Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Indy Eleven vs Fury - 01.17

- Opponent: Ottawa Fury FC
- Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Attendance: 10,250
- Final Score: 2-1 L
- Starting XI: Nicht (Captain), Frias, Norales, Hyland, Okiomah, Kleberson, Johnson, Smith, Pena, Pineda, Ambersley
- Substitutions: Smart 79' (Ambersley), Mares 90' (Pena)
- Goals: Smart 84'
- Bookings: Okiomah 49' (Yellow)
Close to two and a half hours was what it took for the skies to finally clear to the point where the Indy Eleven could take the field to get the game underway.  Two hours to twiddle the thumbs and take in the soggy sights of the campus of IUPUI.  Two hours to take another sellout crowd of 10,285 fans and dwindle them down to a very hearty, or crazy, thousand or so who stuck around to watch the Eleven dominate the Fury in nearly every single statistical category.  Attacks, dangerous attacks, possession, shots off target, shots on target.  All Indy Eleven advantages. 

The key place they didn't win?  The scoreboard.

Yet, the Eleven continued their trend of losing in the most heartbreaking ways.  Nicht provided a roar inducing save on a penalty kick in the 9th minute, leading to a scoreless first half.  A PK should have been given to the Eleven a short time later after Ambersley was dragged down, but it wasn't called.  Both teams settled down a bit after the initial flurry, with an unfortunate injury to Ottawa's Drew Beckie near the end of the half.  From the stands and the replays on the video board, there was a general consensus of an achilles injury.  Hopefully, a group of non-medical people sitting in the stands are all wrong and Beckie, at worst, broke his ankle.

After the half, the Eleven gave up a penalty kick in the 70th minute.  While I think that the BYB's chant of "the Yellow team sucks" throughout much of the game was fairly accurate, the referee called that one correctly.  Okiomah plowed through the defender and the PK was deserved.  So the Eleven, once again, found themselves playing from behind.  That was until the 84th minute, when second half sub Don Smart found the back of the net after being on field for 5 minutes. 

Is that an "adage" amount of time?  It is.  Why do I mention the "adage" time for a substitute?  Because the "adage" curse continues to haunt this team as it gave up a goal, officially, two minutes after Smart's tying goal.  Two and a half hours of waiting for the game to start, nearly two hours of game/halftime all lead to less than two minutes of defensive lapse and an all too familiar home loss.  My Twitter timeline perfectly summarizes the waning moments of the game.

ALL CAPS WORTHY EXCITEMENT.  Followed by absolute disbelief.

As usual, I can't complain about the team's fight.  As soon as Ottawas scored the PK, I had faith that an equalizer was possible.  This team never gives up and I didn't expect any different on Saturday.  What I didn't expect were so many long range blasts to try and get that equalizer.  It's like the team was thinking like a basketball team and were aware of some kind of invisible line on the field that would get them three points if they scored from outside that line that the rest of us couldn't see.  Several players took shots from distance, but Pena was the clear winner on number of shots from 25+ yards.

I think I must be one of Finish Line's "great ones" because I have a short memory and continually forget that this team will have a defensive lapse at some point in the game.  It's just a function of when and how much will it hurt them.  Those can be overcome if you're scoring on the offensive end as well, but the Eleven have had multiple goal games only twice out of the eight Fall Season games and have been outscored 2 to 1 in that time frame. 

My earlier recaps of the games have consistently stated that this is a young team learning to play together, but they've played 17 games together (mostly together minus injuries, red cards, national team call ups, and additions/subtractions).  So I don't know how they fix things.  Maybe that's why I'm writing this and not coaching the team.  Hopefully, Coach Sommer does know how to fix things and that elusive home win will snowball into more victories.

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