of its playoff excitement).
Indy Eleven’s future looks even brighter with the dawn of Eleven Park on the horizon – a transformative mixed-use neighborhood development that will include apartments, retail, office space, public plazas and a boutique hotel, all anchored by a 20,000-seat multi-purpose stadium built with “the beautiful game” in mind. The club expects to announce a location for its new world-class home by the end of 2020 and to play its first game in the stadium in the spring of 2022.
Whether you’re a lifelong soccer junkie, a newbie looking for an exciting new experience in Downtown Indy, or somewhere in between, an Indy Eleven game will check all the boxes – and there’s no better time to check one out than this Saturday night. Just be ready for a taste of victory … which, at Carroll Stadium, tastes an awful lot like smoke!
Tickets for the game are available now at www.indyeleven.com or by calling 317-685-1100.
Senior Director of Communications & Marketing, Indy Eleven