Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Indy Eleven vs Silverbacks - 01.09

- Opponent: Atlanta Silverbacks
- Location: Atlanta, Georgia
- Attendance: 5,000
- Final Score: 3-3
- Starting XI: Nicht (Captain), Frias, Smart, Hyland, Okiomah, Ring, Corrado, Moore, Smith, Ambersley, Mendes
- Substitutions: Spencer (Smart), Estridge (Hyland), Kleberson (Moore)
- Goals: Ambersley (13', 58'), Kleberson (88')
- Bookings: Smith (45'), Estridge (62'), Okiomah (65' - RED)

Again, my recap is based entirely on the @IndyElevenLive twitter feed since I haven't registered for the NASL Live package.  Yet, even through tweets, this seemed like it might have been a physical, grind-it-out affair.  All told there were six YELLOW yards + one RED card + 4 PENALTY KICKS.

Let me reiterate that.  There were six goals scored in this game and FOUR OF THEM were from the PK spot.  I don't know that I've ever seen a game with that many penalty kicks.

I suppose that could mean that it was poor officiating, but not a single card was given until the 45th minute and two were given in the last 2 minutes.  That sounds like two teams that scored three goals in a three minute span between minutes 12 and 15 and then realized they were in for a fight and took the fight literally. 

I don't know what to make of this game since it means they ended the spring season absolutely winless.  0-5-4 is not a good record.  It's hard to put a good spin on it.  They continued their trend of giving up goals and having to fight from behind.  They continued their trend of being the only team in the league to score a goal in every game, but also giving up a goal in every game.  I've watched the games, you can't pin the lack of a clean sheet on Nicht.  Nothing against Nicht, but his defense put him in some situations that Tim Howard couldn't have stopped.

In this game, they let the Silverbacks score in the 12th minute (by PK), proceeded to get one back almost immediately in the 13th minute, and then gave one right back in the 15th.  A third goal from the Silverbacks followed in the 45th minute (by PK), giving them a 3-1 lead going into halftime.  The "never give up, never surrender" Eleven managed to pull within one with an Ambersley PK in the 58th minute, only to see the ref issue a red card to Okiomah in the 65th minute.  It's like this team doesn't know how to work unless they have all odds stacked against them.  Being down a goal wasn't enough, they needed to be down a goal AND be down a man.  The fact that they managed a third goal (by PK) near the end of the game while playing short handed seems amazing to me.  All that without one of their regular starters in Norales who couldn't play because of his accumulation of yellow cards. 

I've heard Coach Sommer state that with a young team like this, with some guys who are just learning to be professional, they have to learn that every lapse in your play can hurt you.  That it only takes one mistake to be down a goal.  Nine games completed, five losses, four ties, and zero wins, I hope they are figuring it out by now.  I suppose, though, that realizing that the mistake can hurt you and preventing the mistake are two different things.

Whether they come back as a more successful team after the World Cup break remains to be seen, but my support hasn't wavered yet.  In fact, the more I deal with the team, the more impressed I am with it.  Thanks @PeterWilt1 and @MollyK10 for helping me complete my collection of the spring season game posters (yes, I'm aware that nobody besides my family/friends are reading this blog, but I can thank them anyway).

Game next week vs the Columbus Crew as part of the US Open Cup, taking place in Akron so at least it isn't a true home game for the Crew.  Maybe they can get some momentum going with a win there.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Mike Ambersley for making NASL's Team of the Week!

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