Saturday, September 20, 2014

Indy Eleven vs Eddies - 01.20

- Opponent: FC Edmonton
- Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Attendance: 10,567
- Final Score: 1-1 T
- Starting XI: Nicht, Frias, Miller, Okiomah, Corrado, Kleberson (Captain), Johnson, Smith, Pena, Pineda, Ambersley
- Substitutions: Jhulliam 77' (Ambersley), Smart 77' (Smith), Spencer 88' (Johnson)
- Goals: Pineda 16' (assist Pena)
- Bookings: Frias 70' (Yellow), Kleberson 82' (Yellow)

A win on each other's field with a goal differential of 0, maybe it's only fitting in this season that the rubber match ended in a tie.  The Eleven held an advantage in possession, attacks, shots on and off goal, and even a lead in the game for about 9 minutes.  Yet, from the stands, I never had the sense that one team or the other was dominant.

I saw some of the frustrating defensive lapses, but good recoveries.  I saw some shots on goal that would have been better served by an additional pass.  Basically, and this is only from my recollection of a game that happened nearly a week ago (no time this week to rewatch - partially because I was watching our other "Boys in Blue" on Monday night), I saw what we have come to expect from this team.  Good play undone by one or two moments.

Sometimes a guy hits a perfect free kick from 25 - 30 yards out that goes up and over the wall and into the side netting.  You can't fault Nicht for the effort.  That kick is what we've come to expect from Kleberson and Hlavaty delivered for the visitors on Saturday the same kind of magic touch.  Sometimes there's just not much you can do when that happens except shake your head that less than ten minutes can separate a great hustle goal by Pineda and what turned out to be the goal that kept the dreaded home winless streak alive.

The one reoccurring oddity that I noticed about this game was some heavy touches by the Eleven. Whatever frustrations I've had with the team this season, their foot skills has not been one of them. This team has been excellent at controlling the ball, but there were several occasions when the team was let down by their initial touch on the ball.  I don't remember them ever being significantly hurt by the touches, but there were more than I have come to expect.  In fact, Indy's goal followed from a bad touch by Johnson before Pena was able to recollect it and redistribute it back to Johnson.  

One last thought.  I'm constantly frustrated with Johnson because I think there are times when he holds the ball when he would be better served to make the extra pass, but the footwork clinic he put on around the 75 minute mark was a thing of beauty.  If every one of his additional touches amounted to the kind of cross he was able to serve into the box on that occasion, we would start to see 2, 3, or 4 goal scorelines.  His pace and strength coupled with a timely touch to a teammate?  Oh, I would love to see the possibilities.

Due to his first professional goal efforts, Pineda found his way to the Team of the Week.  Congrats!

Video highlights:

1 comment:

Jeff C. said...

I thought we gave the ball away in midfield more than perhaps we had in previous matches--there seemed to be more mis-weighted or misdirected passes than usual (not that this has ever been the team's strong suit, but the deficiencies seemed particularly glaring to me against Edmonton).

As for Johnson, well, when he signed with Indy, a Sheffield Wednesday fan went to the Indy Eleven forum at Big Soccer and left a detailed report on what Indy was getting; I'd say the review accurately captured the JJ we've seen, for ether or worse.