HARRISBURG, Pa. - Penn FC (5-4-6) wraps up its three match road trip when it travels to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on Indy Eleven (7-4-3) on Saturday, June 30th.
Rush Soccer’s First Team enters the match on a four match unbeaten run. Most recently, Penn FC ended the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ home unbeaten streak last Friday night at Al Lang Stadium. Entering the match without a loss on its home turf, the Rowdies jumped out to a 1-0 lead just before the half.
After the conclusion of halftime, Lucky Mkosana went to work. Less than five minutes after the break, Penn FC’s relentless pressure paid off. Mkosana fired the equalizer into the roof of the net off a rebounded ball in the box. The in-form forward doubled his tally in the 67th minute with a delicate flick off a Freddie Opoku cross at the near post. The brace gave Penn FC the 2-1 win, continuing to build up momentum in this midseason run.
Indy Eleven also brings momentum into the matchup against Penn FC. The Eastern Conference’s fourth place team earned a critical 2-0 victory at Nashville SC. Defender Karl Ouimette opened the scoring with a 16th minute header straight off a corner kick. Later in the half, in the 34th minute, forward Justin Braun finished off a through ball into the bottom corner.
Indy forwards Sooney Saad and Ayoze Garcia lead the team in scoring with four goals each, followed by Braun with three and Jack McInereny with two. Garcia also leads the side in assists with four in 12 appearances.
Despite Indy’s quality, Penn FC’s own uptick in form is giving the team the confidence necessary to earned key points on the road. Head Coach Raoul Voss commented on how the team’s momentum simplifies the team’s focus going forward.
“It does make things (easier),” Voss said. “Overall, (everything) moves a lot better when you win. Feels good enjoying the moment, but we have a lot ahead of us - a lot of work ahead of us.”
The Penn FC attack has made huge strides during the current streak as the team scored multiple goals in each match including three goal performances against Toronto and at Louisville. Mkosana bagged two goals in consecutive matches, and the forward knows that the team’s growing chemistry is helping all areas of the pitch.
“It’s all about encouraging each other,” Mkosana said. “I know I scored but it comes down to a collective effort from the team. I think everyone understands where we want to be, and Raoul tells us where we need to be. For me, I think it comes down to pushing everyone and they push me too. It’s a collective effort to be honest.”
Penn FC’s collective effort on the pitch in its recent matches showed off the squad’s grit. The Blue and White snagged comeback victories against Toronto and Tampa Bay after trailing by a goal in those matches. At Louisville, Penn FC was behind 3-1 before it scored two unanswered goals to earn an important draw on the road.
The team’s mental fortitude is giving the players assurance in themselves as they climb up the Eastern Conference standings and face the conference’s upper echelon. Defender Kyle Venter sees the match against Indy as a measuring stick match for the Blue and White.
“We can just take that confidence into the game,” Venter said. “We know we are playing a really good team in probably not an easy place to play. We are in a similar place in the standing (separated by three points). We know how important it is -- they are going to be a good team -- so we just need to stick to who we are and hopefully come out with some points on the road.”
The match kicks off at 7 p.m. on Saturday night. Fans who can’t attend the match can stream it on ESPN+. Penn FC will be back at FNB Field Friday, July 6th to take on Bethlehem Steel. The first 1,000 fans will receive official team photos. Fireworks will be displayed by Dauphin County following the final whistle. Tickets for the match are available for purchase on pennfc.com/tickets.